Food security and environmental impacts

To meet a growing global demand for food and fodder, one can opt for increasing yields through intensification and/or for extending the land base used for agricultural cultivation. Intensification and concentrating food production in the most productive regions may appear the most efficient way to use the land. However, risks to food security may be increased, because supply chains become more vulnerable and because of pollution. Loss of crop diversity, decline of pollinators and increased vulnerability of monocultures to diseases are additional stress factors. On the other hand, regional or local self-sufficiency and the reliance on extensive farming systems would require more cultivated land at the expense of natural habitats.

Food security can also be tackled from the consumption perspective, for example by looking at the efficiency gains from changing diets. Livestock production is more than six times as inefficient as crop production in terms of protein output, and hence meat diets are associated with higher land take and nutrient losses (PBL 2011. The protein puzzle. The consumption and production of meat, dairy and fish in the European union).

To discuss more meet our food experts at Food Security 2017, San Diego, USA.


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