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Increasing yields is only part of the solution to feeding the world

Sustainable intensification is only part of what is needed to improve
food system sustainability (© Maria Fleischmann/World Bank)
Sustainable intensification is only part of what is needed to improve food system sustainability
© Maria Fleischmann/World Bank

To ensure sustainable food supplies for the Earth's growing population, policymakers must focus on more than just food production, a new paper argues. "Urgent action is also needed on moderating demand for resource-intensive foods (such as meat and dairy products), reducing food waste, and developing systems of governance that improve the efficiency and resilience of the food system as well as making food accessible and affordable to all," the paper states.

The paper calls for a rethink of 'sustainable intensification' as just producing more food per unit area in ways that exert less pressure on the environment. "Sustainable intensification - as policymakers currently understand it - does not guarantee food security," says co-author Dr Camilla Toulmin, director of the International Institute for Environment and Development. "We need a new and more sophisticated definition; one that is clearer about what sustainable intensification can and cannot achieve, about how and where it should be implemented, and about how it will interact with other important areas of food policy.

"We must ensure that sustainable intensification contributes to other important goals for rural development, such as climate-resilient livelihoods for poor farmers, and we must revitalise agricultural extension services and use modern communications tools to ensure that these farmers can participate," Toulmin adds.

Date published: July 2013

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Yes! It is the solution to feed the world but now we need to... (posted by: Bivekananda Mahat)

 

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