Food systems must be transformed to produce more nutritious food with a lower environmental footprint. There are a number of initiatives around the world working towards this end. Here are just five that use different kinds of science—from smart approaches to breeding livestock and crops to recycling wastewater—that could help humans settle their growing debt to the planet.
Delia Grace Randolph, a veterinary epidemiologist and food safety expert who co-leads the Animal and Human Health program at ILRI, was interviewed recently by Wilton Park, a non-profit discussion centre in the UK. The event at which Grace spoke was a workshop held 11–13 Apr 2018 in West Sussex on Innovations to reduce the use of antimicrobials in food-producing animals in low- and middle-income countries.
Shirley Tarawali’s keynote presentation at a GFFA expert panel session focused on Food of animal origin: Demand and diversity. She said that global demand for livestock-derived foods is changing both in quantities—with demand flattening in rich countries but increasing in low- and middle-income countries—and in qualities, varying by region and commodity, and that meeting that rising demand for livestock-derived foods ‘sustainably, responsibly and efficiently’ requires two main things—(1) moderating the demand, wasting less, producing more and improving production efficiency while also (2) taking account of the diversity of livestock systems and producers to maximize opportunities to address the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Robin Mbae, deputy director of livestock production at the Kenya Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, describes Kenya’s planning and implementation of interventions to address the impacts of climate change on the livestock sector and vice versa.
Following a welcome by ILRI Director General Jimmy Smith, Stefan Schmitz, head of BMZ’s division of rural development and food security and commissioner for BMZ’s special initiative on One World–No Hunger, launched in 2014, gave an opening speech.
A delegation from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) was involved in several of this year’s GFFA events, including a kick-off event, with ILRI Director General Jimmy Smith serving on the panel.
Speaking last week at the opening of the annual meeting of the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH), ILRI Director General Jimmy Smith reminded his scientific audience of the specific livestock means by which the world can meet their ambitious goals. The four livestock development pathways Smith describes for meeting the SDGs—economic growth, equitable livelihoods, nutrition and health, ecosystem health—(see below) are largely unknown outside of the South, where they are taken for granted. Time for that to change, Smith said. Time for livestock researchers to conduct their science ‘with the end in mind’.