This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
The world is not merely facing a challenge of sustainably producing enough food to feed a world whose population will exceed 9 billion by 2050, but also confronting the continuous challenge of ensuring that nutritious and safe food reaches needy families, so that every child can have a safe and healthy childhood. Combating this urgent crisis requires a global collaborative effort. According to experts, by 2050 agricultural production will need to increase by 70% to meet increased demand for food, diet changes and additional demand for industrial uses for plants. To help meet this goal, USDA has developed a Global Food Security strategy, focused on research, development, education and extension. As part of USDA’s Office of the Chief Scientist series of white papers on USDA’s research portfolio, this plan aligns USDA’s food security research with the goals of President Obama’s Global Food Security Initiative, Feed the Future.
In implementing the strategy, USDA will seek and build upon existing partnerships with research institutions at home and abroad, as well as in the private sector. We are very heartened that our colleagues in other countries and donor organizations share our interest. This May, the G8 Leaders announced the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition to improve food security in Africa. The G8 Leaders also endorsed the establishment of global platforms to facilitate sharing of reliable agricultural data and information, which is crucial for research, for decision making by farmers and to help connect them to the marketplace. Similarly, the June Rio+20 Summit resolved to enhance agricultural science and improve productivity and sustainability through voluntary sharing of knowledge and good practices and by strengthening international cooperation on agricultural research. These commitments made by USDA, the G8 and Rio+20 have been taken to the next level by the G20 whose leaders recently announced their support for a series of recommendations to sustainably increase agricultural productivity. These steps include strengthening global collaboration and cooperation on agricultural science through a regular meeting of agricultural Chief Scientists (MACS) with the goal of identifying global research priorities and targets and facilitating collaboration between public and private sector organizations in the key areas most likely to drive sustainable agricultural productivity gains.
These developments have a lot of promise for helping coordinate the fight against global hunger. I encourage you to read more about USDA’s food security research and find out about the important role science plays in improving lives around the world.