(Originally published Oct. 17, 2013 – Des Moines Register) In the midst of many competing global priorities, the World Food Prize, held annually in Iowa, serves to remind us of the importance of ensuring global food and nutrition security. In the spirit of Norman E. Borlaug, the event brings together experts from many disciplines from around the world to support a common goal — improving the quality, quantity and availability of food across the world.
Never before has this goal been so important to the safety and security of our planet. By 2050, the globe will have 2.4 billion more mouths to feed, with the population exceeding 9½ billion. We must achieve this in the face of huge challenges, including limited resources (land and water), urbanization, climate change and volatile food prices.
Consider that we are not fully meeting the goal today with the over 7 billion people. Even with today’s abundance, nearly 1 billion people are undernourished and fully one-fourth of the world’s children will be stunted for the rest of their lives due to deficiencies of micronutrients. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies cost some 2 to 3 percent of the global gross domestic product.
The economic and human toll of hunger and malnutrition not only affects those countries that are food and nutrition insecure but the global economy as well. Productivity losses due to a malnourished workforce hamper countries’ ability to strengthen their economies and participate in international trade.
About the authors:
The DUPONT ADVISORY COMMITTEE on Agricultural Innovation and Productivity is a group of experts in global agriculture development, science, policy and economics. The committee includes former Sen. Tom Daschle; is a group of experts in global agriculture development, science, policy and economics. The committee includes former Sen. Tom Daschle (chair); Charlotte Hebebrand, director general of the International Fertilizer Industry Association; J.B. Penn, chief economist for Deere & Co.; Pedro Sanchez, director of the Agriculture and Food Security Center at the Earth Institute at Columbia University and World Food Prize laureate; Jo Luck, former president of Heifer International and World Food Prize laureate, and Jason Clay, senior vice president of market transformation at the World Wildlife Fund. Learn more about the Advisory Committee