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Until not so long ago, the perceived solution to global hunger was to produce more food, mostly through intensive agriculture. But the dietary needs of a growing global population are now changing so we need to focus on producing food that is not only abundant, but also nutritious and grown sustainably, says Frank Rijsberman, CEO of agricultural consortium CGIAR, in this audio interview.
New studies on food security show that, while many people in poor countries are still hungry, many more are now malnourished. They now get enough calories, but their diet is not balanced, with an excessive intake of sugar and a lack of necessary vitamins and minerals. As a result, an increasing number of people living in the developing world are now suffering from diseases such as diabetes or anaemia. To address malnutrition, Rijsberman says, it’s time to move away from the extensive cultivation of single crops and embrace a more holistic approach to food.
Rijsberman believes that different crops should be grown as part of a diverse agricultural system that comprises not only crops, but also local livestock. Exploring different crop varieties will reduce reliance on a single species, and provide the different vitamins and minerals people need for a balanced diet, he says.