‘Enough is Enough’ when it comes to food security debate, says Elanco president
Farmers need access to innovative tools in order to feed a growing global population and save natural resources, Elanco President Jeff Simmons said during a presentation at a world food supply summit held Feb. 13.
Simmons’ report was titled “Enough: The Fight for a Food-Secure Tomorrow,” and it was presented at at “Feeding the World 2014: Sustainable Solutions for a World Crisis” hosted by The Economist.
During his presentation, Simmons said innovation, choice and trade will be the core solutions to tackle food security and added that a sense of urgency is needed. The fastest part of the world’s middle class growth will occur between today and 2020. This means billions of people demanding access to better diets, including an increased consumer demand for meat, milk and eggs in the next six years.
“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 egg demand by adding hens. On this path, hen numbers will need to double to more than 12.5 billion hens in order to meet consumer demand in 2050. This is simply not sustainable,” Simmons said.
“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.
Simmons’ call for technology is backed up by food security experts, including Aalt Dijkhuizen from Wageningen University and Research Centre, The Netherlands.
“The simple fact is that we cannot feed the world of tomorrow if we reject technology and revert to the farming practices used by past generations,” said Dijkhuizen. “It is possible to create a sustainable, global food supply if we are willing to use proven technologies that help farmers improve animal wellbeing and productivity.”
Simmons’ “Enough” report also features new research that helps detail the reality of consumer perceptions. 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. Findings from the research include that only 4 percent of consumers are not concerned with price when buying food. For the remainder of consumers however, price is increasingly important. Since the 2011 study, the prioritization of cost when buying food has jumped 13 percent to become the consumers’ No. 1 priority.
“Food security is an issue we can start to solve now. If we focus on the need, rely on a science-based approach and take leadership, we can create a food secure future – one in which 9 billion people have access to enough nutritious, affordable food,” Simmons concluded.