Policy-makers must focus on more than just food production to ensure sustainable food supplies for the earth’s growing population, a new paper published by the Journal Science, has argued.
The paper urges a rethink of the increasingly popular policy goal of “sustainable intensification”, which aims to produce more food per unit area in ways that exert less pressure on the environment, which was made available to the Ghana News Agency (GNA).
While this is important, the authors of the publication say is too simple a definition and it ignores other radical changes that are also required to tackle waste, improve governance and resilience and reduce the resource-intensity of consumption.
Dr Camilla Toulmin, Director of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and co-author said: “Sustainable intensification — as policymakers currently understand it — does not guarantee food security.”
“We need a new and more sophisticated definition; one that is clearer about what sustainable intensification can and cannot achieve, about how and where it should be implemented, and about how it will interact with other important areas of food policy," he added.
The authors identified five areas of policy making that national or international efforts to pursue sustainable intensification will affect - biodiversity and land-use; animal welfare; human nutrition; rural economies; and sustainable development.
“To feed the world’s growing population, we must do more than simply produce more food per unit area in ways that exert less pressure on the environment,” says Dr Toulmin.
“We must also ensure that food is diverse and rich in micro-nutrients and that we make the right choices when allocating land for farm production or biodiversity.”
“We must ensure that sustainable intensification contributes to other important goals for rural development, such as climate-resilient livelihoods for poor farmers, and we must revitalise agricultural extension services and use modern communications tools to ensure that these farmers can participate,” he said.
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