The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report The Future of Food and Agriculture: Trends and Challenges, warns mankind’s future ability to feed itself is in jeopardy due to intensifying pressures on natural resources, mounting inequality, and the fallout from a changing climate.
It says almost one half of the forests that once covered the Earth are now gone. Groundwater sources are being depleted rapidly. Biodiversity has been deeply eroded. As a result, “planetary boundaries may well be surpassed, if current trends continue,” cautions FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva in his introduction to the report.
The core question raised by the new FAO report is whether, looking ahead, the world’s agriculture and food systems are capable of sustainably meeting the needs of a rising global population. The answer is “Yes” The explains the planet’s food systems are capable of producing enough food to do so, and in a sustainable way, but unlocking that potential – and ensuring that all of humanity benefits – will require “Major transformations in agricultural systems, rural economies and natural resource management will be needed if we are to meet the multiple challenges before us and realize the full potential of food and agriculture to ensure a secure and healthy future for all people and the entire planet,” it says. “High-input, resource-intensive farming systems, which have caused massive deforestation, water scarcities, soil depletion and high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, cannot deliver sustainable food and agricultural production,” adds the report.
The report emphasisesAccording to the report, without a push to invest in and re-tool food systems, far too many people will still be hungry in 2030 — the year by which the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda has targeted the eradication of chronic food insecurity and malnutrition, the report warns.But from the past record of capitalism, we can only expect failure to achieve sustainable food production that provides for peoples' needs. Next month's issue of the Socialist Standard will go into more detail of how we can adequately feed the world.