“Finding Solutions to Feed the World” @ SAIS

On May 9, Jim Borel of DuPont spoke at the JHU School for Advanced and International Studies (SAIS).  Among his points on the global food situation and efforts to address the issues were the following:

  • Malthus was wrong in his 1789 projections of linear growth of food resources vs. geometric growth of the population.  It’s time to accept that we can feed the world if we want to.
  • In developing countries, 1/3 of food produced is lost to waste between the farm and the market (due to lack of refrigeration, adequate storage, transportation infrastructure, etc.).  And in the ‘advanced’ world?  We also lose 1/3 of food to waste, but in our case it occurs between the market and the consumer.  Picture how much is thrown out by grocery stores and restaurants as well as individuals and families.
  • Hunger used to be hidden in remote regions [where it could also be ignored by the rest of the world — RDM].  70 million people died of starvation in the 20th century.  Now, with projections of 70% of the population living in urban areas, we will know when hunger strikes.  [My question is, won’t that also translate into greater anger in those affected?  That the world knows and still does nothing?]
  • Three areas we need to advance —
    1. To face unprecedented global challenges, we need local solutions.  85% of food never crosses an international border.
    2. Ensure science becomes local wisdom.
    3. Sustainability: Ensure crops get from farm to market.