World Food Day is a day to take a close look at our global food system and see what's working, what's not, and what needs to change. Much of the emphasis around feeding the world tends to focus around increasing food production.
But just as important—and often left out of the conversation—is how we treat what’s already been produced.
In an article originally published for Devex, Tim Searchinger and Craig Hanson discuss a new World Resources Report publication, which finds that using the modern advances of genetics—such as DNA mapping—offers a great opportunity to increase crop yields while also protecting the environment.
The world is on a path to need almost 70 percent more crops in 2050 than those it produced in 2006. To close that crop gap without large price increases or clearing more valuable forests and savannas, yields are going to have to grow 33 percent more in the next 44 years than they did in the last 44.
How does the world feed more than 9 billion people in the year 2050 in a manner that not only advances economic development but also reduces agriculture’s impact on the environment? How will we know if we’re on the right path?
WRI recently reviewed a number of existing indicators on the environmental sustainability of agriculture and identified gaps. Our analysis uncovers a need for improvements in indicators as well as the data underlying them—in particular, what we call the “3Ps, 5 themes, and 7 criteria.”