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'Innovation, Markets, People, Political Leadership' Needed To Achieve Food Security

“Our global food security challenges are daunting: food price spikes and increasing food prices look set to continue unabated, around one billion are suffering from chronic hunger, and we must feed a growing population in the face of a wide range of adverse factors, including climate change,” but “I believe there is reason for optimism,” Sir Gordon Conway, professor of international development and agricultural impact at Imperial College London, writes in the Huffington Post U.K. “Impact” blog. “Yes we can feed the world, but only if we accept that agricultural development is the best route to achieving sustainable economic growth in developing countries, and achieve an agriculture that is highly productive, stable, resilient and equitable,” he continues, adding, “I believe there are four interconnected routes to achieving a food secure world: innovation, markets, people and political leadership.”

Global agriculture must include “a wide variety of technologies, where appropriate,” Conway writes, adding, “We also need to create and manage fair and efficient markets that link smallholders, as well as larger farms, to opportunities to increase their incomes.” He says people, from smallholder farmers to government officials, are critical to improving agriculture, and he writes, “To achieve sustainable food security, we also need to support an agriculture that contributes to ensuring people — particularly mothers and children — receive adequate nutrition.” Finally, “we need visionary and continuing political leadership to deliver on the above agenda at international, regional, national and local levels,” he states, noting this includes “honoring commitments” made through the G8, G20, or the African Union. “But I have no doubt that — in addition to political actions — we will also need all the commitment, knowledge, and ingenuity of every one of you to feed the world in a sustainable and equitable way,” he concludes (10/9).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.