At the Future of Food seminar in Brussels last week, international experts from business, government, science and society turned their attention to current problems facing world food supply, and factors that could affect it in the future.
They concluded that investments in science and technology have been neglected for more than 20 years. In order to safeguard food for the future, investments are needed now.
But they warn that “this alone is not enough”. Rather, “technology has to be embedded in good policy”.
In addition, the food sector should not operate in a bubble, but “open itself for other fields of thinking”; it may be able to learn from examples in other industries, such as telecoms.
Asia and Latin America
The seminar participants also gave great weight to the role of Asia and Latin America in determining supplies for the world at large.
In Asia, a rise in per capita income means more demand for animal products. It is expected that within ten years China will account for half the world’s pork consumption.
This demand translates into more demand for animal feed.
“More and more people live in megacities all over the world and have full time jobs,” said the seminar organisers in the post-event report. “This makes them more and more dependent on processed food that they buy in supermarkets.”
The Future of Food seminar was organised by Schuttelaar and Partners and Waganingen University and Research centre. It forms part of a four-pronged initiative; in 2009 a forum is planned to take place in London, on ‘Long term investments in the global food system’. This will be followed by a conference on ‘Globalisation and the food system’, and a book entitled ‘Groundbreaking views on the future of food’.
More information is available at www.future-of-food.com.