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Food security: A critical global challenge

Wageningen UR Centre looks at the challenges of the global food security

Feeding the world’s population, now and in the future, is a great challenge. Despite overall sufficient food production at the moment, there are 925mn people who live in conditions of hunger. In order to feed the world’s population in 2050, it is estimated that food production should increase by 50-70 per cent. This is not only to feed the nine billion people that are estimated will live on our planet by then, but also because of the way that caused by economic growth in many countries leads to changes in people’s food habits.

‘Delivering global food and nutrition security is the challenge of our time.’ Kofi Annan, 2011


Promoting food security

Food (and nutrition) security is a broad concept. The official definition from the World Food Summit (1996) of food security is: ‘Food and nutrition security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.’

Promoting food and nutrition security requires working in an integrated and multi-sectoral way. It requires working on: production of both basic food products and more nutrient rich food products; how markets are functioning and on promoting and improving market access for various farm categories, including smallholders; food safety issues in order to protect consumers and guarantee access to (export) markets; consumer-awareness; and adoption of healthy food habits in order to work towards a healthy and well-nourished population and also in order to stimulate market demand.

The Wageningen UR Centre for Development Innovation attempts, through its various programmes, to contribute towards innovative ways of working on the challenges that global food security poses.