How can we feed the world? (Upgrade Magazine)
- Impact Area
Upgrade (Austria) published an article on food production and how experts see the challenges ahead.
With a global population already more than 8 billion and one in ten people suffering from hunger, improving food security amid climate change concerns, requires international coordination and transdisciplinary collaboration, say experts including Charlotte Hebebrand, the Communications and Public Affair director at the International Food Policy Research Institute and former director of the International Fertilizer Industry speak about the challenges and potential solutions.
“Food production and sustainability are intertwined,” says Hebebrand. “Food production is badly affected by climate change, but it is also a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions.” Another vulnerability is the close linkage between food and energy prices, driven by the reliance on fossil fuels for fertilizer production but also for transportation throughout the value chain. As early as 2020, disruptions to supply chains caused by the corona pandemic led to an increase in the price of fertilizers, “and the Russian invasion of Ukraine brought another big shock to the fertilizer market.” Referring to the decrease in international fertilizer and agricultural commodity prices since their peaks following the invasion of Ukraine, Hebebrand states that while international food prices play an important role, “there are always developments in the respective countries that affect food security locally.” Moreover, “many agricultural commodities are traded in dollars, and that makes food as well as fertilizers very expensive for many countries. Local inflation is a real problem.”
Hebebrand also emphasized that food security needs to be pursued with an eye towards improving livelihoods and inclusion. Although food systems provide significant employment around the world, many workers receive low renumeration. “Women are vital in the fight against hunger, Hebebrand also stated, “when women have better access to education, finances, and knowledge, it not only helps women, but has immensely positive effects on nutritional outcomes for households and communities.”