A team of 900 scientists funded by the World Bank (WB) and United Nations (UN) determined that the use of GE (genetically engineered) crops is not a meaningful solution to the complex situation of world hunger.
The scientists suggested that “agro-ecological” methods would provide the most viable means to ensure global food security, including the use of traditional seed varieties and local farming practices already adapted to the local ecology.
Industrial agriculture ensures that the business of food is highly concentrated, not only in terms of being a monoculture with very few crop varieties available, but also in terms of ownership of the crops. This concentrated power of food diversity and of the food supply actually ensures food insecurity.
The problems with hunger are not related to a shortage in food production but rather to poverty, problems with the way that food is used and distributed and the types of food being grown.
The Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience Blog explained that there is plenty of food to go around, but much of it is wasted:
“Instead of becoming more conservative and conscious of the food resources available, many nations have become overly consumerist and wasteful … 1.2-2 billion tons of all food produced ends up as waste, which is 30 [percent] to 50 [percent] of total food production in the world, and it is not only a waste of food but a waste of energy, water and other resources that go into producing it.
In the meantime, while there is a global food surplus taking place there is still starvation in developing countries throughout the world. Many people are not getting enough to eat and the main contributor is a large-scale social problem that no one can seem to tackle fully: poverty.
Poverty is not merely a social problem; it is a major health hazard and humanitarian disaster. And it is largely because of inequality that poverty is allowed to sit at the table unwelcome, removing the possibility of providing the food resources needed by everyone, but tolerated by present, past and likely future generations nevertheless.”
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations Director-General José Graziano da Silva is among those who understand the need for urgent changes in industrial agriculture.
Increasing production is not the solution.
Today the world produces enough food to feed everyone — but 805-M people still do not have enough to eat. Mr. Graziano da Silva expressed the need for a paradigm shift so food systems can be “more sustainable, inclusive and resilient,” adding that the current methods of food production are “no longer acceptable” and are contributing to soil degradation and loss of biodiversity.
He also cited agro-ecology as a practical solution to improve food security and nutrition, ending hunger and malnutrition, worldwide. At present, most governments around the world are subsidizing and/or promoting a food production system that is unsustainable.
Moreover, this is done at the cost of both human and environmental health. Yet, research suggests a switch to sustainable agriculture could easily be done, allowing farmers to produce the same amount of food on the same amount of land while cutting out chemical fertilizers.
We can all help to begin significant change in the agricultural industry by boycotting CAFO and GE products and instead only purchasing food grown by local farmers who are using natural methods and soil-regenerative techniques, such as no-till, cover crops, composting and livestock integration.
Look for farmers markets, food co-ops, and direct-from-the-farm sales in your area, these sustainable alternatives are growing rapidly across the US and will offer you fresher, healthier food and the satisfaction of knowing you are helping to drive permanent positive changes in food production.
If you need help finding sustainable food sources, every state has a sustainable agriculture organization or biological farming organization that is the nucleus of the farmers in that state. You can also find an ever-increasing number of “eat local” and “buy local” directories in which local farms will be listed.
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