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Improve Investment In Agriculture To Meet Growing Demands

Extreme weather is forcing grain and meat prices to rise, and food production will have to increase about 60 percent over the next 40 years to meet a growing world population, but “there are solutions to these daunting problems,” Catherine Bertini, former director of the U.N. World Food Programme and the 2003 World Food Prize laureate, and Dan Glickman, former secretary of agriculture, write in a Politico opinion piece. The authors, co-chairs of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Global Agricultural Development Initiative, say that in order to address these issues, “we should increase support for the agricultural researchers, in the U.S. and around the world, who are developing remarkable new drought and flood tolerant crop varieties”; make better use of arable land, especially in Africa; provide “farmers access to improved seeds, pesticides and fertilizers to boost productivity”; improve post-harvest infrastructure, including storage facilities; and “equip those working in agriculture, especially women, with the know-how to use newer technologies.”

“International leaders are increasingly aware of the importance and potential of raising productivity through these solutions,” Bertini and Glickman write, noting, “The U.S. government, the G8 and the G20 have put global food security high on their agendas in the past few years.” They add, “But we need to continue to upgrade our investments and work with policymakers and private enterprises around the world to support market-oriented and environmentally sustainable farming that can jump-start economic growth in developing countries, lift millions out of poverty and increase global agricultural production” (8/7).