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Global Food Security: Who Will Feed the Planet’s Growing Population?
24 May 2018
15:00—16:15
KEY CONCLUSIONS
The need for mankind in food is growing

Population of our planet is growing. <...> In the year 1960 the population of the planet was slightly over 3 billion people, now it’s 7.6 billion people, by 2030 we expect 8.6 billion and by 2050 about 10 billion people. We understand that it’s not only the number of people that will increase, but also the level of their incomes. The combination of these two factors means that we will need to increase the food supply by 50%, or even 100% compared to the current level — Charlotte Hebebrand, Director General, International Fertilizer Association (IFA) .

Agriculture professionals can meet the growing demand for food

When I look at the situation, I do not see a food problem. <...> If we look at what is growing faster: food production or population, we will see that food production is growing faster — Vadim Moshkovich, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Rusagro.

In the next 50 years, there will not be any significant problems with providing the food for the population. The question will be: how will it be redistributed? <...> At the moment, the possibilities of the Russian Federation and our farmers are not exhausted, we can double our production volumes within a short period, but does the market need that? — Anatoliy Kutsenko, Director, Department of Economics, Investment and Market Regulation at the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation..

Russia is one of the leading agricultural economies in the world

Russia has 10% of the world's arable land, 20% of the world's fresh water reserves and, if I am not mistaken, 58% of the world's chernozem. Undoubtedly, it is one of the world's leading agrarian powers, which today has taken a course towards the development of its agro-industrial sector and slowly but faithfully it is starting to work. Those cereal crops that we received over the past three years prove it — Mikhail Shchetinin, Chair, Federation Council Committee on Agriculture and Food Policy and Environmental Management.

The use of new technologies will increase the potential of the agricultural sector

Technologies become more sophisticated by the hour, and intelligent technologies, artificial intelligence get into the agricultural sector. If we can not utilize the potential that technologies bring into agriculture, then we will not be able to cope with the tasks we face — Theo de Jager, President, World Farmers' Organisation (WFO).

We need to make a significant leap by using the potential technologies provide us with. Technologies that exist now will allow us to get a fairly large crop from fairly small plots of land, only you need to know how to use those plots — Theo de Jager, President, World Farmers' Organisation (WFO).

Agriculture should be environmentally responsible

What is mineral fertilizers production industry facing today? The picture differs quite a bit. On one hand, in some regions producing certain mineral fertilizers is simply pointless: these are developed regions where the plants are not able to consume more, and if we keep fertilizing, we will cause some environmental damage — Dmitry Konyaev, Chief Executive Officer, URALCHEM JSC.

The well-being of farmers is key to sustainability of the agrarian sector

We, the workers of this industry, we, Bayer, we want agriculture to be sustainable. It means an agriculture, which brings profit to the farmer. We are talking about the value chain, so the first link in this chain should earn enough money to support themselves and their families. The work of the farmer should bring income and should provide the farmer with a decent life — Yves Picquet, Head of CropScience Division for Russia and CIS, Bayer.

The EEU is working to provide supply and demand balance in the agricultural sector

Fulfilling long-term integration agreements, our government created an alliance of the five states, an economic union whose main task is to achieve sustainable development of agricultural production and provide the population with food. <...> We consolidated our approaches concerning the balances of supply and demand — Sergey Sidorsky, Member of the Eurasian Economic Commission Board (Minister) in Charge of Industry and Agroindustrial Complex; Doctor of Technical Sciences, Honorary Professor, Belarusian State University of Transport.

ISSUES
Soil depletion and water shortage

Today, nearly one-third of all soils on the planet are depleted to at least medium or high degree. The Russian government is concerned about state of our soil, it takes part in the international programme on soil conservation. This is a big threat to the international agricultural community. The next big problem is the water shortages. On our planet, water is a very scarce resource — Charlotte Hebebrand, Director General, International Fertilizer Association (IFA) .

In the next 20 years, one third of the world's population will live in conditions of water scarcity — Achim Steiner, Administrator, The United Nations Development Programme.

Insufficient state support of farms

Farmers and agricultural workers (we are talking about small farmers here) produce the largest share of the world's food: it’s 70-75%, according to various estimates. However, today we can say that the policy in the field of agriculture doesn’t look up to them, but to large agricultural enterprises — Achim Steiner, Administrator, The United Nations Development Programme.

SOLUTIONS
Global level coordination to address food security problems

We must carefully look at the policies of the world's leading powers in the field of food, in maintaining the necessary soil conditions, in the development of modern technologies, in the development of modern agricultural technology. Today, we must not only think about our national security, we must think about the food security of the planet. If we do not tackle all together the global problems and global challenges that life poses for us today, then after a while we will face a problem that will affect each and every one of us — Mikhail Shchetinin, Chair, Federation Council Committee on Agriculture and Food Policy and Environmental Management.

Granting privileges and subsidies for farmers

You can imagine a more progressive system, when agricultural workers and farmers receive subsidies or tax breaks for supporting environmental sustainability of the natural environment of our planet — Achim Steiner, Administrator, The United Nations Development Programme.

We created an expert council. As part of this expert council, we are trying to correct the legislation so that the producers <...> do not have to pay VAT. Now, passing food to charity becomes comparable to selling — Victoria Krisko, Managing Director, FOODBANK RUS .

State participation in introducing agricultural sector innovations

Topics like the change in the structure of crop rotation toward more highly nutritious crops, more progressive cultures, gene modification are complex topic for a lengthy conversation. Nevertheless, gene modification allows plants to become more stress-resistant. Optimizing mineral nutrition, i.e. what and in what quantity to should fertilizers be supplied, is an increase in the efficiency of agriculture — Dmitry Konyaev, Chief Executive Officer, URALCHEM JSC.

We purchase a large number of seeds outside the union, so we agreed and adopted a powerful programme ... that in the next five years we will reach the level of the 1990s when we had large selection centres in our country — Sergey Sidorsky, Member of the Eurasian Economic Commission Board (Minister) in Charge of Industry and Agroindustrial Complex; Doctor of Technical Sciences, Honorary Professor, Belarusian State University of Transport.

Creating equal conditions for all market participants

Competition results in innovation, therefore it is extremely important that every market participant is treated equally, i.e. has equal access to the market, without any quotas and import barriers. The second pillar of sustainable agriculture is education, in other words training people how to use our products, learning what is a good agricultural practice, what exactly should be done to preserve soil fertility. <...> The ability to explain how to use all of this to everyone, including even the owners of the smallest of farms — Yves Picquet, Head of CropScience Division for Russia and CIS, Bayer.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS