GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY
International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, PO Box 427 Savannah, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
During the World Food Summit in Rome in 1996, Heads of States agreed to halve the number of hungry people by 2015, which today number 800 million, almost all of them in the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Hunger and poverty are inextricably linked and the solution does not rely on one factor, but on an interrelated complex of factors that includes population, technology, policy and social changes. What are the facts about Global Food Security, and what are options for addressing the issue? Of todays world population of 5.8 billion people, it is estimated that over 800 million people do not have adequate food, and 1.3 billion poor people live on less than $1 of income per day. Approximately fifty percent of the worlds poor people live in Asia, twenty five percent in Africa, twelve percent in Latin America and the balance in other areas of the world. The majority of these poor people live in rural areas of developing countries where the land is marginal and the ecosystems fragile. Currently, 80 percent of the global population reside in the developing world, where the annual increase in population is 1.9 percent. Biotic stresses take a heavy toll of the 5 billion tons of food that is currently produced annually. Crop diseases, insect pests and weeds reduce global food production by at least one-third despite the fact that $32 billion dollars worth of pesticides are used on crops annually. Plant diseases alone reduce global food production by more than 10 percent and the potato disease that caused the Irish famine in 1845 is again becoming prevalent and resulting in significant food losses. Four distinguished scientists will address the important issue of future global food security and, more specifically, the role of the global community of plant pathologists in alleviating the problem.