Wise words from Hilary Benn:

Wise words from Hilary Benn Let’s switch to sustainable farming The world needs a new “fair food” agreement and more reliance on sustainable farming systems to meet the twin challenges of starvation and climate change. That was the central message from Defra Secretary of State Hilary Benn in a speech to the Fabian Society in London. “By 2050 there will be nine billion of us living on this small and fragile planet. And the question is: do we have the capacity to feed the equivalent of another two Chinas? Global food production will need to double just to meet demand. We have the knowledge and the technology to do this, as things stand, but the perfect storm of climate change, environmental degradation and water and oil scarcity, threatens our ability to succeed.” And as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation warns that recent food price rises have pushed an additional 40 million people towards starvation, Mr Benn questioned the inequalities of food supply and food security around the globe. “Take the new Klondike land rush we are seeing right now in Africa. Is this the right way to ensure a fair distribution of such a precious resource? Will these deals be fair to the countries involved? What about countries that can’t afford to ‘buy’ more land? “Or take export bans, or failures in distribution, or unfair markets. All of these things require action globally, and a new approach…we need to look at how we can build on the work of the World Food Organisation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and others to create a kind of new Kyoto – a global agreement to secure the future of our food.” And he concluded – “British agriculture has led the world on many occasions in the past, and we need it to do so again on sustainable agriculture… We need to move from using ancient sunlight locked up in fossil fuels to grow food, to using today’s sunlight. It’s about smarter use of fertilisers. Tractors powered from renewable sources. Asking science what it can contribute in the form of new crops and technologies.” ends

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