August 05, 2010

Techonomy - Reinventing Sustenance: Feeding a world of 9.4 billion people

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Reinventing Sustenance: Feeding a world of 9.4 billion people
Raoul Adamchak, UC Davis Student Farm/Agricultural
Sustainability Institute
Fred Pearce, New Scientist
Prabhu Pingali, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Moderator: Vijay Vaitheeswaran, The Economist

First Green revolution - we doubled food production and tripled water usage
So the new revolution needs to increase efficiency. We can feed ten billion people now but we need to reduce the resource usage of agriculture.

Prabhu Pingali - first green revolution showed that technology alone was not enough. We need to also invest in infrastructure (roads, irrigation etc...) and also policies that incentivize the farmer.

More productive agriculture enables people to become wealthier and more urban and greater wealth and health has led to lower population growth.
Pearce is not concerned with genetically modified food.
Prabhu Pingali - GM crops have to look at a total risk perspective. Compare it to food grown with pesticides.

Two questions were related to the loss of the wild organisms on land and in the ocean.
Answer: Yes, we have farming on land and aquaculture in the ocean to feed people. We can work to get it more productive to reduce the footprint but we will choose to feed people and biodiversity is a secondary priority

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