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The Coming Famine : risks and opportunities for global food security Julian Cribb FTSE Nuffield International Conference Adelaide, September 30, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "The Coming Famine : risks and opportunities for global food security Julian Cribb FTSE Nuffield International Conference Adelaide, September 30, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Coming Famine : risks and opportunities for global food security Julian Cribb FTSE Nuffield International Conference Adelaide, September 30, 2011

2 Food demand doubles by 2060s Global food demand

3 A ‘wicked’ problem.... DEMAND: 242,000 more people every day More babies + longer lives Population >10-11 bn Food demand soars in emerging economies >600 petacalories/day Total food demand to double by 2060s CONSTRAINTS: ‘Peak water’ ‘Peak land’ ‘Peak oil’ ‘Peak P’ ‘Peak fish’ ‘R&D drought’ ‘Capital drought’ ‘Climate extinction’

4 Peak water Disappearing rivers Vanishing lakes Groundwater mining Shrinking glaciers “Current estimates indicate we will not have enough water to feed ourselves in 25 years time...” – Colin Chartres, IWMI

5 Food embodies water... Total human water use: 7450 cubic kms We each use 1240t/yr In a lifetime, we use: 100,000 tonnes

6 Peak Land : % of the world’s land is being lost each year.  Peak land: FAO 24% of the world’s land is now degraded Area per person

7 Megacities: mega-risks By billion will live in cities Total urban area = China Urban water use 2800 cu kms Cities cannot feed themselves By

8 Nutrients are finite… Nutrient  Nutrientpollution Peak phosphorus   World P reserves

9 The Great Waste  Food wasted by avg. family in a month. (USDA)

10 Peak Oil Peak oil: 2006 Algae farms for biodiesel? Food & oil prices are in lockstep

11 Peak fish: 2004 “The maximum wild capture fishery potential from the world’s oceans has probably been reached.” - FAO

12 Climate instability  4x more drought Global soil moisture forecast  Scientific consensus: 15-25% less food

13 Knowledge drought  R&D stagnation

14 Capital drought Doubling food production requires $90bn+ a year for 50 years: FAO Declining market power of farmers due to supply chain globalisation Displacement of > 1.5 billion small farmers > Need to rethink the economics of agriculture > need to change the consumer signal to encourage new investment, sustainable systems, conservation of land, water, crops etc

15 The food challenge Double global food output with: - half the present fresh water - far less land - no fossil fuels (eventually) - scarce and very costly fertilisers - less technology - insufficient investment - more drought, heat & floods.

16 Future conflicts UK Ministry of Defence threat assessment

17 Government failures ▲ Egypt’s regime change began with food price protests Food prices peak twice in three years. The ‘Coming Famine’ is a succession of shocks 

18 Migrant tsunami Each year: Refugees - 43m Migrants - 205m

19 Big challenges = Huge opportunities ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’

20 Solutions Solutions 1: reinvent food Reinvent farming & food systems : sustainable, low-input eco-farming Reinvent the global diet: kills fewer people, damages less planet Reinvent cities: to recycle water, nutrients, energy

21 Solutions 2 Double food R&D to $80bn globally a year (from $1.6 Tr weapons’ spend) Invest $80bn to share the food knowledge among farmers, cooks, consumers Invest $90bn+ a year in new farm & grazing systems End waste: recycle all organic waste and water into new food & resource industries Educate people to respect and value food.

22 Urban farming

23 Biocultures

24 New diet: 23,000 edible plants

25 Rehydrate, revegetate, recarbonise

26 Solutions: A Food Year A Food Year in every junior school on the planet Teach new respect for food: how to eat for health and sustainability OR ?

27 Averting the Coming Famine Develop eco-farming: more food with less water, energy, soil, chemicals Design diets for health and sustainability Create cities that recycle water, nutrients into novel food systems Inspire civilisation with a new ethos and respect for food Reward farmers for their stewardship of the Earth’s resources.

28 Debate global food security on: Thank you “The Coming Famine” is published by the University of California Press and CSIRO Publishing. It was supported by the Crawford Fund and Land & Water Australia. https://twitter.com/#!/ComingFamine Follow The WorldFood Daily on


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