Table of Contents:
- Agriculture's burden of technological intolerance
- 4 guideposts to feed the world
- The coming population burst casts a shadow over agriculture — a colossal feeding task looms with no precedent in history.
During his speech Juma made it clear that agricultural technology by itself is not a universal remedy. “So must humanity enlarge its toolbox to include genetic modification and other technologies such as satellites for monitoring land resources. But these techniques are not silver bullets. They must be part of a wider system of innovation that includes improving interactions between academia, government, business, and farmers.”
Greg Page recently penned an interesting article in Bloomberg titled “The challenge of feeding 9 billion people,” which pointed out the harm of bureaucracy to agriculture. “In an increasingly interconnected world, export bans, trade-distorting tariffs and inconsistent import standards hinder the free flow of food … There are more than 1,300 tariff-rate quotas in agriculture and food products filed with the World Trade Organization, including more than 100 in the European Union … All of them harm consumers.”
Page offered four guideposts to feed the masses by 2050.
1. Free trade is vital and makes food more affordable.
2. Markets work better than mandates for food distribution. “I believe biofuels have a role to play, but we need policies to be more responsive to supply and demand.”
3. Technology is key.
4. Food production is not a given. “We won’t have a food-secure world if we compound the inherent risks with poor policy.”
The future is now. Juma’s words are worthy of repetition: “We cannot afford to be seduced by the dim light of technological stagnation.”