The planet can produce enough food to feed all of its people a European diet several times over, but the global food crisis persists due in a large part to such misplaced government priorities as the push for biofuels, a Netherlands-based doctor of economics said in Saskatoon Wednesday.
What’s more, said Roel Jongeneel of the Wageningen University, the nine billion people expected to populate the planet in 2050 can still be fed a healthy diet with plenty of food left over if world leaders focus more on protecting agriculture and less on growing grains for use as transportation fuels.
“At this moment already we can feed all these people and we are not doing it, so that’s why I say we have our priorities not right,” Jongeneel said at The Farm Forum Event.
Indeed, the economist said more than one billion people are undernourished and 22,000 people die every day due to malnutrition or related diseases.
He said the root of the problem lies with the cost of food, which in many areas is too expensive for many people to afford. In 2007, Jongeneel said, prices rose on demand for biofuels and, more recently, the worldwide economic downturn has prevented people from buying food – a basic right under the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.