The Great Debate UK
-Pamela C. Ronald is a Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of California. Raoul Adamchak is an organic farmer and Market Garden Coordinator at the University of California. The opinions expressed are their own.-
This week, the G20 Agriculture Ministers gathered for their first-ever meeting to discuss potential measures to address price volatility and record high food prices. The key to any long-term solution is acknowledging that we need to empower the very people whose lives are most affected by food shortages. Three-quarters of the world’s poorest people get their food and income by farming small plots of land. The potential of small farmers for getting us out of this and future food crises cannot be understated.
Today, we find that millions of lives depend upon the extent to which agricultural science can keep pace with the growing global population, changing climate, and shrinking environmental resources — and the extent to which this science is available to millions of the world’s poorest farmers.
Few people will argue with the idea that we need to grow more food. World economic and agricultural leaders have projected that the human population will surpass 9 billion by 2050, and 10 billion by the turn of the century. And they have forecast that we must double or even triple food production to meet demand.
Everybody wants to end hunger, but just how to do so is a divisive question that pits environmentalists against anti-poverty campaigners, big business against consumers and rich countries against poor.
The Food Chain Campaign is not about becoming vegetarian, say the Friends of the Earth, it is about putting pressure on the government to mitigate the damaging impact of meat and dairy production on the environment.