"Last year I attended the first ever meeting of G8 agriculture ministers in
"And the truth is this commitment could not have come soon enough. In the coming decades, ensuring global food security will only become more difficult. We face the reality of a world population that is growing by 79 million people each year, the equivalent of 6 Tokyos. Future food demand is expected to increase by 70 percent by 2050 - challenging our capacity to grow and raise enough food....Growth in agricultural productivity, faces increasing threats from scarce water supplies, and competition for energy resources from industry and urbanization.
"Climate change also promises to have an outsized impact on the global food supply. Variations in temperature, increased frequency of extreme weather like drought, floods and storms, and the spread of pests and diseases to new geographic areas will likely impact productivity....These challenges are sobering reminders of why food security must remain at the core of the international agenda. And, they point to a future where investing in agricultural development is the only way to find a permanent solution to hunger.
"As we pursue agricultural development our efforts must be long-term. Quick fixes are not enough. We must help countries find strategies to increase crop outputs by adopting the latest seed technology, improved irrigation systems and land management techniques, and by appropriately applying fertilizer. We should help build strong post-harvest infrastructure like roads and cold storage, and encourage vibrant local markets with transparent information and improved financial services.
"Food security efforts must be country-led and country-driven and focused at the local and community level. That means engaging farmers in small villages so they can provide their ideas about developing the agriculture sector, so that we can help them with technologies, techniques and crops that fit their culture and lifestyle. It means our focus must reflect an understanding of the role of women in farming, who account for between 60 and 80 percent of food production in most developing countries ...