What Can Be Done?
The potential magnitude of these problems is such that to address them we have to change all components of the food system. We have to produce more, moderate demand and improve the efficiency and governance of the food system. And everything we do must be seen through the twin prisms of increasing sustainability and improving the lot of the world’s poorest.
Producing more means spreading current best practice and investing in new knowledge; both employing high-tech modern science but also more traditional subjects such as agronomy and soil science which have received less attention in recent years.
Moderating demand involves starting a difficult public conversation about diets and the relative environmental footprint of different food types, in particular classes of meat. We must reduce the approximately 30% of food that is produced but never consumed, both in high-income countries where most food is wasted in the home, restaurant and food service sectors, and in low-income countries where the majority is lost on the farm and during storage and transport.
We must design the international governance of the food system so that globalisation benefits food security, the environment and the poor. We must realise that food security is central to achieving all the economic, environmental and development goals of humanity in the 21st century – we fail on food we fail on everything.
Find out what Oxford researchers are doing about these issues.
To find out more about the food system, please take a look at our further reading page.