MEP for Ireland East, Liam Aylward, says we cannot continue to ignore the growing threat of food insecurity. Mr Aylward was speaking at the European Parliament’s ‘Global Challenges and Global Collaboration’ event today.
During his opening address at the seminar on ‘Food Security and Safety: A systems approach’ the Ireland East MEP commented: “Food security is the single greatest challenge facing society today. In recent years, hunger and malnutrition have increased; over 1 billion people are considered to be food insecure and this situation is set to worsen. Food security is the issue which will dominate politics and policy, dictate the use of resources, drive migration and shape the future of this planet.”
Mr Aylward added that by the year 2050, the world will need 70% more food than it produces today to feed a global population of over 9 billion people.
“Across the world, agriculture faces the twin challenges of keeping pace with population growth and increasing food demand, it is being done under increasing resource and environmental pressures. This only increases the need for new solutions to maintain the quality of the food as well as its security from farm to fork.”
Addressing the need for new solutions, the Ireland East MEP identified food waste as an area where immediate action could be taken across the food supply chain and where both industry and citizens can make a difference.
“It is outrageous that millions of tonnes of perfectly fine food are wasted each year while an estimated 79 million people in the EU live beneath the poverty line and around 16 million depend on food aid from charitable institutions.”
Mr Aylward also highlighted the integral role that science and innovation will play in ensuring that agriculture can meet the demand for food.
“Research and innovation are key to meeting the challenge of food security in increasing production while using less resources; this coupled with the promotion of professional training, access to education, knowledge transfer and the exchange of best practice in the farming sector should be the template for agriculture moving forward and should be at the heart of the CAP.”
The Ireland East MEP will be debating and voting on the reform of the CAP during the European Parliament Plenary session in Strasbourg on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. This will be a key vote in the reform process.