Experts question wisdom that more food means less hunger
Increasing food production through intensive farming will not necessarily end world hunger, experts said on Thursday in a finding that flies in the face of established policy.
The United Nations has said countries must double the productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers by 2030 to eliminate hunger and ensure all people have access to food.
“The underlying assumption is that this creates food security on one hand and also improves the livelihoods of smallholders. But we really need to question that,” said Adrian Martin, a professor at Britain’s University of East Anglia.
One in nine people already do not have enough food and the world population is expected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050.
Martin, and a team of international researchers, reviewed 53 studies on intensive farming in low- and middle-income countries and found few benefits for poor farmers and the environment.
Intensive farming increases productivity through chemical fertilisers and pesticides, among other activities.
The group’s research, published in Nature Sustainability, found “scant evidence” of success and said such methods “rarely” lead to positive results.
“It surprised me how few examples we found that were really positive,” Martin told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview.