Right now, all the focus for increasing crop yields is centered on one method: Genetically modifying crops to make them resistant to pesticides and herbicides. In this model of farming, haste makes waste. Instead of working with the land, we poison it instead with chemicals like glyphosate. Even the World Health Organization now admits that popular herbicide glyphosate is a carcinogen. Year after year, the food on our plate becomes more saturated with cancer-causing chemicals but we’re perpetually told that GMOs are saving the world.
That’s all about to change, however, as we start to learn the importance of growing a diverse selection of food in healthier soils to avoid disease and yes, increase food abundance! As we start to relearn the principle of personal responsibility in food production, we get back to respecting the land and making good use of our resources.
A new report finds that on a large scale, major investments in infrastructure can pave the way for ending hunger. For developing nations, billion dollar investments in electricity and transportation can curb widespread food waste that occurs after harvest. The United Nations believes poverty can be halved by 2030 if at least $239 billion can be invested over the next 15 years to promote better infrastructure in developing nations. These improvements include connecting roads and railways with farms and markets. Increasing access to electricity can drastically improve cold storage, reducing spoilage. They estimate that $3.1 trillion in food resources can be saved from spoilage if proper cold storage needs are met in the next 15 years.
The report also finds that 25 percent of all food harvested today is currently being wasted. Feeding growing populations may be as simple as making use of the food that’s already harvested. The biotech industry likes to tell the lie that GMOs are the answer for feeding the world. In actuality, feeding the world begins with cutting the waste already present. Feeding the world also requires a shift away from chemical based GMO agriculture because this model only profits corporations that manufacture pesticides and herbicides which ultimately just make people sicker.
The focus must be on building infrastructure and connecting farmers to resources in the most efficient manner, not controlling the seed and chemical market.
“In a world where currently up to 900 million people are chronically malnourished, reducing post-harvest losses could play a significant role in meeting the coming challenge,” wrote Christopher Barrett, a reviewer at Cornell University.
In essence, personal responsibility must return in order for hunger and malnutrition to end in the world. This starts in every person’s backyard. This starts with the decisions we make when buying food at the grocery store. From a policy standpoint, this starts with connecting farmers and resources instead of pushing GMOs and subsidizing them.
Mark Rosegrant, lead author and a director of the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, says that governments and investors are overlooking basic infrastructure advancements that would cut waste across the board, from rice fields, to cattle ranches. “The hope is to bring it (infrastructure) to the forefront,” he told Reuters.
Across the board, improving harvesting techniques, increasing cold storage to prevent rot, and reducing distance traveled from farm to market could literally feed a billion more people in the world, without the absurd need to introduce more GMOs. If we worked more sensibly with our resources and more efficiently with the technologies we have, then the whole world can be fed nutrient rich foods. Nations that would benefit the most right off the bat would Africa, Latin America and Asia.
If the growing populations are going to progress into the future, then the dominance of monoculture, including the ravaging of soil nutrition and the prevalence of processed foods must fade away into the bowels of history. If people plan on surviving the upcoming century, then working together to improve food system infrastructure must come first, and it must replace the quest for agricultural control and the lucrative business of patenting GMO seeds and selling chemicals to be sprayed on the food.
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