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Which Country Plans to "Take Control of Its Own Food Bowl"? - 28th January 2014

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Tuesday 28th January 2014.
Sarah Mikesell - TheCropSite Senior Editor

Sarah Mikesell
Senior Editor



Which Country Plans to "Take Control of Its Own Food Bowl"?  

Greetings from the bitter cold Midwest! It’s about -20 F with the wind chill and my twins have been off school for several days. It’s a sad day for an 11-year-old when you don’t have school, but Mom says it’s too cold to go outside and play in the huge pile of snow in the backyard. : )

Recently, my colleague attended the Oxford Farming Conference held in Oxford, England. Irish Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said the global agriculture sector needs a science-based approach to intensification of food production.

Mr Coveney said because of a growing global population and growing urbanization, there will be an increased need for protein and the world will need to find new ways to meet this growing demand.

  • By 2030 there will be a 50 per cent increase in food demand in volume.
  • By 2050 the demand will have increased by 70 per cent.
  • We will need to produce an additional 1 billion tonnes of extra cereals from struggling resources and 200 million tonnes more meat between now and 2050.
  • We will have to find 50 per cent more water to produce the extra food,
  • Most of this increase will have to be met over the next two decades with less agricultural land.

The consequences of doing nothing will be conflict and competition on an international scale, he said. The farming sector has to embrace approaches which involve new science and new technology.

“And this part of the world has to give the leadership,” Mr Coveney said. “It is about a global challenge and an extraordinary global opportunity.”

In other news… I ended last week with a bit about China’s annual release of its Number One document outlining their priorities and plans for the coming year. The document said improving the national food security system is at the top of the reform list not just for 2014 but for the next several years.

“Taking good control of its own bowl is a fundamental principle the government must stick to over a long period of time,” the No 1 document said.

Domestic grain production is key and China should spare no efforts to promote  production and try to constantly raise production capacity, according to the No 1 document. The government set a minimum line of 1.8 billion mu (120 million hectares) of arable land to ensure food security.

China’s arable land totals 2.03 billion mu in 2012, according to a Xinhua News. However, the actual available arable land was only slightly above the government’s red-line after deducting land arranged for forest and pasture restoration or land deemed not suitable for farming because of pollution.

So the question is: does China really have enough farmable land to meet its food and feed needs and ensure its food security?

Have a great week!


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