Geotema 52

Andrea Sonnino, Delgermaa Chuluunbaatar, John Ruane

Food security, sustainability and agricultural innovation

Abstract: Currently, more than enough food is produced to feed the world’s population of 7 billion inhabitants. However, latest FAO figures indicate that 842 million people were undernourished in 2011-13. Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to suffi cient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. There are four dimensions of food security: the availability of food; access to food; utilization of food and food system stability. Looking to the future, there are also major challenges ahead from the rapidly changing socio-economic environment (increasing world population and urbanization, and dietary changes), climate change and erosion of natural resources. The projected food demand in 2050 will increase by 60 percent. The sustainable increase of productivity, based on the adoption of technological and organizational innovation in agriculture, is therefore key to achieving food security. Increasing productivity can improve food security in two ways. First, providing an opportunity for farmers to increase their incomes and to improve their livelihoods. Second, increased productivity can also lead to reduced food prices, benefi ting many poor people in both urban and rural areas as poor households typically spend a large proportion of their income on food. Increased productivity should be achieved while simultaneously conserving the natural resource base upon which future productivity increases depend. In this way, the farmer’s income growth can be combined with a truly sustainable resource use.

Keywords: Food security, agricultural innovation.

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