Experts discussed global food security
There are 7 billion people in the world, and this figure is to reach 9 billion by 2050. Is the world prepared to feed such a population? At “Pulse of the Economy” program in Polish Radio, the discussion about global food security was attended by Zenon Pokojski Ph.D., the Vice Chairman of the Board of Grupa Azoty PUŁAWY, Sebastian Jarzębowski Ph.D. from the Economics and Enterprise Organization at Warsaw School of Life Sciences and Professor Janusz Igras, the Scientific Director of New Chemical Syntheses Institute.
A billion people in the world are currently estimated to suffer from undernourishment. At the same time, about a billion people are thought to be obese. The discrepancy proves that the global distribution of food is not working the way it should. The guests of “Pulse of the Economy” program, which was broadcast from the studio in Katowice on the second day of the European Economic Congress, drew attention to numerous problems posed by the ever-changing demographic conditions.
Innovation and development-oriented farming
In Poland as well as other European countries, food is produced in excess quantity. Professor Igras remarked that value of food exportation from Poland exceeded 21 billion EUR, and the trade balance of food imported and exported from the country resulted in a surplus of 6.5 million EUR. This data confirms that agriculture and food processing are an important part of the national economy and a crucial element of the GNP. However, the global trend is not only to produce enough food, but also to pay attention to the quality of this food and its distribution methods. Agriculture should be open to innovation and development. On the other hand, if we consider the acreage of farmland in the world, is it sufficient to feed the rising global population?
Zenon Pokojski Ph.D., the coordinator of PUŁAWY Competence Center, stressed the potential of the African continent, including Ethiopia, where only 15% of the soil which can serve as farmland was cultivated. He also observed that Africa was a continent where the population was growing the fastest. Food production is a serious problem due to the fact that the number of arable hectares of land is falling rather than growing, like the population does.
Food as a political weapon
Professor Igras remarked that food became an argument in political relations. The Russian embargo provides a good example. Due to various reasons, Europe is unwilling to provide food to all regions of the world where food is not easily available. Seeing that food may easily become a political weapon, no country can resign from food production altogether.
The participants of the debate agreed that is was impossible to produce food of good quality without supplementing nutrients in the soil, and taking care of the natural environment at the same time. However, some countries choose to overlook the issue. Despite European complaints connected with environmental protection, China disregards the problem.
What is recommended to Polish farmers? They have been advised to take example from the strategies prepared in those countries where agricultural technology and practice have become more advanced.