The push for ever increasing agricultural yields has reached its limits and food production must take into account the needs of the planet and the impact on people’s health, according to Tim Benton, a leading food security scientist.
It comes as the UN’s 2017 State of Food Security and Nutrition report documents a rise in the number of people suffering from hunger— from 777 million in 2015 to 815 in 2016 — signalling the reversal of a long-term declining trend.
The director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Jose Graziano da Silva, said last month at a meeting convened by Chatham House in London that the ‘green revolution’ food model — a push for new technologies to increase agricultural production — has reached its limits because of huge environmental costs. Now, he said, “nourishing people must go hand in hand with nursing the planet”.