On the eve of the Food Forum in Stockholm: “Global food system must change’

With 800 million people who suffer from hunger, it is clear that the global food system is not working. But never before were there more opportunities, knowledge and skills to do something to change that, says Alessandro Demaio, ceo of the Norwegian ngo EAT.


During the EAT Stockholm Food Forum, on 11 June, takes place in Stockholm, bend, scientists, policy makers, businesses and ngos about strategies to the global food supply to improve.

By 2050, the earth according to estimates by the United Nations 9 billion people. The world Bank states that because of climate change the yield of food crops with 25 percent may decline, and that the efforts to fight hunger are undermined. The food production would be 50 percent, in order to produce enough for the growing world population.

The Stockholm Food Forum took not the least speakers in the house to take up this challenge, bending: among others, Kristalina Georgieva (chairman of the world Bank), Christiana Figueres (co-architect of the climate deal Paris) and Sam Kass (nutritionist of the former government-Obama) are present to share their ideas.

“We hope with them and voedseldeskundigen from 29 countries to exchange ideas and hopefully to come up with strategies to this non-working system to recreate,” says Demaio.

One of the seventeen SDG’s (goal 2, nulhonger) wants extreme hunger eradication for 2030. Is this feasible?

DEMAIO: “the Food has in any way a connection with all of the seventeen Sustainable development Goals. As a doctor, I am seriously concerned about the fact that 800 million people go hungry worldwide and more than 2 million people are obese. Those figures go along with an epidemic of dieetgerelateerde and prevent diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

When I was in Mongolia, Sri Lanka and Cambodia, I saw the many forms that hunger can take. Malnutrition manifests itself in children by dangerously underweight for their age, or lack of growth. At the other end of the spectrum, you see people with a high calorie diet, which at the same time, are low in nutrients, the group where overweight and obesity are manifest.


“What we produce makes us sick and destroyed planet. But we continue to subsidize with billions of dollars’

There is a large discrepancy between the availability of food and the quality in the different parts of the world. A third of all food produced, gets lost or ends up in the trash. That is enough for all the hungry people in the world four times to feed!

The slow response to the increasing pressure of climate change and increasing social inequality means that not everyone is the right foods. Last year, noted the UN that the famine, after a decrease of ten years on the rise.

I believe in nulhonger for 2030. There are many solutions to achieve that, such as connecting small farmers with markets, the elimination of trade barriers and the improvement of sustainable food production. There is political will to the parties from different sectors and countries working together.

Food is the main global gezondheidsuitdaging and a climate challenge. What we produce makes us sick and destroyed planet. But we continue to subsidize with billions of dollars. Especially the poor in the world, who is not responsible for, bear the expense thereof.’

How should the global food system reform, including higher productivity and recycling of food waste?

EAT connects scientists, policy makers, businessmen, and civil society to five major goals to achieve: a healthy, tasty and sustainable diet, the realignment of priorities in food systems, producing more food with less waste, protect land and oceans, and drastically reducing food waste.

Non-sold food is stored to larvae breeding in Canada: a way to turn food waste from waste to raw material. © REUTERS

Every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food lost. In poorer countries, this happens usually before the food is on the market. That can be for a part with simple technology in the supply chain to be resolved, such as in the transport, packaging and cooling. Technical interventions such as precision farming or investments in processes after harvest can make a big difference.

In richer countries, most food is wasted after the market, in supermarkets and at home. Here is something to do less often to do some shopping, impulse buying is to prevent and, less often, actions such as ‘two get one free’ to keep. That kind of actions put people are encouraged to buy more that they need.”

The world must be at least 50 percent more food production to an estimated 9 million people in 2050 to feed. This Is, with the eye on the climate change, possible?

‘The bad news is that modern agriculture is not the entire world population is feeding, and not good feeds. The good news is that there’s never been a better opportunity, more knowledge and skills you have to to do something about it.

Greater investment in infrastructure and processing of the harvest will improve, in combination with better access to markets and technology may lead to a minimal part of the harvest is lost to farmers in low – and middeninkomenlanden. This allows millions of people lifted out of poverty. In rich countries, it is up to companies and consumers to engage in transformation in the area of food waste.


‘Whether it comes to climate change, food shortages, water shortages, sustainability of the oceans or geopolitical conflicts, mostly they are connected with each other’

Through new business models, improved production, packaging and education businesses available to consumers in the right direction. With other purchasing habits, the adaptation of portions, and better voedselbereidingstechnieken consumers can circular voedseleconomie embrace. Each pound of food rescued from the waste, creates profit, also in the field of environment and health.

Through my work in remote communities, with health professionals, scientists and companies, I have seen the trend to vegetable diets to follow, has led to the discovery of new crops with promising nutritional value. These crops deliver sometimes more food in relation to the input that they need, such as water, and unpredictable weather conditions to endure. Diversification can, therefore, help to meet the need for nutrients. Meat in a laboratory for breeding can lead to increased productivity, nutritional value and tolerance for klimaatonzekerheden.

In essence, it is the future of agriculture not only in intensive, expansion – he is in the embrace of a holistic, precise and technological methods aimed at the production of healthy and climate-proof food.’

What is the impact of conflicts, in particular in Asia and Africa, on the wereldvoedselvoorraden?

“Large national and regional conflicts often have deep impact on food supplies, because they disrupt the society. Conflicts are often also stems from the fight for natural resources such as land and water, both of which are needed to produce food.

A growing world population, lower yields and nutritional value of some crops as a result of climate change, may also cause stress. That increases the risk of civil unrest or military conflict. Countries that the most experience stress, are often also countries that have the least capacity to adequately respond to public unrest.

Whether it comes to climate change, food shortages, water shortages, sustainability of the oceans or geopolitical conflicts, mostly they are connected with each other. Acidification and warming of the ocean, for example, has an effect on the fishing and the distribution of the already overfished fish stocks. Therefore geopolitical tensions arise. Since many of these problems are interrelated, there are also opportunities to jointly reduce it.’

Text: Thalif Deen

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