Burgeoning Billions: The Arithmetic of Food Security
In 1968, when Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb predicting a substantial increase in deaths due to famine, he gazed out at a planet with roughly 3.5 billion people, half the number of today. Having now surpassed 7 billion, experts say we will add two billion more by mid-century.
To put things in perspective, it was not long ago that a child with a rare and profound talent was said to be “one in a million.” Today, a one-in-a-million child born in just one country, China, with its 1.3 billion citizens, would have to queue behind more than 1,300 other people.
Focus on Food
Chief among those worries is our collective ability to feed these people. In both technical and strategic fronts, DuPont is leading the effort to ensure that we will be able to nourish everyone.
One example is our exclusive sponsorship of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Food Security Index (GFSI). The GFSI is a first-of-its-kind benchmarking tool that examines the core issues of food affordability, availability, quality and safety and natural resources and resilience in 113 countries.
The Index is a unique gauge in that it accommodates shifting factors such as price and governmental policies to instantaneously assess food security. As such, it is a continually changing barometer of food security worldwide, not a once-a-year snapshot.
The latest report on the Index’s findings was published in September 2017. According to the EIU report, after four years of gains, food security declined this past year due to factors such as worsening political instability, rising migration and lower public-sector investment. Overall, more than 60 percent of countries tracked in the GFSI saw their score deteriorate last year.1
The report indicates that this deterioration may accordingly boost the cost of ending world hunger in 2030 by an estimated US$11 billion annually — including expenditures on agricultural R&D.2
The 2017 Index introduces a new tracking metric called Natural Resources & Resilience, which demonstrates the impact of climate-related and natural resource risks on overall food security.3 Denmark scored highest among all countries based on its approach to managing the risk of depleted natural resources and resilience.4 The United States ranked in the middle of the pack (44th), while the United Arab Emirates was ranked last (113th).
As the world rises to the challenges of food security in coming decades, DuPont will continue to play an active and significant role across the entire food value chain from farm to table.