Two reports this week underscore the need for families, neighborhoods, and communities to take action this year to ensure their ongoing food security.
The first report is somewhat longer in term. The head of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), acknowledged on Monday that global food production — already under strain from the global credit crunch — must double by 2050 to head off mass famine.
Jacques Diouf said that the unfolding global food crisis pushed another 40 million people into hunger in 2008. That brought the global number of undernourished people to 973 million last year out of a total population of around 6.5 billion, he said.
“We face the challenge now of not only ensuring food for the 973 million who are currently hungry,” Diouf said, “but also ensuring there is food for nine billion people in 2050. We will need to double global food production by 2050.”
Diouf warned the global economic crisis was already undermining efforts to tackle food insecurity. The credit crisis makes it harder for farmers to get loans to buy materials and equipment to grow crops.
“This silent tsunami is completely unacceptable,” Diouf said of the mounting global food crisis.
Meanwhile, of more immediate concern, consumers may soon be paying even more as they chase a shrinking supply of fresh and frozen vegetables. According to news reports, many California farmers have started abandoning their fields in response to a crippling drought.
California’s sweeping Central Valley grows most of the country’s fruits and vegetables. But this winter thousands of acres are turning to dust as the state hurtles into the worst drought in nearly two decades. The consequences of the drought will soon impact store shelves and consumer wallets.
The credit crisis, ongoing instability in the realm of oil prices, the drought, and other mounting conditions make it important now – this year – for citizens to take steps to implement local and sustainable systems of food production.