25 Jan 2011

Urgent action needed to avert global hunger - report

1:14 pm on 25 January 2011

A study on food security commissioned by the British government is calling for urgent action to avert global hunger.

Foresight Report on Food and Farming Futures says the current system is unsustainable and will fail to end hunger unless radically redesigned.

The report is the culmination of a two-year study, involving 400 experts from 35 countries, the BBC reports.

It emphasises changes to farming, to ensure that the increasing of yields does not come at the expense of sustainability, and to provide incentives to the agricultural sector that address malnutrition.

The report also recommends that the most resource-intensive types of food are curbed and that waste is minimised in food production.

The UK government's chief scientific adviser, Professor Sir John Beddington, told the BBC that the world's population would will increase to about 8.2 billion in the next 20 years, and by that time something in the order of 40% more food needs to be delivered.

Professor Beddington commissioned the study and was among the first to warn of "a perfect storm" of a growing population, climate change and diminishing resources for food production.

The Foresight authors say 925 million people suffer hunger and perhaps a further billion lack micronutrients.

They say the food system is working for the majority of people but those at risk of hunger have least influence on decision-making.