‘Enough is enough’ when it comes to the food security debate

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Elanco has introduced “Enough: The fight for a food secure tomorrow,” a report focused on the realities and solutions available to achieve global food security. The report, written by Elanco President Jeff Simmons, advocates for farmer access to innovative tools in order to feed a growing global population and reduce natural resource use.

During his presentation at “Feeding the World 2014: Sustainable solutions for a world crisis” hosted by The Economist, Simmons shared the main messages of the report, explaining that innovation, choice and trade will be the core solutions to tackle food security.

Simmons laid out today’s food security realities: The world’s middle class will more than double in size to nearly 5 billion as the world population grows to 9 billion by 20501,2. However, the fastest part of that growth will actually occur between now and 2020. This means billions of people demanding access to better diets, including an increased consumer demand for meat, milk and eggs3.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reports we’ll need 60 percent more meat, milk and eggs to meet demand by 2050. But, we’re already overusing the Earth’s resources; it currently takes 1.5 years to regenerate 1 year of resource use, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

“We are currently on the fast track to a crisis and a global shortage of basic foods such as meat, milk and eggs. For example, today, we are meeting global milk demand primarily by adding cows.  On this path, we will need 40 million more dairy cows in order to meet consumer demand for dairy products in 2050. This is simply not sustainable,” Simmons said.

“Health experts recommend that we have two glasses of milk each day for optimal health. Today, we have access to about one glass of milk on average globally — though clearly some have access to more or less. Given current productivity level and population growth, 500 million people won’t have access to one glass of milk in 2020 if we don’t make a change,” Simmons explained about the crisis. “By 2040, nearly half the population, or 4.5 billion people, won’t be able to meet their nutritional needs of two glasses a day.

“But alternatives exist. We have — either available right now or in the pipeline — the technology that would enable us to meet consumer demand in 2050. But we need to give farmers the ability to access and utilize this technology and ensure that proven innovation and farm practices which maintain health and productivity are available for use,” Simmons continued.

In the case of milk demand, using innovations to increase a cow’s annual production by as little as a half a glass a day or 4.75 oz. would fill the gap and freeze the footprint of milk production. It would mean 66 million less cows, 747 million tons less feed and 388 million acres less farmland — roughly the size of Alaska. Further, it would save 618 billion gallons of water — enough to supply the annual household consumption of the 11 largest U.S. cities4.

Simmons’ call for technology is backed up by food security experts, including organizations such as Heifer International.

“By providing farmers with the tools and training they need, we can empower them to feed the world’s growing population. Innovation, appropriate technology and access to markets are key to helping smallholder farmers achieve autonomy and self-reliance, paving the way from poverty to prosperity,” said Heifer International President and CEO Pierre Ferrari. Elanco partners with Heifer International to address shared goals for creating a food secure future, including volunteer and financial support for Heifer International initiatives.

Simmons’ “Enough” report also features new research that helps detail the reality of consumer perceptions and the path for ensuring global food security with innovation, choice and trade. The research includes original consumer perception and survey data from The Nielsen Company and Elanco researchers as well as in-depth new research regarding nutrition and food chain solutions for ensuring food security.

To learn more about The Enough Movement, visit www.SensibleTable.com or follow @JeffSimmons2050 and use #Feedthe9 on Twitter to join the dialogue. The website lays out the vision for a food secure world, where 9 billion people have access to enough nutritious, affordable food of their choosing; and farmers and ranchers have the ability to choose proven technologies. It also provides advocates who join The Enough Movement with resources for making their voices heard in the fight for a food secure tomorrow.

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February, 14, 2014 at 10:14 AM

So a vicious circle of chemicals is sustainable agriculture??? Thanks Elanco! The push now is to make congress pass a law stopping consumer choice. Wake up chem giants the rest of the world doesn't want your junk, why should Americans be forced too.

MO.  |  February, 14, 2014 at 11:43 AM

By all indications it appears that this article actually says nothing of substance. It talks in circles. There is also an indication of contradictory and confusing statements being made. Is Heifer International and Elanco really on board with each other and are they truly endorsing each others initiatives? Let the World's consumers decide what they want to endorse and consume, it should be their choice and not that of any Industry. Use methodology that the consumer wants and the Industry that meets it will be profitable. Different consumers desire different methodologies behind their food production, there will never be a one size fits all. That is the uniqueness of the Human race.

Dr David Hill    
Huddersfield, UK  |  February, 15, 2014 at 12:42 PM

The problem is that those with the money (0.7% of the adult population controlled 41% of the total wealth of the world last year according to Credit Suisse and 10% controlled 86%) do not really care about humanity per se. For the driving force of change has always been those heading-up business at the top that continually need for some strange reason to increase profits at any cost. This inevitable means job losses, reduction in the wealth of the masses and increased wealth of the few. That is how capitalism works and for the few. Technology and innovation that drives the system are the tools that do this and where in many ways due to the great imbalance in the capitalist economic model, 10% of the people get constantly richer by the year and the other 90% get poorer. It is simple economics and where unless the model changes, inequality will continue to become greater by the year. But a great deal of people do not realise that the vast majority of fundamental thinking that has made the modern world what it is today did not emanate from our corporates or universities but from the masses. The approximate figure according to some is 75%+ - http://worldinnovationfoundation.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/why-innovation-chain-is-so-important.html Dr David Hill World Innovation Foundation

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