Dispatches from Feeding the World conference in Geneva

'It shouldn't all boil down to yield,' says food systems activist in call to action

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

How to feed the world by 2050?
How to feed the world by 2050?

Related tags: Agriculture, Nutrition

How to tackle obesity and hunger remains a two-pronged challenge for the agri-food industry, but increasing crop yield is not the answer - instead the focus should be on boosting the nutritional value of crops, claims a sustainable food systems activist.

Speaking to this publication at the Feeding the World conference in Geneva this week, Ellen Gustafson, the founder and executive director of the 30Project, argues that GM foods are not necessarily the way forward either as they are also based on high commodity and high yield crops.

The activist reckons that intensive agri-systems and the creation of new and cheap processed have led to our current global landscape of 1 billion hungry and 1 billion overweight.

“We have to look at the system and capitalism in a new light and migrate away from an approach that only ever boils down to improving yields,”​ said Gustafson.

And while fortification of foods may work in the short term, growers, she argues, should be targeting the development of crops high in a range of nutrients instead.

Gustafson predicts that disruptive technologies that can link growers directly to the urban consumer may more readily enable a global food system that provides healthy, affordable food for people whether in Europe, the US, Asia or Latin America.

The 30 Project aims to bring together key organizations and activists working around the world on addressing hunger, obesity, and agriculture issues to talk about their visions for the food system and the next 30-years.

“Many of the best anti-hunger and anti-obesity organizations have been so focused on their important work that they have not been able to work together on common challenges,”​ say the activists.

Related topics: Science

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