Global food: Environmental cost, land use, others hit $12trn

The hidden environmental, health and poverty costs associated with the global current methods of food production, consumption and land use systems are estimated at about $12 trillion a year. This figure will further rise to over $16trn a year by 2050, says a report by Food and Land use Coalition calling for a shift from the way this is done.

The report, titled, “Growing Better: 10 critical transitions to Transform Food System and Land Use” states that countries risk permanent damage to the key ecosystems and threatened food security in many countries

The Food and Land use Coalition (FOLU) is a collaboration of food, farming and green research groups formed to push for the realisation of the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs). The report worried over the way “land is used, food is produced, stored, packed, processed, traded, distributed, marketed, consumed and disposed of,”  noting that if action is not taken timely, the costs will rise to more than $16 trillion a year by 2050, the report warned. It will also put the United Nations-mandated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Agreement climate targets out of reach.

However, the report states, “The world faces a remarkable opportunity to transform food and land use systems over the next 10 years, but as the challenges are growing, we need to act with great urgency.” The coalition proposes 10-point actionable solutions, which “could enable food and land use systems to provide food security and healthy diets for a global population of over nine billion by 2050, while also tackling core climate, biodiversity, health and poverty challenges.” To do this, about $30bn investment will be required to deliver these actionable solutions, which if strongly implemented, can result in an estimated $1.285trn by 2030 and $1.920 trn by 2050.


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