tv Inside Story Al Jazeera November 9, 2013 11:30am-12:01pm EST
inside story is next. go to our website www.aljazeera.com. thanks for your time. story." >> hello, today there are nearly a billion people who don't have enough to eat or who face food insecurity. by 2050 with 9 billion people in the world, the climate change and challenges will multi my, my. tonight what is being done and tonight what can be done to feed the plant. climate change is expected to change many things but a particular threat comes to the food we grow. projections suggest global food productions could decline.
this is according to a summary for the u.n.'s governmental panel of climate change. the next report is due out in march. the next report is expected to show how need for food will rise rise. bankruptcy among farmers from water shortages and other disruptions. infrastructure and ecosystem failures from extreme weather and flooding caused by rising sea levels. and heat waves which can spread to countries around the world. these trends and more provide backdrop as these food experts met. >> we have a daunting task ahead of us. today we have about 1 billion people who are suffering from malnutrition, and we talk about the fact that we're growing community.
we're going to have 9.7 billion people on the earth. what is required we have to produce 70% more food than we have today. that eternal won't come easy. >> attendees range from ncos to ngos. one area of focus innovation the usa u.s. is employing now to feed the planet . >> roger shaw, for international development cited new crops and new technologies that are making a difference. >> after a number of years of persistent focus feed the nurture reaches 7 million farmers in more than 19 countries around the world. >> since the inception of the feed the future program in 2009 the agency has focused on encouraging innovations with populations with limited resources.
>> these kinds of new science-based products including new tradition butter product that we're distributing to every family and products that we're delivering to families in the horn of africa will very rapidly resuscitate children. it is why during famine and crisis that it used to be the case that 21% of acutely malnourished children would die, today that is down under 5%. >> reporter: food experts know they're racing the clock. more people and more demand at a time of climate change that could potentially mean less food. and joining us to discuss food security in a world of changing climate, editor of chief of food, and author of the book "the perfect love" renewing diversity in the bread we eat. and in dallas, julie,
dane, director of policy , dwayne, i want to talk with you. this issue of a rapidly warming planet. it says that we could be seeing 2% per decade in declines of food production as demand goes up 14%. already we're not feeding the people who need to be fed. what does this mean? >> well, it signals that we have very big challenges in front of us for food production and hunger in coming decades. so it's a call to action . >> we're going to talk about solutions and innovations, things we're doing to anticipate. but let me ask you from the outset can we keep up with that kind of trend? >> i think so.
>> projecting current trends you have this adversity but there is a lot we can do to solve the problem. >> let's go into what this report means because it's very serious, and it suggests that by no means will all parts of the planet be affected equally. some are going to be hit much harder than others. >> right, well, there is going to be winners and there's going to be losers. different effects in different areas. south asia, india and those regions with 260 million people. they account for 30% of the world's mall nourish and they depend on wheat as their main source of nutrition. 50% of the wheat crop is going to be stressed by climate change, by heat. there is a question of how do you feed this population that's already
hurting. >> sub-sahara africa, it's going to get hotter, dryer, what happens? >> correct. that's going to be another real challenge. there will have to be innovations on the ground and better technologies to bring up food production. but you also have winters winners like in canada when it begins to warm up, and they're able to keep up with it. >> this is not a challenge that your father had to confront, this idea of a rapidly warming planet with all the impacts. let's ask you for your response. >> well, i think the great thing about this report is it brings climate change, innovation and
technology to the forefront in order to address what we have in climate change. we're going to have to have technology, we're going to have to finally accept that gmos are something that we're going to have to use. we need drought-tolerant crops. we need saline - tolerant crops and things that we'll have to address with technology. and i believe technology is part of the answer. >> these words that are kicked around a lot, technology, innovation. when you're talking about technology and innovation in agriculture, are you just talking about bio technology in agriculture? >> no, i'm talking about the whole gamut. if you look at for instance, if we were to talk about technology transfer it could be as simple as basic tools that farmers need. anything on the low tech to high tech.
i always do emphasize gmos because there is such a block on that, especially in the african country. we tend to talk more about that, but really when you're addressing innovation and technology all across the chain there is a lot going on with hybrid wheat right now. it was mentioned last week at the summit, and we need to be working on innovation and service in hybrid and conventional seed as well as genetic modification. it's not just the gmo but across the board that we need to invest in research and innovation to address climate change. part of the thing is that we don't know where climate change is going to take us so we feed to keep the pipeline of research moving forward. >> and more to discuss there. we'll take a quick break and then continue this conversation in just a minute.
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we now have the capacity to change those things in this hotter, drier world. how much do you make of those changes and how much do they offer? >> there is a lot of promise in that innovation. farmers are very innovative. they experiment all the time. one of the most interesting and powerful innovations happens from farmers themselves. sometimes we get fixated on technology and this debate around gmos and really if you spend time with farmers they're doing experimenttation of their own. some of the very low tech, simple things, basic storage or in africa only 5% of farmland is irrigated. >> julia, i've seen a great video of irrigation where it's
simple little tubes and drip, drip, drip opposed to no irrigation or water is wasted because it's evaporated before it gets to the crop, is that what you mean by innovation? something that it can need the planet. >> that's something that we need to address and use. it's the extension problem getting the methods of how to use drip irrigation to the farmers and we need to address that especially in sub i sub-saa africa. another technology that is low tech we know how to do it we just need to bring it across is post harvest. we have a wasteful dimension here in the western world, but the post harvest loss in the developing world is a huge problem and we know the technology to use it. it's just applying it and getting it out to the farmers is one of our biggest issues.
>> sam, at the summit that julie mentioned earlier at george washington university we heard from roger shaw u.s. administrator, and the united states is very active in trying to feed the world. what are the prospects of that funding streams? are we doing enough? >> well, i think there is a shortage of spending in agricultural research around the world. i think there can be more. and i think the thing that is a bit of a concern about the u.s. is that the solutions can't always come from the u.s. there can be problems when we export too much food to countries and provide it for free and undermine the farmers in those countries. but i want to get back to this point of innovation. i think an important thing to remember is that there is no silver bullet. there is not going to be one solution to these issues. it really has to be tackled on a number of fronts. for example, i was in tam bea a couple of years ago.
it had a record corn surplus and people were starving. >> it had a record corn surplus and people were starving? >> hows with that possible? >> the grain was not get together people who needed it. it was rotting in warehouses and being eaten by mice. there are a lot of elements of infrastructure, distribution, you know, economics. >> how do you fix that? >> well, that could be an issue of trade. it can be an issue of subsidies. a number of different things. >> glen, u.s. role? >> i would like to talk about the u.s. role, but to bring that point out a little bit more, why do people starve to death? why do they face famine? it's often not because there is not food fable but people can't access it. we focus on food production as a solution to hunger but not why they can't get it. >> i'm glad you raised that because i want to lean on that for a second.
because there are people who say this food production conversation is wrong. it's reflecting agri-business and big money, and we should be thinking about different systems and different ways of going about it. have we got the discussion wrong when we talk about this extra production that we're going to need in the world? >> it's not wrong but it's not sufficient. we probably do need to increase global production but where and how we produce it, and who produces it. if we continue to produce huge surpluses in the u.s. there is no guarantee that hungry people in africa are going to get it. right now we're burning a lot of corn in our gas tanks. it's not that we lack food, but it's that poor people can't access it. >> julie, if you're going to change the way people access their food and change the way food it wasted i and lost in the fields and in silos in storage, what are you going to do? >> i think it's easy. our system was built on the u.s.
infrastructure of our highways. if we could just get basic roads within developing countries, especially sub-sahara africa and asia, that would be a quick fix. that's something that my grandfather always railed about, we have to have the infrastructure. you to have roads so farmers can get their products to market and vice versa, and so i would start with roads. >> sam, one of the things that the united states has been doing through the millennium challenge corporation, others have been trying to do just that, build the infrastructure. but this is an enormous task. the united states won't have the money and resources to lead the way and pave the planet so people can get the food they need? >> it's really an economic development issue and its siphoning resources in countries to the right areas. and i think this is one, it's infrastructure. if you think about food waste accounting for 40% of the food
in the world, when you're talking about doubling food production and 40% is wasted, and you have a huge boon just by dealing with the waste issue. >> these great partnerships that are supposed to involve ngos, government, businesses, pepsi, monsanto whoever it is, are they supposed to hold hands, sing kumbaya and pave roads and make these problems go away, what are we talking about when we talk about partnerships. >> partnerships is leverages public resources with private resources. it's important to do that and align the interests, but there is no substitute for public sector spending. there is no substitute in governments being involved. >> you're talking about governments spending more when they have less to spend. >> it's not that much money. right now we spend a pittance on agriculture development around the world.
>> and welcome back to inside story. we're talking about food security around the world, climate change and how that makes things worse. with us, sam from the food environment report in dallas. and julie with international agriculture, and dwayne, i want to come back to you. we said we would talk about nutrition and we will, but before we leave this issue of how we feed the planet but we can't not talk about international strife, war, failed states, states with no governments. how do you fix the problem when you've got this human dimension superimposed on it. we make it worse. >> yes, it's true. a lot of reason for hunger around the world has very little to do with agriculture or even food. it has to do with human relations. governments purposely oppressing their own people.
there are solutions to hunger. hunger is fundamentally an economic problem and less much an issue of agriculture production. >> no one is going to repeal the laws of human nature. we're talking about 9 billion people, climate change. it's not like these conflicts are going to go away. are there plans, ideas, innovations to overcome those obstacles. >> one of the things we should be doing is listen to what poor people are saying about their own situations and trying to support them in their goals. a lot of times we come in with a very donor-driven, supply-driven thing. we have food in this country and we send it to other countries, and that's what we can do. but farmers in those countries can produce food and supply their own needs if we give them help to do "n" doing so. >> the have's and have too much, how do you see that? >> well, it's th not only the question of having too much, you
have the overfed and under nourished. we have this exploding obesity epidemic in the u.s. and we're getting too much of the wrong kinds of foods. so it's a question of how does that begin to shift so that food becomes more nourishing. >> julie you were making comments to the series of photos you've seen online. >> yes, it was all over facebook and twitter the past few weeks. i believe it was eight photos of families from all over the world. so you had some from africa. you had some from asia. you had the united states, you had england and you had mexico. and it was interesting as you came west to see where the processed food and the sugary drinks came in. it was an interesting look at the the calorie intake and it wasn't a pretty picture of the west. >> what we learn is producing food cheaply has been the
underlying goal of the global food system for decades but right now we produce empty calories very cheaply but that does not achieve good nutrition. we need to re-establish the evaluation. good food should be cheaper than bad food. but we have very few mechanisms to make that happen. >> you have economics driving dg that. b, you have human tastes. they want to buy potato chips before rutabagas. how do you make those changes. >> we're in the early stages right now. we have mayor bloomberg trying to stop trans fats and big sodas. >> sam a headline from the "new york times," fda ruling would all but eliminate trans fats. is this something that needs to come from the federal government and government around the world. >> well, if trans fats are unhealthy and make people sick
it needs to come from government. that's the role of government. but you know, the whole issue of the type of food we eat and empty calories, you know, it's not just a question of people's tastes as well but it's a question of government policies that promote certain foods and put money in certain sectors that make food cheap. when you're on a low-income budget you're going to go for the most calories that are the cheapest. and those are often unhealthy food choices. >> we want to talk about innovations and solutions and leave it on a healthy note. julie, as you think about the challenge ahead, what are one or two innovations that you see out there that hold the most hope and prospect for progress in the planet? >> well, i'm going to quickly say i think we need to build up the next generation. i think the innovations, the out of box think something what is
going to be essential to solve this problem. they're going to have to deal with what we're going to do in 2050, so we need to hook to them and give them support regarding innovation. >> sam? >> i think there has to be more focus as we discussed on the types of foods we eat, and there has to be, you know, greater research, greater--looking into how to promote more nourishing foods. >> so more information, more research. >> more information, more research, and frankly a shift in government subsidies to healthier foods. >> your favorite innovations? >> i think there is a lot of innovation out there, but there is no market for it. there is very few donors and funders who are picking it up and taking it to scale. we've seen an abandonment of the agriculture sector by many governments around the world. there are great ideas and solutions but there is not the public support to take them to
scale and make them marketable. >> we need more public pressure and political pressure to get this done. do you see that happening? >> it's happening. >> that is all the time we have for tonight. monday you will have a new host sitting in this chair, ray suarez joins the team here in washington. now i've known ray for more than 30 years, and i can assure you you're going to be in good hands. ray is a tremendous journalist and has a you'rous mind, and boy can he ask questions. i want to go to libby casey for her great work on "inside story" since the program relaunched on the new al jazeera america network. for all of us here, thanks for watching, good night.
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