Monday October 18, 2021

Food systems

September 27, 2021

The UN chief has warned, once again, that the world needs to change the manner in which it produces food in order to develop systems that are more friendly to the environment and can feed people across the planet. The fact that we are waging a war on our planet is no longer hidden. The matter is being taken up more strongly by the UN and other leaders across the world, with the green issue emerging as a major theme during the upcoming German elections. The UN chief has warned that three billion people in the world do not have access to healthy diets, with two billion obese people and over 450 million people underweight. This in itself is a shocking finding and reflects what food can do to us, in the manner it is produced – causing greenhouse emissions and leading to dwindling crops and as a result increase in poverty.

We need to alter not just the patterns of producing food during the coming years to meet the UN’s 2030 sustainable goal targets, but also altering what we eat. A plant-based diet has been recommended by experts as not only being the most nutritious and healthy but as a lifestyle change that can help the planet survive. Raising animals destroys vast acres of land and has led to massive cutting of forests, as in the Amazon. Instead, we need to alter cropping patterns and change the manner in which we consume food. The fact that the US has agreed to invest $10 billion in efforts to alter the food production systems over the coming five years is a good example, but much more is needed. And for this, all countries must work together.

There should be no politics involved in the production of food and supplying it to people no matter where they live and how much they consume. The uneven distribution of food supplies has already led to crippling poverty and malnutrition that in Pakistan, for example, leaves 50 percent of our children stunted. These are not figures that the world should be comfortable with. In Sub Saharan Africa and in South Asia, conditions are even worse than other countries. We must consider why countries that used to be food-secure are losing this security and how climate change is affecting food production and how greenhouse emissions caused by the manner in which we manufacture and process food is damaging the ecosystem, leaving the planet less able to sustain life.