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PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF Exploring Sustainable Solutions for Increasing Global Food Supplies Report of a Workshop Committee on Food Security for All as a Sustainability Challenge Science and Technology for Sustainability Program Policy and Global Affairs
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PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This summary report and the workshop on which it was based were supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the George and Cynthia Mitchell Endowment for Sustainability Science. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, D.C. 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2012 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
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PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
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PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF COMMITTEE ON FOOD SECURITY FOR ALL AS A SUSTAINABILITY CHALLENGE Per Pinstrup-Andersen (Chair), H.E. Babcock Professor of Food, Nutrition and Public Policy, J. Thomas Clark Professor of Entrepreneurship, and Professor of Applied Economics, Cornell University Mike Bushell, Principal Scientific Adviser, Syngenta, Jealott’s Hill International Research Center Jason Clay, Senior Vice-President, Market Transformation, World Wildlife Fund Bert Drake, Plant Physiologist, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (retired) William (Bill) Jury, Distinguished Professor, Soil Physics and Soil Physicist, Emeritus, University of California, Riverside Phil Pardey, Professor of Science and Technology Policy, Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota Jules Pretty, Professor of Environment and Society and Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Essex Marie Ruel, Director, Poverty, Health, and Nutrition Division, International Food Policy Research Institute Emmy B. Simmons, Former Assistant Administrator for Economic Growth, Agriculture, and Trade, U.S. Agency for International Development (retired) Kostas Stamoulis, Director, Agricultural Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Dennis Treacy, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer, Smithfield Food, Inc. Laurian Unnevehr, Director, Food Economics Division, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture Paul Vlek, Professor and Director, Department of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Center for Development Research, University of Bonn Staff Marina Moses, Director, Science and Technology for Sustainability Program Pat Koshel, Senior Program Officer, Science and Technology for Sustainability Program Jennifer Saunders, Program Officer, Science and Technology for Sustainability Program Emi Kameyama, Program Associate, Science and Technology for Sustainability Program Dylan Richmond, Research Assistant, Science and Technology for Sustainability Program v
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PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS In May 2011, the National Research Council’s Science and Technology for Sustainability Program convened the second of two workshops to address the sustainability challenges associated with food security for all—Exploring Sustainable Solutions for Increasing Global Food Supplies. The first workshop in this series— Measuring Food Insecurity and Assessing the Sustainability of Global Food Systems— was held in February 2011. Estimates made by the United Nations predict that the world population will increase to 9.3 billion by 20501 and 70 percent more food will be required, posing a global sustainability challenge. The workshop was designed to address a set of critical questions: Can the world feed future generations? Can it do it sustainably? At what food price? What action is needed? Who should take the action? Workshop objectives included identifying the major challenges and opportunities for change associated with achieving sustainable food security and identifying needed policy, science, and governance interventions. While sustainable food security for all depends both on sustainable food supplies and assuring access to food, this workshop focused specifically on assuring the availability of adequate food supplies. Workshop participants were asked to examine long term natural resource constraints, specifically water, land and forests, soils, biodiversity and fisheries. They were also expected to discuss the role of knowledge, technology, modern production practices, and infrastructure in supporting expanded agricultural production and the significant risks to future productivity due to changes in the climate. Several themes were elucidated during the workshop discussions. For example, although food supplies must be expanded to meet increasing demand arising from population growth and rising incomes, this increase in food supplies could—but may not—be done sustainably. While there was no agreement on how much future food prices would change, continued price volatility is expected. Most participants noted that the increase in production could come from more efficient use of land, water and labor. Sustainable intensification--increasing productivity without damaging the productive 1 New UN population estimates (for 2010) were released just at the time of our workshop. These new estimates suggested that by the end of the century the global population could reach 10.1 billion and 9.3 billion by 2050. See World Population Prospects 2010. Available at http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Other- Information/Press_Release_WPP2010.pdf. Accessed on October 1, 2011. vii
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PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF capacity of natural resources—is likely to be far more important, according to many participants, than the expansion of land devoted to agriculture. As much as 70 to 85 percent of the needed increase in production is likely to come from intensification. The remaining production increases may come from expanding land use sometime into areas poorly suited for agriculture, with serious environmental consequences. Some participants noted that additional research is warranted in order to reduce yield gaps and lift yield ceilings. Many workshop participants stressed the importance of farm-level intensification and improvements in soil quality and fertility. Lower levels of soil fertility are a particular problem in Sub-Saharan Africa, where soils have been severely mined over time. It is also important to recognize and manage critical ecosystem services and the need to internalize ecological costs. Many participants noted that such costs, as well as benefits, should be factored into prices to assure sustainable food supplies. Most workshop participants recognized the potential value of organic farming systems in reducing or avoiding continued natural resource degradation. However, adhering to the organic farming practices as defined in the United States and EU and “natural” systems alone cannot provide the needed productivity increases. And if pursued on a scale needed to meet today’s demand, such practices would have significant environmental ramifications. Furthermore, organic production methods may result in larger emission of greenhouse gases. Most participants thought that farmers should consider using all scientifically viable methods, including GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Most participants stressed the need for investments in public goods, especially rural infrastructure (e.g., roads that would support expanding) and more efficient supply chains, and they also emphasized the importance of securing property rights for family farms. The private sector was seen by many to have a critical role in providing tools, new technologies and investments in the agricultural sector. There was considerable discussion about the importance of reducing post harvest wastes and losses, estimated to be as high as 30-40 percent of production, as a strategy to sustainably expand food supplies. A few participants suggested a number of ways to reduce these losses, noting that opportunities will vary by crop and by location. Participants also stressed the importance of understanding and adapting to climate change. Many noted that the effects of climate change are already being seen, with significant warming in many regions and changes in precipitation making it more difficult to increase productivity, especially for key food crops. Recent weather and agricultural production fluctuations illustrate the impact of climate change. Finally, some of the major factors identified by workshop participants that are likely to constrain the expansion of food supplies include the low priority given to agriculture by many developing country governments; inadequate international financial commitments to agriculture and agricultural research; institutional and infrastructure barriers to action by the private sector, including small holders; continued natural resource degradation; and many location specific challenges. Throughout the report, these themes are expanded upon. This report has been prepared by the committee as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop, and the statements made do not necessarily represent positions viii
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PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF of the workshop participants as a whole, the Science and Technology for Sustainability Program, or the National Academies. The workshop and report could not have come together without the help of many dedicated staff members. Pat Koshel directed the project and coordinated the report. Emi Kameyama, Jennifer Saunders and Dylan Richmond provided invaluable support and assistance with our workshop and in preparing the final report. This report is the result of substantial effort and collaboration among several organizations and individuals. We wish to extend a sincere thanks to each member of the planning committee for his/her contributions in scoping, developing, and carrying out this project. The project would not have been possible without financial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It also benefitted from the National Academies’ internal support, provided by the George and Cynthia Mitchell Endowment for Sustainability Science. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academies’ Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for quality and objectivity. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. I wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: William Easterling, The Pennsylvania State University; Keith Fuglie, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Brian Greenberg, InterAction; George Hornberger, Vanderbilt University; Rattan Lal, The Ohio State University; and Sara Scherr, EcoAgriculture Partners. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report, nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the author and the institution. Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Chair Committee on a Study of Food Security for All as A Sustainability Challenge ix
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PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF CONTENTS 1. Introduction and Overview 1 Contextual Framework for Workshop 2 3 2. Achieving Sustainable Food Security: Challenges and Opportunities 5 Current and Expected Future Food and Nutrition Security 5 Agricultural Productivity and Natural Resource Endowments 9 Are New Paradigms Needed for Sustainable Food Security in the Face of Uncertainties and Risks? 11 General Discussion 14 Water for A Food-Secure World 14 Land Degradation and Sustainable Food Production: Sub-Saharan Africa 17 Global Seafood—Fisheries and Aquaculture 19 Producing More Food and More Biodiversity: Is There Potential for Both? 21 Soil Quality Of Tropical Africa: An Essential Element of Improved Agricultural Productivity 23 General Discussion 25 Food Security, Farming and Climate Change to 2050 Scenarios: Results and Policy Options 26 Risks and Vulnerabilities from Climate Change 29 General Discussion 31 References 32 3. Approaches to Achieving Sustainable Food Security 37 Farm-Level Sustainable Intensification 37 Food Value Chains Leading to Sustainable Intensification 40 Ecosystem Management 42 General Discussion 43 Reduction of Yield Gaps to Increase Productivity and Sustainability 44 Energy Efficiency and Food Security for All--The Impact of Fertilizer 48 General Discussion 51 Private Investment and Farm Size Issues 52 Losses and Waste in the Food Supply Chain 54 General Discussion 56 Global Governance of Natural Resources: Quantity vs. Quality 56 Global Public Goods: Food Safety 59 General Discussion 60 References 61 4. Political, Economic, and Institutional Opportunities and Barriers 65 Externalities: The Costs of Natural Resource Degradation 65 xi
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PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF Political Economy Issues, Priorities and Political Will 67 Incentives and Limitations to Action by Civil Society 69 Incentives and Limitations to Action by the Private Sector 71 Panel: Confront Trade-Offs, Remove National and International Externalities, Seek Multiple Wins, and Establish Coalitions and Partnerships 75 General Discussion 78 References 79 APPENDIXES A Workshop Agenda 81 B Workshop Participants 87 C Biographical Information: Workshop Participants 90 D Selected Bibliography 101 E Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability 110 xii