The importance of food security has been acknowledged in the recipient of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize :
The need for international solidarity and multilateral cooperation is more conspicuous than ever. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020 to the World Food Programme (WFP) for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.
The World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation addressing hunger and promoting food security. In 2019, the WFP provided assistance to close to 100 million people in 88 countries who are victims of acute food insecurity and hunger. In 2015, eradicating hunger was adopted as one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The WFP is the UN’s primary instrument for realising this goal. In recent years, the situation has taken a negative turn. In 2019, 135 million people suffered from acute hunger, the highest number in many years. Most of the increase was caused by war and armed conflict.
The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to a strong upsurge in the number of victims of hunger in the world. . .
Food insecurity is not a problem that is peculiar to the developing world. The growing demand for food banks and the need to feed children at school are evidence that hunger is a problem in New Zealand too.
Food security ought to be the prime concern of every government.
This was recognised in the Paris Accord which stated that reducing carbon emissions should not come at the expense of food production.
Too many environmentalists and politicians, forget this with their campaigns against farming as Marcus Holtkoetter writes:
The European Commission has a plan to eliminate modern farming in Europe.
The details emerged last month, as part of a “European Green Deal” announced late last year that calls for the continent to become “climate neutral” by 2050.
The commission speaks of “turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities.” It also talks about “making the transition just and inclusive for all.”
It should have added three words: “except for farmers.”That’s because the EU Commission just released its “Farm to Fork” strategy, which is the agricultural portion of the European Green Deal. It announces a series of unrealistic goals: In the next decade, farmers like me are supposed to slash our use of crop-protection products by half, cut our application of fertilizer by 20 percent, and transform a quarter of total farmland into organic production.
None of this, of course, is supposed to disrupt anybody’s dinner.
Europeans are blessed to live in a well-fed society. We have stable governments, reliable infrastructure, and advanced economies. We also have some of the best farmland in the world, with good soil and strong yields, year after year. Through intensive farming, we achieve excellent results-and we don’t face the problems of hunger and malnutrition that plague less fortunate people in other societies.
What the European Commission now proposes, essentially, is smaller harvests. For consumers, this will lead directly to one thing: Higher prices. Food will cost more.
There’s also a deeper problem. How are farmers supposed to make a living when we’re growing fewer crops and selling less food? The commission fails to consider one of the most likely results of its misbegotten approach to agriculture: When farmers can’t turn a profit, they’ll quit farming.
If that happens, the smaller harvests will shrink even further.
This defies what the commission says is its major goal, which is to make “the EU’s economy sustainable.” It needs to understand that there is no such thing as economic sustainability without a sustainable economy.
It also raises the question of where our food will come from, if it doesn’t come from our own farms. We could always import more food from other places. Global trade already is an essential feature of food production. We should encourage more of it.
Yet the European Green Deal will lead to substandard farming in places with less productive farmland. This may help fill bellies in a Europe that has fewer farmers. It may even salve the consciences of activists and bureaucrats in Brussels. It certainly won’t help the climate.
Our goal should be to grow more food on less land. Yet the EU’s present approach, driven by ideology rather than science, will lead to growing less food on more land.
What’s “green” about that?
There is nothing green about that, just as there is nothing green about the anti-farming measures here which don’t appreciate how efficient New Zealand food production is; the impact on food supply, and price, if production is cut and the environmental cost if reductions in production here are replaced by increases in production in other much less efficient places.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has recognised the importance of food security, and the dangers posed to world peace by food insecurity.
Hunger can cause wars and those who put the environment before food should understand there’s nothing green about wars.