A market in Kedougou, Senegal (West Africa)
Scientists and agriculture experts discussed the future of global food supply at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C., April 12.
The participants in a panel titled “How to Avert a Food Crisis” analyzed adaptation challenges around farming techniques and existing infrastructure in a changing climate.
Indigenous populations have been implementing adaptation techniques to sustain their farming cultures for hundreds of years, said Panelist Ed Carr, Qualitative Social Scientist and Author of Delivering Development: Globalization’s Shoreline and the Road to a Sustainable Future.
These farmers have learned to adjust crop planting and harvesting approaches based on changing climate and a changing market, Carr said.
Soil degradation, water shortages and biodiversity loss underlie food security and natural resource problems, but the challenges can be overcome by implementing proven techniques that we continue to learn more about, said panelist Hans Herren, Swiss Entomologist, Development Specialist and Millennium Institute President.
The GAIN Index (index.gain.org) is a user-friendly tool designed for decision makers to navigate and prioritize investment to climate change indicators such as food score over time. For example, in Brazil the country ranks 53 of 179 in terms of vulnerability in food and agriculture, and shows a positive adaptation trend based on data compiled during the past 15 years. Its overall GAIN ranking is 63 of 161.
Even if farmers can sustain their crops, another challenge is sustainable infrastructure to get the food to market.
Forty percent of the food grown in the world never makes it to market because of infrastructure and other engineering challenges. Public and private sector investments are needed to improve those systems in need. Global food production isn’t the issue, but the system for distribution to reach all markets creates the loss, Herren said.
Find more about adaptation news around the world at gain.org.