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Unformatted text preview: REVIEW Food Security: The Challenge of Feeding 9 Billion People H. Charles J. Godfray, 1 * John R. Beddington, 2 Ian R. Crute, 3 Lawrence Haddad, 4 David Lawrence, 5 James F. Muir, 6 Jules Pretty, 7 Sherman Robinson, 8 Sandy M. Thomas, 9 Camilla Toulmin 10 Continuing population and consumption growth will mean that the global demand for food will increase for at least another 40 years. Growing competition for land, water, and energy, in addition to the overexploitation of fisheries, will affect our ability to produce food, as will the urgent requirement to reduce the impact of the food system on the environment. The effects of climate change are a further threat. But the world can produce more food and can ensure that it is used more efficiently and equitably. A multifaceted and linked global strategy is needed to ensure sustainable and equitable food security, different components of which are explored here. T he past half-century has seen marked growth in food production, allowing for a dramatic decrease in the proportion of the world ’ s people that are hungry, despite a doubling of the total population (Fig. 1) ( 1 , 2 ). Neverthe- less, more than one in seven people today still do not have access to sufficient protein and energy from their diet, and even more suffer from some form of micronutrient malnourishment ( 3 ). The world is now facing a new set of intersecting chal- lenges ( 4 ). The global population will continue to grow, yet it is likely to plateau at some 9 billion people by roughly the middle of this century. A major correlate of this deceleration in population growth is increased wealth, and with higher pur- chasing power comes higher consumption and a greater demand for processed food, meat, dairy, and fish, all of which add pressure to the food supply system. At the same time, food producers are experiencing greater competition for land, water, and energy, and the need to curb the many negative effects of food production on the envi- ronment is becoming increasingly clear ( 5 , 6 ). Overarching all of these issues is the threat of the effects of substantial climate change and concerns about how mitigation and adaptation measures may affect the food system ( 7 , 8 ). A threefold challenge now faces the world ( 9 ): Match the rapidly changing demand for food from a larger and more affluent population to its supply; do so in ways that are environmentally and socially sustainable; and ensure that the world ’ s poorest people are no longer hungry. This challenge requires changes in the way food is produced, stored, processed, distributed, and accessed that are as radical as those that occurred during the 18th- and 19th-century Industrial and Agricultural Revolutions and the 20th-century Green Revolution. Increases in production will have an important part to play, but they will be constrained as never before by the finite resources provided by Earth ’ s lands, oceans, and atmo- sphere ( 10 )....
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