By Jesus Madrazo
Vice President, Corporate Engagement
Chairman, Global Harvest Initiative Board of Directors
We’ve long known that farmers must produce nearly double as much food, fiber and fuel to meet the needs of 9 billion people by 2050. And as they also face the increasing impacts of climate change – drought, flooding, heat, and pests – it’s critical that we help them meet these challenges while also protecting our earth for generations to come.
Today, this need is underscored by the Global Harvest Initiative’s 5th annual Global Agriculture Productivity Report® (GAP Report), an annual benchmark of agricultural productivity measured against growth in global population and food demand. For the first time in several years, trends show the gap is getting bigger. This gap indicates that, for many reasons, we are not sustainably growing enough additional food to meet the expected demand by 2050.
In the midst of these circumstances, we are reminded of the power of each other to overcome global challenges. As chairman for the Global Harvest Initiative Board of Directors, I’m pleased to work alongside members from a range of organizations – including Elanco, John Deere, The Nature Conservancy, the Congressional Hunger Center and Water for Food, among many others. Together, we’re committed to exploring solutions that foster innovative technologies, trade and international development.
In Latin America – a rapidly emerging “breadbasket” – lives have already been changed for the better. A powerful example of this was displayed in the latest United Nations’ State of Food Insecurity in the World report, which for the first time, removed Brazil from the world hunger map. According to the report, the number of undernourished Brazilians has fallen by 80 percent in 10 years.
Having worked in Mexico, I’ve witnessed firsthand how private-sector collaborations can benefit farmers through access to education, training and adoption of new technologies. Latin American nations continue to harness the opportunity to improve food security by supporting policies and innovations in sustainable agriculture. And as the 2014 GAP report explains, the opportunity is now to expand similar efforts in countries like India, where malnourishment remains prevalent despite greater prosperity for many.
Each day, my colleagues and I push ourselves to find solutions to these burning questions. How can we positively impact the lives of so many by helping farmers grow more food, fiber and fuel? And equally as important, how can we do so in a manner that protects our water supply, soil and climate so that it’s abundantly healthy for generations to come?
The answers lie in many areas: data, precision agriculture, soil health management, traditional plant breeding techniques and GMOs. All of these tools and innovations are needed to sustainably advance food security across the world. Together, we can meet these challenges and create an accessible, balanced plate for more people. It’s time to advance a more inclusive conversation about agriculture and focus on outcome-driven actions.
The Global Harvest Initiative (GHI) is a private-sector voice for productivity growth throughout the agricultural value chain to sustainably meet the demands of a growing world. Since its establishment in 2009, GHI has been focused on the importance of agricultural productivity for global food security, and since 2010, GHI has released its signature GAP Report®, an annual benchmark of the global rate of agricultural productivity.