Harvest 2050 Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Global Harvest Initiative’

New Report Finds $90B Annual Agricultural Investment Gap

JUNE 27, 2011

Enhanced Private Sector Involvement Required To Meet Needs of 9 Billion By 2050

On June 27, the Global Harvest Initiative (GHI) released its final policy issue brief which estimates a $90 billion annual agricultural investment gap and outlines the significant role of the private sector in closing this gap and addressing global food security.

The policy issue brief, “Enhancing Private Sector Involvement in Agriculture and Rural Infrastructure Development,” points to the private sector as one of the key influencers in creating economic growth, raising global incomes, and feeding a population anticipated to reach nine billion people by 2050.

“With a $90 billion annual investment gap in the agricultural sector of developing countries, the task of doubling agricultural productivity in 40 years is a formidable one,” said Dr. William G. Lesher, Executive Director of the Global Harvest Initiative. “There are simply not enough resources in either developed or developing nations to bridge this sizable gap, so enhanced private sector involvement is the key to improving agricultural and rural development to ensure that the world’s future agricultural needs are met.”

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Global Harvest Initiative Calls For The Removal of Trade Barriers in Policy Paper Addressing Global Hunger and Food Security

MAY 09, 2011

On May 9, the Global Harvest Initiative published the second of five issue briefs outlining policies to sustainably increase the rate of agricultural productivity and address hunger and food security in anticipation of a global population surge to over nine billion people by 2050.

The issue brief, “Removing Barriers to Global and Regional Trade in Agriculture,” highlights the critical importance of improving food and agricultural trade flows to counter the impact on agricultural supply resulting from changing weather patterns, urban population shifts, and limitations of water, land and inputs, among other factors.

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MarketWatch™ Reporter Ian Berry on Just Released GHI Research Issue Brief

APRIL 21, 2011

MarketWatch™ agribusiness reporter Ian Berry wrote a brief article (excerpts below) summarizing the just released GHI issue brief on the need for improved research funding, structure and collaboration in order to increase the rate of agricultural productivity to double agricultural output in the next 40 years.

Berry outlined a few key elements from the issue brief in his summary.

Here are a few important details that could be added to build on to the story:

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Hunger, Food Security Focus of Just Released Global Harvest Initiative Issue Brief

APRIL 20, 2011

On April 20, the Global Harvest Initiative (GHI) released the first of five policy issue briefs bringing a global focus to meeting the agricultural needs of a rapidly growing global population by increasing the rate of agricultural productivity; a recent GHI report suggests that the rate of agricultural productivity must increase at a minimum of 25 percent per year to meet future demand and double output over the next 40 years.

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Ag Day 2011 – An Opportunity for New Leadership in Agriculture

MARCH 08, 2011

By: Dr. William Lesher, Executive Director of Global Harvest Initiative

*This post originally appeared in the official Ag Day blog on February 28, 2011.

We can all learn from the impressive vision of a small group of farmers that came together in 1928 and formed the Future Farmers of America and their goal of preparing future generations to address the challenges of a growing population, roughly two billion at that time.

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GAP Report™ Media Coverage

OCTOBER 19, 2010
World Food Prize Logo

The October 13 event to launch the Global Harvest Initiative’s inaugural Global Agricultural Productivity Report™ and Global Agricultural Productivity Index™ brought together many experts and leaders from the agricultural industry. Below are a few select links to articles, as well as additional media coverage of Executive Director Bill Lesher resulting from the launch of the Gap Report™ at the 2010 World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa.

“Wal-Mart to boost buying from small and local farms” – Reuters – October 14, 2010

“Wal-Mart, they are a very big outfit. If they require their suppliers to meet sustainability requirements, that will have significant implications,” said Bill Lesher, executive director of the Global Harvest Initiative… “It will benefit large farmers, small farmers; it will be helpful to everyone.”

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Stanford Experts Find High-Yield Agriculture Slows Global Warming

AUGUST 06, 2010

According to a new study developed by researchers at Stanford University, advances in conventional agriculture have prevented massive amounts of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.

By reducing the amount of biomass burned and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions when forests or grasslands are cleared for farming, the researchers calculate that 590 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions have been avoided.

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World Food Prize Laureate

JUNE 18, 2010

The World Food Prize Laureate Announcement Ceremony awarded the 2010 Laureates, David Beckmann and Jo Luck, at the U.S. State Department this Wednesday. Beckmann and Luck are both known for their outstanding work and service to Bread for the World and Heifer International, two premiere philanthropic organizations fighting world-wide poverty and hunger.

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Earth Day a reminder of agriculture’s role in conservation

APRIL 21, 2010

Today is Earth Day. The Global Harvest Initiative and its partner companies and organizations are proud to celebrate and commemorate the significance of this day to millions of people around the world.

While it may be cliché - “every day is Earth Day for farmers” - and those of us engaged in agriculture. We love the land. We dedicate ourselves daily to conserving as much of it as possible, understanding that global agriculture - farmers - must produce more with less if are to feed the 9 billion people who are expected to inhabit the Earth in the year 2050.

I think Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson understood that 40 years ago when the first Earth Day recognition was celebrated on April 22, 1970.

Nelson wanted to focus public attention on pollution and environmental concerns. Today, people the world over - adults and kids - recognize the day with many national and international organizations, schools and governmental entities holding programs and events to remind us that we must protect this precious resource called Earth.

Joyce Lobeck, a staff writer for the Yuma Sun in Arizona, recently wrote an excellent piece about agriculture and Earth Day with an assessment that put it all into perspective regarding why farmers and ranchers take seriously their stewardship of the land.

… farmers and ranchers not only make a living for their families, they feed and clothe the growing population of the world while protecting the ecosystem and providing wildlife habitat.

Here’s what the Global Harvest Initiative believes about conservation:

We must minimize environmental degradation while meeting the global agricultural production needs of the future. Deforestation and use of fragile lands is simply not a viable option, so more will have to be grown on the existing land base using natural resources more efficiently. Much additional emphasis should be placed on irrigation and drought management, nutrient efficiencies and management, conservation tillage, and other actions that will improve water quality, reduce water use, and reduce greenhouse gases. These programs are important both in U.S. agriculture and throughout the rest of the world.

At the GHI, we recognize the enormity of the challenge faced by global agriculture in meeting the needs of our growing and more affluent population. Land, water and habitat constraints are tightening, as recognition grows of the critical need to protect these resources for future generations. Failure to meet these expectations sustainably has implications that transcend agriculture, with enormous ramifications for political stability in many parts of the world. But we believe that the challenge can be met and that much of the solution rests with agriculture’s ability to produce more with the same or fewer resources. That will not happen without collective stakeholder engagement and widespread significant innovation that leads to accelerated agricultural productivity growth and improved supply chain efficiency. If we mobilize as a world community can feed the world, and protect it at the same time.

Happy Earth Day!

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Freezing the footprint of food

APRIL 13, 2010

In a forward-looking dissertation titled Agriculture from 2000 to 2050 - The Business As Usual Scenario, Dr. Jason Clay of the World Wildlife Fund effectively argues that the “business as usual” model for food production is not sustainable as the global population explodes over the next 40 years.

Dr. Clay, who presented his paper last month at the Global Harvest Initiative 2010 Symposium, Closing the Gap: Examining an Alternative Future, proposes freezing the footprint of food by intensifying, not expanding production.

It’s a compelling piece that also has been published in GHI’s book Benefits of An Alternative Future. The most persuasive aspect of Dr. Clay’s thesis is that it offers solutions for how we can feed the 9 billion people who will inhabit the Earth in 2050, while at the same time recognizing that we must be able to do in a way that sustains the planet. In other words, Dr. Clay urges that we need to do more with less impact on land and water resources.

Consider this excerpt from Dr. Clay’s paper:

We live on a single planet with finite resources. Today, we’re living at the level of 1.3 planets according to the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Index. Translated: We are “eating” the planet-we are consuming the planet’s principle rather than living off its interest. And that’s today; by 2050, there will be nine billion people and on average they will consume twice as much. So the question is: How do we feed a larger population globally and maintain the planet? We must freeze the footprint of food. And, at the same time we must begin to do more with less, while restoring the planet. The math is simple. On a finite planet, population times how much each of us consumes must equal the Earth’s carrying capacity. Exceed that, and we degrade the planet not only for our generation, but for our children and our grandchildren.

In spelling out the consequences of continuing the business as usual scenario, Dr. Clay goes on to write:

For the past 50 years, we have expanded food production by converting natural habitat at the rate of 0.4 percent per year. In just the past decade - as developing countries such as China and India are hitting their economic strides - the rate has risen to 0.6 percent annually. This is occurring at a time when many might expect an increase in the intensity of production, rather than simple expansion.

If we assume the business as usual case for expanding into natural habitat, there will be very little natural habitat left by 2050. By that time, we will have 3 billion more people with 2.9 times as much income, consuming twice as much. In fact, the research suggests that in developing countries incomes are likely to increase more than five-fold by 2050. Moreover, by 2050, more people will live in cities (more than are alive today). If they behave like the urban residents of today, they will depend on others for virtually all their food. If we are to maintain a living planet for our grandchildren, then we will need to Freeze the Footprint of Food. We need more from less.

To freeze the footprint of food, we need smart policies, innovative ideas and new technologies. We must intensify food production rather than expand it…

Dr. Clay is right-on in his insightful assessment, particularly as it relates to intensifying agricultural production, while sustaining the planet. The Global Harvest Initiative also believes that much of the solution rests with agriculture’s ability to produce more with the same or fewer resources. The ability to meet the food needs of nine billion people in the year 2050 rests largely on utilizing shared ideas and innovations that will lead to accelerated agricultural productivity growth and improved supply chain efficiency. Working together we can get there; we must get there.

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