Global hunger

A move to sustainable agriculture can address global hunger and climate change issues, but the transition will not be easy


In its new report, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has done well to point out a fundamental dilemma facing policymakers across the globe. The FAO says that the world faces an unprecedented challenge: eradicating hunger on the one hand and stabilizing the global climate before it is too late. One policy goal cannot be pursued without keeping the other in mind. For example, subsidies on chemical fertilizers is not good news for the environment while subsidies on biofuels put nutrition security at risk as land is diverted away from food cultivation.

The answer is sustainable agriculture. The transition will not be easy. There are two significant issues—getting small farmers to take the risk of moving to new production techniques and the challenge of dietary diversification to items such as fruit which need a lot of water. The FAO says that one important task will be to think about energy policy, food policy and climate change policy in an integrated manner. And one thing is certain: the poor are most at risk from climate change.