Saturday, April 4, 2009

Learning a lot of things and connecting with some very good like minded people at the PDC. Here's something I found out a few days ago:

The Environmental Food Crisis: The Environment's Role in Averting Future Food Crises was released by the United Nations Environment Programme in February 2009. A short summary is in this press release, the whole report is available for download here (15 MB pdf).

Some highlights:

The natural environment comprises the entire basis for food production through water, nutrients, soils, climate, weather and insects for pollination and controlling infestations. Land degradation, urban expansion and conversion of crops and cropland for non-food production, such as biofuels, may reduce the required cropland by 8–20% by 2050, if not compensated for in other ways.
Food prices may increase 30 to 50 per cent within decades, forcing those living in extreme poverty to spend 90 per cent of their income on food.
Over 80% of all endangered birds and mammals are threatened by unsustainable land use and agricultural expansion.
The report recommends seven strategies to tackle this crisis:
  1. Regulate food prices and provide safety nets for the impoverished;
  2. Promote environmentally sustainable higher-generation biofuels that does not compete for cropland and water resources;
  3. Reallocate cereals used in animal feed to human consumption by developing alternative feeds based on new technology, waste and discards;
  4. Support small-scale farmers by a global fund for micro-finance in developing diversified and resilient ecoagriculture and intercropping systems;
  5. Increase trade and market access by improving infrastructure, reducing trade barriers, enhancing government subsidies and safety nets, as well as reducing armed conflict and corruption;
  6. Limit global warming; and,
  7. Raise awareness of the pressures of increasing population growth and consumption patterns on ecosystems.



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