The Danish Academy of Technical Sciences

The Danish Academy of Technical Sciences,
Copenhagen, September 2010
Recommendation report
The or ganising committee of :
Executive Director Michael Stevns, Danish Agriculture and Food Council, Chairman of the organising committee.
Professor Jens Adler-Nissen, Technical University of Denmark
Head of Institute Svend Christensen, University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Life Sciences
Director Niels Halberg, ICROFS
Chairman Bent Claudi Lassen, WEFRI
Professor Liisa Lähteenmäki, University of Aarhus
Senior Analyst Karl Christian Møller, Danish Crown
CEO Thomas Bagge Olesen, FDB
State Secretary for Development Policy Ib Petersen, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
Professor Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Cornell University
Managing Director Sven Riskær, Pluribus
Writing team: Project leader and consultant Louise Rørbæk Heiberg, ATV, consultant
Charlotta Johanne Olsen, ATV, and communications consultant Jakob Werner,
Design & production: Westring + Welling A/S
Copyright © 2010 ATV, Danish Academy of Technical Sciences. All rights reserved.
Sections of this report may be reproduced for non-commercial and not-for-profit purposes
without the express written permission of but with acknowledgement to the Danish
Academy of Technical Sciences. For permission to republish, contact [email protected]
All reference sources for figures and facts in this report can be obtained by contacting ATV
directly at [email protected]
ISBN : 978-87-7836-059-5
Ple nar y spea ker s at the confere nce,
Sustainable Food Systems – Food For all Forever :
Director General Shenggen Fan, International Food Policy Research Institute
President, Dr. Marion Guillou, French National Institute of Agricultural Research
Professor Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Cornell University
Chairman Thomas Harttung, International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems
Coordinator Roberto Rodrigues, GV Agro
President Karl A. Almås, SIN TEF Fisheries and Aquaculture
Global Supply Chain Director Sustainable Agriculture Jan Kees Vis, Unilever
Manager Environmental Affairs Ola Svending, Stora Enso
Dr. Dennis R. Heldman, University of California, Davis
Chief Economist and Senior Vice President Justin Yifu Lin, The World Bank
It’s actually very simple – there is no simple
solution to sustainably feed 9 billion people.
The world is facing a major challenge: Match
the fast changing demand for food from a larger
and more wealthy population; do so in ways that
are environmentally, economically and socially
sustainable; and ensure that the world’s poorest
people are no longer hungry. Such a challenge
requires changes and new solutions in the way in
which food is produced, stored, processed and
distributed but also reformed policies. The right
technological solutions and massive investments
in research combined with the right policy directions
are in ATV’s opinion the key to success.
These themes were analysed and discussed at
a conference held in Copenhagen by CAETS
(the Council of Academies of Engineering and
Technological Sciences) in June 2010 which
was hosted by the Danish Academy of Technical
Sciences (ATV). Here, ATV facilitated an open
debate, a free exchange of ideas and a discussion
of new, future-oriented solutions.
As part of the CAETS working method, a brief
statement with recommendations was issued
shortly after the conference. It is available for
download at the CAETS homepage
ATV decided to publish its own in-depth report
building among other sources on the CAETS
statement with the clear purpose of facilitating
the continuation of the debate about this important
topic and to fi nd solutions to the forthcoming
This report, which is based on the discussions at
and the outcome of the ATV conference ‘Sustainable
food systems – Food for all forever’, summarises
the most up-to-date knowledge about our food system
and the challenge ahead. Our joint challenge
on the conference was to identify the real problems
and the effective answers which, at the same time,
will increase food production, reduce poverty, hunger
and over-exploitation of natural resources.
The conclusions and views presented in this
report are those of ATV and can in no way be
attributed to the speakers or participants at the
conference; they are not conference proceedings.
This report expresses the views of ATV based
upon input from the conference. The writing
team has, in addition to presentations and
speeches at the conference, drawn upon recent
publications in scientifi c literature as well as
insight from the committee members to create
this report.
While no single conference can transform our
society, ATV hereby passes on our recommendations
and fi ndings to international and
national policy makers, food stakeholders
from international organisations, industry and
agriculture to scientists, economists, engineers
and humanities scholars. ATV will use our voice
to tell food stakeholders, policy makers and world
leaders why it is important to ensure food for all
forever and what ATV will do to achieve the goal.
ATV would very much like to thank the organising
committee for its huge contribution throughout
the entire process, including both conference
and report. The lecturers at the conference as
well as the writing team have all been valuable
assets for the outcome of this recommendation
report. We would also like to thank all the
participants at the conference for providing
the discussions with questions and input and
for enthusiastic participation in the interactive
question-and-answer sessions.
We owe special thanks to Karl Pedersen and Wife’s
Industrial Fund and The Carlsberg Bequest to
the Memory of Brewer JC Jacobsen for economic
support and without whom this project would
not have been possible. The Danish Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and the Technical University of
Denmark supported the project with full in-kind
sponsorships and for that we are most grateful.
Finally, we would like to thank Danish Minister
for Development Cooperation H.E. Søren Pind,
and former EU Commissioner for Agriculture
and Rural Development, Mariann Fischer Boel,
for opening the conference with words of reality,
concern as well as optimism.
Lasse Skovby Rasmusson, managing director of the
Danish Academy of Technical Sciences
PREFACE ………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
INTRODUCTION …………………………………………………………………………. 3
RECOMMENDATIONS ………………………………………………………………………..6
FOOD PACKAGING …………………………………………………………………… 20
ENERGY EFFICIENCY ……………………………………………………………….. 22
GOVERNANCE …………………………………………………………………………. 26
THE CONCEPT OF FULL COSTING …………………………………………….. 28
Food security, climate changes, effi cient supply
chains, policy reforms and research – these topics
are all entangled.
In our high-tech, globalised world it is easy
to forget that mankind still suffers from basic
problems such as hunger and malnutrition. The
truth is that possibly as many as 1 billion out of
the 6.8 billion people on Earth today either have
too little to eat or live under conditions where
hunger is an imminent threat.
At the same time, in wealthier parts of the world,
much food is produced but never eaten due to
problems in the distribution chain or because
large amounts of excess food are simply thrown
Damage to the environment caused by intensive,
non-sustainable agriculture is a problem that rich
and poor countries share. On top of this, the
food sector economy is characterised by subsidies,
trade barriers and export restrictions.
Bearing these facts in mind, it can seem an impossible
task to feed the ever-increasing number
of people on our planet. Forecasts show that by
2050 9 billion people will inhabit this earth and
all of us will need suffi cient food every day.
Can the world actually produce enough food,
have it available in the right place at the right
time and make sure that no one has to go to
bed hungry? Can it be achieved without causing
damage to the environment? How can it be done
without disrupting the economy by short-sighted
solutions such as subsidised prices and levies?
The purpose of this report is to provide, for a
broad range of stakeholders, some options available
for society to respond to the challenge of
feeding 9 billion people in a sustainable manner.
The problems are serious and the challenges
diffi cult. Nevertheless, the report is optimistic.
The problems can be solved and the challenges
overcome. However, there is no single agreement
or technological “silver bullet” that will quickly
and painlessly transform our global food system
into a sustainable and equal global food system.
It requires continued efforts to identify technological
solutions to some of the problems,
targeted and massive investment in research,
and political will to act when it comes to solve
structural and political issues such as trade barriers,
infrastructure problems and allocation of
fi nancial means.
With only fi ve years left until the 2015 deadline
to achieve the Millennium Development Goals,
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called
on world leaders to attend a summit in New
York on 20-22 September 2010 to accelerate
progress towards the Millennium Development
Goals. The meeting offered a unique and
timely opportunity to start such a transformative
journey towards a sustainable food system. There
is no single solution to obtain the goals of this
ATV-recommendation report but they call for
united actions to enable food for all in 2050 and
The organising committee members all support
the recommendations presented in this report.
We are all hoping that if society is successful
in meeting the suggested recommendations,
a sustainable food system is within reach.
Michael Stevns, Executive Director, Danish Agriculture
and Food Council, Chairman of the ATV
organising committee
– Michael Stevns, Executive Director.
Future politics must be
guided by science
It is estimated that the world population in
2050 will amount to 9 billion people. Possible
solutions as to how we can meet the increasing
demand for food were discussed at the conference
‘Sustainable food systems – Food for
all forever’ hosted by the Danish Academy of
Technical Sciences (ATV). The urgent need for
more food must be satisfi ed in a sustainable way
both socially, economically and environmentally.
This calls for corporation at a global level and
integration of the newest technologies within the
fi eld of food production.
Feeding the world is now recognised as one of
the key issues for the next decades. Society will
have to rise to the challenges of the next 40 years.
The increase in world food prices in 2008 and
the increasing number of people lacking suffi –
cient food have been met with a sense of urgency
leading to a number of international high level
commitments focused on food security.
Nevertheless, the number of people being hungry
is now rising instead of falling affecting an estimated
1.02 billion people, the highest number
since 1970. The steep increase in the number
of hungry people in 2006 –09 highlights the
devastating effect that higher food prices and an
economic crisis can have on the world’s poorest
Increasing demands for food, fresh water, timber
and fuel are rapidly altering ecosystems – in
many places leading to irreversible losses of
biodiversity. An estimated 14% of greenhouse gas
emissions stem from food production. Cutting
down forest and draining wetland in order to be
able to grow more food would be only a shortterm
solution as the effect would lead to drastic
increases in greenhouse gas emissions which
would in turn have a detrimental effect on food
production. Many staple crops are not tolerant
to large temperature rises and climate changes
are expected to worsen water shortages which
will also cause serious problems for producers
worldwide. Therefore, sustainable management
of natural resources must be a major factor as to
the question of securing food for an ever increasing
number of people.
How do we increase food production in this
context? The answer calls for increased productivity
in agriculture and better management of
resources that are becoming ever scarcer. Society
will have to implement interventions in order
to obtain increasing yields in food production
and raising effi ciency in energy production and
Agriculture has returned to the centre of international
policy debates. Years of declining investments,
inadequate extension services and the
availability of subsidised food exports from the
developed world have undermined agricultural
production in many developing countries.
– Per Pinstrup-Andersen,
Professor, Cornell University
There is no credible
evidence for saying that
we need to double food
production by 2050. An
increase of 60-70 % or
less than 1.5 % annually
over the next 40 years
is a more likely scenario.
That is doable without
damaging natural
– Shenggen Fan, Director General, International
Food Policy Research Institute
One-size-fi ts-all strategies
don’t work. The
main successes have
been country driven
Society needs to go beyond commitments and
identify new policy directions. There is a need for
a global partnership and for greater coherence at
international level.
Reform of the agricultural support systems in the
developed world is essential. It is important that
there will be a continuous effort to push for reforms
of the agricultural policy both at national,
European and international levels.
Right now the international society does not
know how to fully succeed in meeting the goal
of assuring food security and ensuring long-term
sustainable use of the natural resources upon
which we all depend. This way of thinking about
food for all and long-term sustainable use of the
natural resources is new – but it is the right way
forward. Thoughts need to be explored and actions
taken before it is too late.
International research indicates that efforts to
assure food security for all need not be at the
expense of the environment. That is a good
start. The ambition is that the plausible talk of a
“multiple win” is within reach if the international
society is able to work together and stop thinking
in ways such as ‘business as usual’ and choosing
weapons depending on the given challenge.
Overall, ATV believes that the right policy
directions and massive investments in research
combined with the right technological solutions
are the key to success as to assuring food security.
Also, we need to ensure long-term, sustainable
use of the natural resources upon which we
all depend. For all these reasons, “Food for all
forever” can be a powerful tool for achieving the
Millennium Development Goals, particularly
those related to poverty reduction and environment.
Key recommendations identifi ed by ATV are
listed in the following.
– Mariann Fischer Boel, former EU
commissioner for Agriculture and
Rural Development.
Protectionism has
appeal to some people
but, in the long run, it is
leading to a dead end
– Søren Pind, Danish Minister for
Development Cooperation
We need to go beyond
commitment; we need
to go for reform
The following recommendations are
the results of the work and analysis
of ATV.
Some aspects of ATV’s recommendations
have already been successfully
implemented locally but they
need to be scaled up and extended
globally to obtain a real impact on
assuring a sustainable food system.
Full advantage should be obtained
from emerging technologies. By
increasing the use of the most appropriate
and smartest technology
in the given situation together with
the newest opportunities offered by
science, the productivity of the food
sector can be improved dramatically.
In order to harvest the potential of
increased productivity, it is necessary
to invest massively in rural education.
Through technological development and
research targeted at increasing yields and
reducing production risks, the farmers of
the developed countries have reached a
very high level of knowledge. An essential
prerequisite for this is investment
in targeted education, both towards to
agricultural and general knowledge to
enhance the educational level.
If the developing countries are to gain
the same benefi ts in the future – and this
is essential in order to solve the residing
hunger problem – they must not necessarily
undergo a development similar to
that which has taken place in their richer
counterparts. Instead they may undergo
a smarter development process taking
into account the experience and lessons
learned. By increasing the use of technology
and through continued technological
development compatible with sustainable
management of natural resources, the
productivity of the food system can be
All technologies should be made available
to those who need them at prices
which allow for a free choice among
different options. The entire range of different
technologies should be taken into
account in order to fi nd the best suited
technology to any given challenge. This
includes new technologies such as GMO
and other areas of biotechnology as well
as agro-ecological methods.
Continued emphasis on technology is
also critical for the developed countries.
The agricultural and food industry in
developed countries is already a hightech
business and investment in this fi eld
must continue in order to provide results.
The developed countries have a particular
responsibility in developing effi cient methods
and technologies for agriculture that
are sustainable. These methods should
be developed in close collaboration with
institutions in developing countries where
the focus should be on the development
of solutions to smallholders’ problems.
Some of the needed technology already
exists or is in the process of being
developed or refi ned. The real challenge
is to convince decision-makers that the
technology gap between developed and
developing countries must be closed or
at least narrowed if the hunger issue is
to be solved. This again points in the
direction of new policies such as research
and technology transfer.
The technology used in agriculture and
food processing is knowledge intensive.
Massive investment in education in rural
areas is needed to harvest the full potential
of agriculture and induce growth in the
developing countries. This will enhance
productivity in agriculture, ease adoption
of new technologies, improve extension
services and pave the way for labour
intensive high-value activities. Education
can substantially enhance the multiplier
effect of growth in the food system, thus
inducing growth several times bigger than
the original cost of education.
Governments must increase investments
in roads, distribution systems,
potable water, electricity, information
and communication technologies,
storage and post-harvest technologies,
and ensure that appropriate
standards and regulations are in
place and enforced.
Infrastructure is a means towards ensuring
the delivery of goods and services
that promote productivity and growth.
This will in the end contribute to increased
quality of life and, therefore,
plays a vital role in economic and social
In many developing countries, rural areas
lack facilities and infrastructure. This
means that local farmers have no real
‘market’ access – not even in their own
region, and they become trapped in a
situation where they only produce food
for their own families. At the same time,
there is an unfulfi lled potential for food
production because there is no incentive
to produce more with no possibility of
selling the products.
The demand for infrastructure is set to
continuously expand signifi cantly in the
decades ahead, driven by major factors
of change such as global economic
growth, technological progress, climate
change, urbanisation and growing congestion.
However, part of the food supply problem
in the third world is connected with lack
of proper storage conditions or knowledge
of how to store food correctly which
also requires infrastructure. With better
infrastructure, life in the rural areas also
becomes easier. Alternatives to farming
such as different forms of handycrafts
becomes possible and would generate
employment and alternative income
possibilities which again would slow
down the fl ow of people who seek a
better future in the cities.
The challenges facing governments are
diverse and complex. In order to meet
these challenges, governments will need
to complement the search for fresh
sources of capital. Infrastructure investments
are expensive in the short term
and political action on several levels is
needed. Local governments must use
their scarce resources on these investments
rather than spending the money
on subsidising food and other shortsighted
policies. The donor countries
should increase their spending on
extensive reliable infrastructure projects
and demand clear commitment to this
strategy from the local governments in
the third world.
The world’s agricultural trading system
is stuck in the past. If there ever was a
time to cut distorting agricultural subsidies
and open markets for more free
food imports/exports, it must be now.
Price controls and export taxes could
discourage the necessary additional
investment in agricultural production;
this must be stopped.
The agricultural sector holds a special
position. Even liberal countries tend to
protect their own farmers through subsidies
and levies on ‘unwanted’ products
from competitors in other parts of the
world – both from the industrialised and
developed countries as well as in the less
wealthy and developing countries.
It is absolutely essential to create better
policies that prevent trade distortion
activities for food products.
Targeted and time specifi c import restrictions
in support of emerging industries
and productions in developing countries
can, however, be justifi ed provided they
are part and parcel of well defi ned and
economic viable agricultural and industrial
development strategies.
Reducing import restrictions for example
in the EU and other developed nations
would help create clear incentives for
developing country agriculture and food
Abolition of for example US-subsidies,
free trade over borders and a world market
with a genuine market mechanism
are the essential tools to achieve the goal
of ‘Food for all forever’, but this cannot
stand alone as some of the problems are
local rather than global.
Government spending on agricultural
research in developing countries has
declined. Instead of research, the bulk
of public farm spending has often been
used on purchasing social peace or electoral
support by ensuring low prices for
food or agricultural inputs like seeds and
fertiliser. Continued high output prices
could help many developing country
farmers, who are net buyers of food, to
become net sellers. Small scale farmers
could ultimately even drive up wages for
landless labour forces and boost demand
for rural goods and services which would
generate employment. To help this happen,
however, there would need to be
greater investments in farmers’ associations
and rural infrastructure as well as
better price transmission mechanisms
to ensure that farmers actually feel the
higher prices in their own pockets.
Emphasis must also be put on export
bans at national level and on the impact
and consequences these cause. A situation
in which there is uncertainty about
whether there is enough grain or not will
easily create a situation in which investors
get on the move. They will make futures
deals based on money speculation in
future prices on crops and this may have
an effect of raising world market prices
higher than they would otherwise have
risen. The use of speculative futures must
be limited.
Moving towards a market that prevents
distortions in trade and competition for
food products is not an easy journey
but it is vital for achieving the objective
of supplying all with food and it inspires
farmers to develop their trade. We all
have an interest in keeping the most
talented farmers in business!
It is the duty of national governments
to provide the public with means to
boost income and more importantly:
feed its own people. Emphasis must
also be put on the responsibilities of
international organisations and their
cooperation with national governments.
The governance challenge as far as food
security is concerned is to persuade sovereign
governments to provide the necessary
public goods that would ensure
access to adequate food. Nevertheless,
many national governments in developing
countries still do not provide essential
public goods such as civil peace, rule of
law, transport infrastructure, clean water,
electrical power and public research to
generate new agricultural productivity –
essential ingredients in the effort to boost
‘Good governance’ is a key word in the
collaboration between donor countries,
international organisations and developing
countries when it comes to aid
programmes. But a new and wider
defi nition of ‘good governance’ is
needed and should be introduced.
It is absolutely vital that private property
is respected. Only when farmers can feel
confi dent that no one will nationalise or
even steal their land, will they be willing
to consider long-term strategies such as
incorporating new technology and machinery
in the production process.
A new defi nition and introduction of good
governance should also put emphasis on
a better use of resources by the developing
countries’ governments when it
comes to infrastructure and subsidies.
One of the most harmful things for the
food production in the poorer countries
is that many products are subsidised in
order to keep prices low. If the money
spent for this purpose was instead
channelled into investments in rural
areas, more people would benefi t in
the long run.
It is quite obvious that it will be a controversial
policy to follow for many governments
but, nevertheless, it is one of the
most essential reforms to introduce if
the world’s food system shall change to
the better for the people in developing
Many international organisations exercise
infl uence on food and agricultural sectors;
therefore, they must also live up to their
entrusted responsibilities.
The ’bottom billion’ population are
probably the most vulnerable to climate
changes and also suffer the most from
hunger. Introducing ’good governance’
is necessary for envisioning a brighter
future for the citizens in these countries.
Decisive action and targeted interventions
are needed if these countries ever are to
break out of the poverty trap.
Eliminating the millions of tons of food
thrown away annually in the developed
world could lift many people
out of hunger worldwide if trade and
infrastructure at the same time make it
possible to distribute effectively. If we
could also save the massive amounts
of crops that are neither harvested nor
reaching the consumers in the developing
world, an even larger infl uence
on battling hunger could be made in
the long term. Tackling food waste
should be added to the toolbox of
policy options to ensure a sustainable
food system.
In developing countries most waste
occurs at stages prior to the retail stages.
Investment in transport infrastructure and
by aiming for better-functioning markets
would reduce the risk of spoilage and
could reduce waste, for example by
allowing the introduction of cold storage
(though this has implications for greenhouse
gas emissions).
In developing countries, much of the
food consumed is fresh but only a very
small part of that food is refrigerated.
As a result, high losses occur following
harvest, slaughter, fi shing and milking
during transportation and at markets.
Adequate storage is a condition for both
effi cient marketing by the private sector
and for holding public reserves that may
be necessary to guarantee food security.
Increased access to refrigerated storage
and effective distribution systems in
developing countries could be signifi cant
in reducing post-harvest losses, improving
food safety and adding value to
agricultural food products. For this to
be achieved, important issues related
to management of the facilities will have
to be addressed. Since cold storage
facilities are highly energy-consuming, it
is recommended that the implementation
is made based on alternative energy
sources such as sun or wind energy.
The developing countries are much more
infl uenced by pre-harvest losses than the
developed world. Pests and insects can
have a gruesome effect on the yield and
this calls for alternative agricultural methods.
One possibility is to use pesticides
although this is known to have unfortunate
implications on the environment.
Another and more sustainable method
could be to introduce endogenously
resistant crops as well as cross cultivation
of crops.
In developed countries food waste is
a problem in many parts of the supply
chain but the largest amount of waste
can be found at the retailers and the
end-consumers. These two groups must
be addressed with information.
Packaging protects food from damage
during its transportation from farms and
factories via warehouses to retailing and
preserves its freshness upon arrival. Effi
cient packaging cannot per defi nition
be bio-degradable if it is to serve a proper
level of protection from the surroundings.
Although it impede considerable food
waste, packaging will by itself always
remain a waste product and, therefore,
solutions to use less packaging while
maintaining the protection should be
Much good, eatable food is thrown away
only because consumers perceive it
as too old to eat. If food waste is to be
reduced dramatically, the consumers
are the most important players in this
It is therefore recommendable to include
both retailers and consumers in an effort
to have common standards for labelling;
standards are needed which are much
clearer than today and which give a fair
picture of the freshness of food products.
The consumer needs to be better
educated about proper storage of foods
to keep them for longer. Consumers also
need information about the proper shelf
life of products so that they are able to
plan meals more carefully and end up
with less spoilt food at the end of the
week. There is a need to improve the way
in which food is labelled.
Excessive consumption of food in rich
countries infl ates food prices in the
developing world. Buying food, which is
then often wasted, reduces overall supply
and pushes up the price on food. Food
waste must be reduced dramatically in all
countries and in all stages of the supply
chain from farm to fork.
Fishing from the oceans’ own resources
is expected to decrease and,
therefore, marine aquaculture could
play a large role in feeding humanity
in the coming decades. Mankind will
also benefi t greatly from algae and
seaweed from aquacultures which
can be a source of both human food
products and animal feed.
There are numerous possibilities for
incorporating aquaculture in the food
production system to a much higher
degree than today. The food that comes
from sea farming is nutritious and already
popular with consumers. Even new
products such as sea weed are perceived
positively due to the general interest in
sushi and other seafood products.
The oceans’ own resources are limited
due to overfi shing and lack of appropriate
government policies and regulations.
Marine fi shery is therefore most likely to
decrease. The so-called ‘sea farms’ and
algae farms hold great potential and can
become an important part of the solution
of the world’s food supply problems.
More plants and animals low in the food
chain must be cultivated, including more
plankton and algae. In addition, sea algae
is a considerable source of nutrition wellsuited
for feed in the livestock industry
and, thereby, preventing precious crops,
vegetables and more to be consumed by
livestock when humans could just as well
benefi t from it.
Growing marine plants, including algae,
as a basis for fodder for farmed sea
fi sh and for bio-fuel production could
be done on the basis of nutrients from
waste, effl uents and other coastal
pollution which offer a signifi cant
environmental benefi t. New technology
will also help, by allowing marine aquaculture
operations to be expanded into
more exposed, offshore locations.
The continued development of aquaculture
must be done in an environmentally
balanced way. This calls for regulation
as to which areas are suitable for this purpose.
There will also be a need for further
development of multi product aquaculture
which includes both fi sh and sea weed.
The ‘full costing’ concept should be
introduced as a ‘polluter pays’ principle
where all costs, including environmental,
are refl ected in the price of a
product. It should be analysed how
the balance between regulation and
incentive should be made.
‘Full costing’ essentially means that the
price on food (or other products) should
include all costs related to the product;
this encompasses the damage to the
environment and the use of natural
resources that need to be replaced (for
example by tree-planting projects as
a replacement for deforestation). The
concept is similar to the ‘polluter pays’-
principle which is well-known and has
been implemented in many countries. At
the same time, ecological services and
environmental improvements should be
deducted from the price of the product.
In principle, full costing should cover the
whole supply chain from the fi eld to the
dinner table.
Full costing is a principle of intergenerational
fairness and sustainability and
it will potentially make products that
are harmful to nature more expensive;
this will be a strong incentive to choose
other production methods or even other
products. In addition to regulations,
full costing is the most viable means by
which sustainability can be achieved in
the food system.
An important aspect is whether emphasis
should be put on regulations ‘sticks’
or incentives ‘carrots’; should farmers
for instance be paid for not cutting
down trees (‘carrot’) or should they be
fi ned after having cut down the trees
(the ‘stick’)? This issue depends on how
the concept of full costing will be administered.
Some models incorporate a tax
scheme which might be controversial
and diffi cult to manage across borders.
Full costing might not be easy to implement
but the concept holds so many
possible advantages that it deserves
further analysis. A successful full costing
scheme would effectively change
consumer behaviour and infl uence the
agriculture and food production sector
to become more responsible and sustainable.
This chapter is based on the three main topics from the
Sustainable Food Systems conference in Copenhagen
in June 2010:
■ Reforming the food production system,
■ Rethinking the processing and supply chain,
■ Moving towards economic incentives and full costing
The fi ndings and discussions are based on the 11 plenary talks
given at the conference, each within a specifi c area needed to
get a full image of the challenges as well as solution possibilities
when it comes to feeding 9 billion people in 2050. The names
of the plenary speakers can be found on the inside cover of this
volume. Themes covered in the conference that did not result
in a direct recommendation are also discussed here since we
cannot afford to exclude any aspects of how to achieve our goal:
Food for all – forever.
In the following, it becomes clearer than ever how the increasing
demand for food is interlinked with challenges such as
poor utilisation of the otherwise high yields, water and energy
scarcity, soil degradation and climate changes. The problem is
lack of political will rather than lack of productive capacity on
this planet.
All 100 conference participants were initially asked to make
predictions on the future. Did they realistically believe the
changes suggested below would come true by 2050 or not? At
the end of the conference, the same questions were asked and
the participants indicated when they believed the suggested
changes would have been implanted. These fi nal votings are
displayed in the following text where fi tted.
Achieved triple win goals: Suffi cient food production; sustainable management of
natural resources; and reduced hunger
Investments, public and private, have grown signifi cantly in high-productivity
agriculture and food production
Realized and adapted advances in research and technology which have increased
productivity of up to 60 % above 2010 levels across all farm soil types
Increased global production of aquaculture by at least 50 % above 2010 levels
A rural education level allowing full utilization of current research and technology
A fully-functional market-driven economy
Improved infrastructure (roads, distribution systems, and communications) to
physically secure supply
Reduced product losses and improved energy effi ciency
Consumers prepared to pay the full cost of food
Implemented free trade and abolished trade barriers of all kinds
Technology and the use of scientifi c results are
important factors when it comes to improving
the world’s food supply systems. This is particularly
the case when it comes to production
methods; in the developing countries some of the
supply problems can be solved through the introduction
of new methods to increase the yield or
transform new areas into farmland.
The term ‘technology’ must be understood in its
broadest meaning and includes for example:
■ Transition from manual labour to mechanised
■ Developing and understanding new methods
for increasing yields and reducing risks
■ Transforming new land into farm land by
means of modern technology
■ Product development
■ New technologies such as GMO and other
areas of biotechnology as well as agroecological
New technologies and methods should not automatically
be dismissed. Investments are required
in research and development (R&D) to upgrade
traditional small-scale processing technologies.
Using genetically modifi ed organisms (GMO)
is one way to achieve further progress. Modern
genetic techniques and better understanding of
crop physiology are effi cient tools to increase
yields in both developed and developing countries.
It is evident that much of the technology needed
already exists but there are still plenty of areas
that can be researched by the agricultural sector
to continue its search for improvements in effi –
cient farming, new production methods, application
of scientifi c results into everyday agricultural
production etc.
Brazil has managed to increase its agricultural
productivity massively by strategically educating
farmers and using modern technology (see case
story on the opposite page).
– Roberto Rodriges, Coordinator,
GV Agro, Brazil
We are going to
increase our food
production because we
have the best tropical
technology, land availability
and we have
fantastic farmers
– Klaus Bock, Professor, President of
CAETS and Chairman of ATV
Solutions to achieve an
food production are
available by means of
increased utilisation of
technologies already
developed; however,
continued improvements
and applications
of new technologies
might help to reach
the goal
A rural education level allowing full utilization
of current research and technology
Realized and adapted advances in research
and technology which have increased productivity
of up to 60 per cent above 2010 levels
across all farm and soil types
1992 1995 1998 2001 2004 2007 2010 2013 2016 2019
Full advantage should be obtained from emerging technologies. By increasing the use of the most appropriate and smartest technology
in the given situation together with the newest opportunities offered by science, the productivity of the food sector can be improved
dramatically. In order to harvest the potential of increased productivity, it is necessary to invest massively in rural education.
In the 1960’s, Brazil was in many ways a backward country when
it came to agriculture; the country struggled to feed its own
population and coffee beans were by far the most important
product and made up 70 per cent of Brazil’s export. Today, that
fi gure is only 6 per cent and Brazil is an important net exporter of a
vast variety of food products. Brazil has established itself as a world
leader in tropical agriculture.
There are three main reasons for this:
First, a clear strategy focused on creating synergies between
scientifi c and technological knowledge. The use of technology has
increased the farmland specifi c for grain with 25% while the total
grain production in Brazil has increased with 154% from 1990 to
date. Brazil has consistently educated farmers on how to use the
new technologies and how to increase yields.
Second, Brazil has benefi ted from an increasingly liberalised world
trade. Agricultural business exports have tripled in ten years.
This success has helped create a positive interest in continued
development of the agricultural sector. For Brazil, globalisation is a
Third, and most controversially, the increase in farmland has been
achieved partly through deforestation. The Brazilian authorities have
become aware of this issue and plan to respond to it by increasing
the yields of existing areas rather than a continued rapid expansion
of farmland into the rainforest.
Brazil is to this day the fastest growing producer of agricultural
products with production estimated to grow by more than 40% from
2010 to 2019. In contrast, over the same period the net outcome
in the 27 EU countries is estimated to increase by less than 4% in
The net agricultural
production for selected
(index 2004-06 = 100).
Source: OECD-FAO,
Agricultural Outlook
In 1609, the Dutch founder of international law, Hugo
Grotius, boldly announced that “Sea fi shing is free for it is
impossible to exhaust marine resources”. Unfortunately, we
have proven this statement to be false.
Recent fi gures show that natural resources of fi sh and other
sea food have suffered immensely from overfi shing and
modern fi shing techniques. In the years to come, fi shing as
we know it will decline but marine aquaculture can be developed
to become an even more important source for food
than it is today.
The production of fi sh by aquaculture must be doubled
within the next 30 years if this food source is to keep up
with the growing population. Such an increase is possible
but the challenge is to do this in a sustainable way; sea farms
have a reputation of a negative environmental impact.
A solution can be to replace the present monoculture with
polyculture sea farming where the fi sh feed (for example
plankton and algae) itself can be derived from the aquaculture
and, thus, form a more natural food chain. It is also a
possibility to develop new food products for humans from
algae and plankton; sea weed is already a well-known food
product and can more importantly be used as energy source
in live stock feeds. This will free fi elds that have previously
been used for feed production and enable a higher production
of crops for human use.
Fish can replace meat as a protein source at a very low CO2
cost. For example, the landing of 1 kg of herring or mackerel
will only emit 0,5 kg CO2 as opposed to pork or beef
which emits 6 and 30 kg of CO2 pr kg meat slaughtered
respectively. The high levels of green house gas emission as a
consequence of live stock farming can therefore be reduced if
people are willing to give up their beef for a plate of fi sh.
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030
Wild capture Aquaculture
mill. tons
Increased global production of aquaculture by
at least 50 per cent above 2010 levels
Fishing from the oceans’ own resources is expected to
decrease and, therefore, marine aquaculture could play
a large role in feeding humanity in the coming decades.
Mankind will also benefi t greatly from algae and seaweed
from aquacultures which can be a source of both human
food products and animal feed.
– Karl A. Almås, President, SINTEF
Fisheries and Agriculture
The production in the
marine environment will
play an important role in
the future
,, An important aspect is that unsolved pollution
problems exist that can limit the potential for
marine aquaculture. An increase in desert zones
of the oceans and the accumulation of plastic
and other garbage in huge waste ‘islands’ are
essentially manmade problems. One of the most
extreme cases is the so-called ‘Great Garbage
Patch’, an area larger than France in the Pacifi c
Ocean where plastic waste have accumulated and
is a threat to the natural resources.
Aquaculture can help with solving the food
problems but it will not solve underlying ecological
issues concerning the oceans. Therefore,
the limiting factor in aquacultures is the rapidly
changing environment and accumulation of
pollution originating from all other industries
and sources. If the environmental changes are
minimised, the marine world holds great potential
in the battle for suffi cient food production.
Terrestrial 50 %
Marine 50 %
98 %
2 %
– Marion Guillou, President, French
National Institute of Agricultural
Today, we need to produce
in a more sustainable
manner in Europe
and in the world.
For 2050, the challenge
is to produce more food
(and in a lesser extent
non food products coming
from agriculture) in a
sustainable way regarding
the natural resources
Industrialised agriculture with its dependence
on chemical inputs has reached impressive yields
per ha and secured food for many over the last
decades. However, the costs in terms of pollution,
decreasing soil and water quality and
reduction in biological diversity have been too
high and yield increases are limited now due to,
for example, reduced soil fertility and lack of bees
for pollination.
In order to achieve food security for all in a
sustainable way we need to develop food systems
which benefi t from synergy with ecosystems
and respect and enhance the so-called ecosystem
services. Examples of how agriculture depends
on ecosystem services are pollination of crops
and pest control by benefi cial insects; and the
capacity of well maintained soils for holding
water and nutrients linked to the content of soil
organic matter.
Agriculture can be intensifi ed through the
improved use of agro-ecological methods using
biological and technical knowledge in order to
improve the reliance on locally available resources
and processes. Examples of this are the management
of soil fertility by recycling of organic matter
and nutrients from farms, food processors and
from society. Planning for increased biological
diversity in terms of genetic variation in crops,
crop mixtures and agro-forestry at fi eld, farm and
landscape levels can improve productivity and
resilience in synergy with wild biodiversity and
ecosystem services.
Higher agricultural productivity and stability of
yields may be achieved by appropriate ‘eco-functional
intensifi cation’. This means that farming
systems should be ‘intensifi ed’ by higher input of
knowledge, observation skills and management,
and improved use of agro-ecological methods.
This development may be supported by use of
innovative information and communication
technologies (ICT) and by automation (sensors,
robots) for improved observation and management
of crop and livestock health. These modern
technologies may also improve for example weed
management and harvest or post-harvest processes
in mixed cropping systems.
Agro-ecological methods are also part of the
basic principles of organic agriculture which
has proven to increase yields, income and food
security in Africa and other low input regions.
It is therefore important to consider agroecological
methods as elements in an overall
strategy for intensifi cation of food systems based
on increased input of biological knowledge and
innovative technologies. The goal is to improve
soil fertility, nutrient recycling, water utilisation
and pest management in synergy with maintenance
of biodiversity and ecosystem services. It
should be recognized that eco-functional intensifi
cation is knowledge intensive and practices
need adaptation to local conditions and use of
farmers’ knowledge. In the development of suitable
agro-ecological methods, it is important to
link front-line research with local knowledge and
needs – the development of the so-called ‘vuta
sukuma’ is a great example on this. It is a system
based on intercropping of various crops with
different characteristics and roles in the farming
system (see case story on the opposite page).
– Thomas Harttung, Chairman,
International Centre for Research in
Organic Food Systems
Organic and
agro-ecological methods
have proven to more
than double the yields
under low input
conditions in African
– improving availability
of food, natural capital,
social and human capital
Vuta sukuma – An approach also known as `pushpull’
technology for integrated management of
stemborers, striga weed and soil fertility. It is
based on research into pest and predator behaviour,
host reactions, allelopathic effects and their
interrelationships and developed in collaboration with
farmers. To date over 25,000 smallholder farmers in
East Africa have adopted vuta sumkuma and maize
yields have increased from about 1 t/ha to 3.5 t/
ha with minimal inputs. The technology is based
on locally available plants, not expensive external
inputs, and fi ts well with traditional mixed cropping
systems in Africa.
The problem: Stemborer, striga weeds and poor
soil fertility are the main constraints to effi cient
production of cereals in sub-Saharan Africa. Losses
caused by stemborers can reach as high as 80% in
some areas. Losses attributed to striga weeds range
between 30 and 100% in most areas and are often
exacerbated by the low soil fertility prevalent in the
region. When the two pests occur together, farmers
often lose their entire crop. Spraying with pesticides
is not only expensive and harmful to the environment,
but usually ineffective as the chemicals cannot reach
deep inside the plant stems where stemborer larvae
reside. Preventing crop losses from stemborers and
striga weeds and improving soil fertility in eastern
Africa could increase cereal harvests enough to feed
an additional 27 million people in the region.
The solution: The push-pull technology involves
intercropping maize with a repellent plant, such as
Desmodium, and planting an attractive trap plant,
such as Napier grass, as a border crop (see fi gure
below). Stemborer females are repelled or deterred
away from the crop (push) by the Desmodium
while they are simultaneously attracted (pull) to the
trap crop, leaving the crop protected. Desmodium
produces root exudates some of which stimulate
the germination of striga seeds and others inhibit
their growth after germination. This combination
results in reduced levels of viable striga seed in the
soil. Desmodium is able to exert its striga control
effect even when the host crop is out of season,
and together with Napier grass protect fragile soils
from erosion. It also fi xes nitrogen, conserves soil
moisture, increases the number and diversity of
benefi cial insects and improves soil organic matter,
thereby enabling cereal cropping systems to be
more resilient and adaptable to climate change
while providing essential environmental services
and making farming systems more robust and
(based on information from
Push-pull system
Trans-Nzoia Syba Bungoma Busia Kisii Vihiga
Maize yields from conventional monocrop cultivation
vs the push-pull system at six sites in Kenya.
2010 19
– Jan Kees Vis, Global Supply Chain
Director Sustainable Agriculture, Unilever
At the end of the day,
consumers prefer to
buy products from
companies that care
about the future
,, For many years, it was virtually impossible for
consumers to know whether the food which they
bought in shops and supermarkets was produced
in a sustainable way or not. This has changed
dramatically since the 1990’s as more and more
retailers now have introduced schemes that help
describe how a product is produced, packaged,
stored and transported.
Such schemes can best be described as sustainable
supply chain programmes and multinational
corporations such as Unilever use them for good
One reason can be described as idealistic as
the companies want to ascertain that they sell
food products which have been produced at a
high standard of ethics. Another reason is more
business-motivated as consumers want to do
their grocery-shopping knowing that they buy
sustainable products. Thus, a well-functioning
and transparent supply chain programme can
move market shares from one retailer to another.
But what is a good supply chain programme?
First of all, it must be transparent and possible to
be tested in an impartial way. It must be an integral
part of a corporation’s business model, not
just window-dressing. And it should in principle
cover the entire supply chain including farming,
processing of consumer products, transportation,
packaging, retail and disposal of waste. In general,
these schemes focus on the use of resources
an on the impact of production on the countries
and communities involved in the production
Unilever has for example introduced 11 indicators
including animal welfare, soil fertility health,
energy, water and local economy; these 11 indicators
are measured to assess the sustainability of
a certain supply chain or product.
There are many areas in which the food
suppliers must take responsibility. The
goal must be to build up a sustainability
programme in which all 11 points are
1. Soil fertility health
2. Soil loss
3. Nutrients
4. Pest management
5. Biodiversity
6. Value chain
7. Energy
8. Water
9. Social / human capital
10. Local economy
11. Animal welfare
Packaging has gained a reputation as a waste product with excessive
packaging being a major problem in the food industry.
This is unfair as packaging is an important part of the solution
of the world’s food problems.
A food product without correct and adequate packaging will
not survive long in the extensive supply chain that ranges
from the farm to the consumers’ fridge and dinner table via
the supermarket.
Packaging is essential during transportation and with the correct
packaging a food product can stay on the shelves much
longer; this leads to a more effi cient supply system and less
food waste (see case story on the opposite page).
However, there are unsolved issues with regard to packaging.
Most importantly, there are packaging methods (for example
plastic wrapping) that, at present, are impossible to substitute
if we want to have fresh and healthy food – but the packaging
itself can become a waste problem.
Another important aspect is the package sizes. It has over the
last decade become more and more common to see ‘familysized’
packages of meat or dairy product in the stores. Large
packaging increases the risk of food waste at the consumer
level. Smaller sizes are preferred since we today observe an increase
in single-person households, both elderly and younger
Food waste is very high in the developing countries where
packaging often is insuffi cient or just does not exist, whereas
the developed countries have a much lower percentage of food
spoilage due to advanced packaging methods and materials
used. In developing countries the amounts of post-harvest loss
involved are relatively unknown and diffi cult to estimate.
Consumers in the developed countries throw away huge
amounts of food due to low prices that give no incentive to minimize
waste at the household level. Reducing developed-country
food waste is particularly challenging as it is so closely linked to
individual behaviour and cultural attitudes toward food.
Each consumer must become more aware of the value of food
and throw less food away, something which can be helped
through public information campaigns and a lso by considering
the appropriate packaging sizes from a waste point of
view. The land and resources made available by cutting food
waste would likely be used for more resource-intensive and
expensive foods or bio-energy. Initiatives targeted at consumers
could also have other effects: not only will informing
consumers about food waste reduce pressure on their wallets,
it would also lead to fewer trips to the store, thereby saving
petrol and reducing carbon emissions at the same time.
In the future, ‘smart-packaging’ may even communicate to
the consumer when food is too old, thereby preventing the
consumer in unknowingly throwing away good eatable food.
In order to reduce food waste and make packaging more sustainable,
we must see the environmental performance of a packaging in relation
to what it protects: The packed goods!
Solar energy
Eliminating the millions of tons of food thrown away annually in the developed world could lift many people out of hunger
worldwide if trade and infrastructure at the same time make it possible to distribute effectively. If we could also save the massive
amounts of crops that are neither harvested nor reaching the consumers in the developing world, an even larger infl uence
on battling hunger could be made in the long term. Tackling food waste should be added to the toolbox of policy options to
ensure a sustainable food system.
One of the ‘classics’ when it comes to debating the
food industry is the question ‘why are cucumbers
sold in plastic wrapping’; many consumers view it
as much more environmental-friendly to avoid such
‘unnecessary’ packaging.
It is often ignored that good and effi cient packaging
is absolutely essential when it comes to prolonging
shelf-life for food products; if a product is safely
and well packaged, a much larger proportion of the
products will survive transportation, storage and stay
longer on the shelves in shops.
This goes for cucumbers and other easily perishable
The shelf-life of a properly protected cucumber and
other fresh vegetables is in the range of two weeks.
Without the protection of plastic wrapping, the shelflife
will be halved and the cucumbers are not in an
edible state after only one week in the shop.
With less time to sell a product, the risk of more food
waste increases. New supplies must be transported
to the shop with increased transportation costs and
damage to the environment as a consequence.
– Ola Svending, Manager Environmental
Affairs, Stora Enso
Good packaging adds
to shelf-life for the food
which is a sustainable
4600 kcal/capita/day is produced in the fi eld,
but only 2000 kcal/capita/day is available for
■ Post harvest losses: – 600 kcal
■ Conversion to meat and dairy: – 1200 kcal
■ Losses in distribution and households: – 800 kcal
■ 40% of all the food produced in the USA is thrown out.
■ USA loses 35% of all meat and dairy to spoilage.
■ Japan wastes 100 billion $ worth of food each year.
■ India loses 14 billion $ of harvest each year.
■ In Africa, 25% of crops are lost before consumption
due to weather, insect infestations, pathogens or lack
of technology.
■ In London, 50% of all food bought is not eaten.
■ Every single day, the British throw away 4.4 mio
uneaten apples, 5.1 mio potatoes and 1.6 mio bananas
■ Recovering just 5% of the food that is wasted could
feed 4 million people a day.
Reduced product losses and improved energy
An important aspect of food production and
distribution is the amount of energy used. Various
studies come up with varying fi gures but,
in general, the food production sector accounts
for no less than 15-20 % of the entire energy
To feed 9 billion people by 2050, an increase in
food production is inevitable and this could lead
to a massive increase in energy consumption if
no actions are made in advance to prevent this. It
will be a major challenge with regard to climate
and environmental issues as well as the use of
non-renewable energy resources that today form
the basis of the modern world.
Energy effi ciency is therefore most likely to
become one of the important factors in a future
sustainable food system.
There are several energy expensive stages in the
food production processes and there are also
*many ways to address these issues. One example
is processed potato products where experts have
identifi ed 14 different stages that each requires
energy input. The most energy-consuming steps
are transporting (from harvest to storage to
production facility to wholesale warehouse to
retail warehouse to retail store) and processing
(only a few steps are shown in the scheme). In
both areas, it would be possible to save large
amounts of energy.
By analysing at which stages the energy use is
the highest, a targeted effort can be launched in
order to minimise the energy use and, thereby,
increase the effi ciency. It must be taken into account
that some processes (for example drying)
are essential; a total reduction of energy use in
all stages of a food production process is simply
Sustainability focuses overall on reducing the impact
on energy, water resources and climate while
still producing high quality foods for all. We
must bear this in mind when seeking to make
food production more effi cient.
– the processes needed to feed a population.
■ Growing
■ Harvesting
■ Processing
– Washing, grinding
– Extracting, fermenting, centrifuging
– Frying, drying, freezing
■ Packaging
■ Transporting
■ Marketing
■ Consumption
■ Disposal
– Dr. Dennis R. Heldman,
Adjunct Professor of Food Engineering,
University of California, Davis
15-20 % of the energy
used go to the food
system. We need an
improvement of the
energy effi ciency
It is impossible to make an accurate description of the food
markets on a global scale as the differences from country to
country and from region to region are immense. Two main
trends can be seen though:
■ A free and fair market place is vital to create a healthy
food sector.
■ Limited government intervention is a necessary idea in
order to prevent food crises and raise investments.
But what does it mean to have free trade, what is a free and
fair market, and to what extent can governments intervene
with success?
Free trade essentially means that countries open their markets
for each others’ goods and services, a process in which the
World Trade Organisation (WTO) is the pivotal point. WTO
currently has control of the import regulations. When it
comes to exports, governments can unfortunately do as they
please. Also, the international trade agreements have a tendency
to only cover agricultural products to a certain extent
which means that the positive results achieved in other sectors
do not automatically infl uence the agriculture and food production
There are winners and losers when it comes to implementations
of free trade. The losses are not just short-term. In
general, the growing world trade has over the years helped to
create much of the wealth in the developed countries – but
this trend is less clear when it comes to food products.
However, the national income of countries participating in
trade liberalisation will increase.
If levies were abandoned and subsidies cut down, the food
supply sector could become more international and dynamic
– and both farmers, the food processing industry and the
consumers would benefi t from it.
In some developing countries, farmers have no incentive to
sell their products on the market or they simply do not have
access to a transparent market place. To create such a free and
fair market place will be a diffi cult process but it is a necessity
if the agricultural sector is to have the capability of providing
enough food for both domestic consumption and export.
The tendency of people moving from rural areas to look for
better opportunities in the cities is not new and will certainly
continue. For this reason, it is important to make it possible
for farmers to maintain and develop their business so that the
migration eventually is based on personal will rather than a
necessity to survive.
The world’s agricultural trading system is stuck in the past. If
there ever was a time to cut distorting agricultural subsidies
and open markets for more free food imports/exports, it must
be now. Price controls and export taxes could discourage the
necessary additional investment in agricultural production;
this must be stopped.
It will also be a challenge to give all farmers (for
example small-holders in the development countries)
a fair deal; with limited infrastructure and
low level of education, their chance of getting a
fair price for their products is not as good as it
ought to be.
Therefore, it is necessary to implement safeguards
to protect the many uneducated farmers
in Africa who have a lot of experience in smallfarming
and supplying their own family or village
but have no or little understanding of how to sell
on a market. They need to learn more about how
to get a decent price for their products and, possibly,
also be motivated to scale up their activities
and become more than just small-farmers.
The creation of a free and fair market place does
not exclude governments from participating. On
the contrary, governments can help to reduce
the risk of food crises and they certainly need to
create a good framework for the farming sector
through policies, for example by adopting a comparative
advantage following strategy.
Unfortunately, it is diffi cult to create a truly
free and fair market place as there will always be
a tendency among governments to raise trade
barriers or impose new barriers for competing
agricultural products from abroad. These trade
distorting tendencies must be minimized.
– Justin Yifu Lin, Chief Economist and
Senior Vice President, The World Bank
The central need is to
ensure that the poorest
and most vulnerable
have access to the
food they need
The term ‘Good Governance’ is frequently used as
a reference in the cooperation between governments
in developing countries and aid organisations,
NGOs and governments. This term usually
covers themes such as democracy, respect for
human rights, respect for civil liberties, the rule of
law and transparency in the public administration.
According to Paarlberg, the governance challenge
as far as food security is concerned is to persuade
sovereign governments to provide the necessary
public goods that would ensure access to
adequate food.
Infrastructure is for example a means of ensuring
the delivery of goods and services that promote
prosperity and growth and contribute to quality
of life.
‘Governance’ is also an important factor in
improving the food supply systems of the poor
countries. The area of food production and distribution
is characterised by extensive regulation
by governments. Typical areas of regulation are:
■ Income and input price subsidies to producers
■ Food price subsidies to consumers
■ Trade restrictions
■ Exchange rate manipulation
■ Public investment (infrastructure, research)
■ State ownership or control of companies
■ Regulatory policies
■ Land policies
■ Tax policies
Even though the tools used are the same, the
implementation and consequences are different
in rich and poor countries.
In the rich countries, there is a ‘rural bias’ with
income subsidies to food producers – and more
expensive food for the consumers as a result.
In the poor countries, there is an ‘urban bias’
where food prices are subsidised which means
low prices for consumers but also low income for
producers. The result is high food production as
well as high farm income in the rich countries
and low food production and low farm income
in the poor countries.
This is a particular unfortunate situation in the
poor countries where many rural areas suffer
from government policies as described.
In the following years, many people from rural
areas are expected to move to the cities and,
thereby, rapidly increase the urban population.
Some consequences are that the demand for food
such as dairy products and meat will increase and
more people are likely to live in poverty in the
cities. In order to minimise the consequences of
this development, investment in proper infrastructure
between urban and rural areas is highly
needed. This will help facilitate the transportap
2006 2017 2028 2039 2050
Billion €
Source: Schmidhuber at al. 2009
Current level of investments
Need of investments
tion of the increased amounts of food needed
for the urban consumers. It will also create a
natural route from the cities to areas where work
is present.
The respect for private property must also be
seen as a protective measure against so-called
‘landgrabbing’ which has taken place in some
third world countries. ‘Landgrabbing’ covers a
trend where governments or companies (or both
in collusion) ‘grab’ land with no or little compensation
from local small-farmers whose families
have lived in the area for generations.
Whose responsibility is it to assure food security
in an age of globalisation? Is improved governance
at international level our greatest need or
are governance defi cits more severe at national
level? When national governments lag in assuring
food security for their own citizens, can outsiders
then help to make up the resulting governance
defi cit? Which role can bilateral donors and
international fi nancial institutions, such as the
World Bank, play?
If the food supply problems are to be solved
in developing countries, there is an urgent
need to work towards ‘good governance’; that
means investments in rural areas where there is
a shortage of public goods such as roads, energy
supply, clean water, schools and medical clinics.
Agricultural research is also under-fi nanced in
many countries despite the fact that research will
increase earnings in the long run.
The government action that is needed will of
course vary among countries and over time but
governments’ basic responsibility is to provide
public goods. Such government action will in the
long run increase food production, reduce poverty
and hunger and reduce the over-exploitation
of natural resources.
Governments must increase investments in roads, distribution systems, potable
water, electricity, information and communications technologies, storage and
postharvest technologies, and ensure that appropriate standards and regulations
are in place and enforced.
It is the duty of national governments to provide the public with means to boost
income and more importantly: feed its own people. Emphasis must also be put
on the responsibilities of international organisations and their cooperation with
national governments.
– Robert L. Paarlberg,
Professor Wellesley College
The most serious
governance defi cit in
the poor countries is
the failure to provide
rural public goods
Improved infrastructure (roads, distribution
systems, and communications) to physically
secure supply
The shift between urban and rural population introduces a
changing diet: the demand for meat and and dairy products
automatically increases.
Source: Olesen 2010
The challenges of the world’s food supply system
are manyfold; one thing they have in common
is the diffi culties of creating a truly sustainable
system – with regard to economic, social and
environmental issues.
A concept that could possibly provide a solution
is known as ‘full costing’; it is basically about
including all expenses into the price on food –
also the expenses that in the current food supply
system are not accounted for, such as environmental
damage or use of natural resources.
Full costing is at present not a fully operational
concept; it needs to be developed further and
there is not just one single way to implement it.
The basic principle of full costing is fairness
meaning that any impact through food production
on social or ecological systems should be
paid for in one way or another. This is not an
easy task but there are two possible roads to
follow – separately or in combination.
The fi rst option is basically to put all costs onto
the price of the goods produced. If for example
deforestation is the result of agricultural production
in an area, new trees must be planted and
such costs put on the price of the food produced.
The other option goes a step further and imposes
a tax regime which can be used not only to
compensate for the direct consequences of the
agricultural production, but also as an instrument
to limit or stop harmful practices and
encourage better ones.
These suggestions can be combined in two
different approaches. One in which farmers
are essentially paid for not damaging the
environment, for example if they refrain from
cutting down trees; the other one is a scheme
where damage to the environment is limited
through enforcement of fi nes.
Fully implemented, the concept of full costing
will also address the problems that arise from
uneducated small-holders creating damage to
the environment to survive. Money from the full
costing tax could be used for new technology or
in other ways to motivate local farmers to behave
in a sustainable way.
Research shows that farming moves through
phases. In the early phases, local farmers tend to
make use of methods that are harmful to nature
and can lead to depletion. In the later phases,
increased use of technology and a higher level of
education will lead to a much more sustainable
agricultural sector.
Full costing could speed up the process in
developing countries and, thus, lead to a fast
move from the unfortunate practices and onto a
globally sustainable agriculture and food sector.
The ‘full costing’ concept should be introduced as a ‘polluter pays’ principle
according to which all costs, including environmental, are refl ected in the
price of a product. It should be analysed how the balance between regulation
and incentive should be made.
Food in
CO2 kg
pr 1 MJ food
Beef 1.47
Firm cheese 0.84
Low-fat milk 0.59
Pork 0.46
Chicken, whole, fresh 0.41
Eggs 0.31
Onions 0.20
Rye bread, fresh 0.09
Wheat fl our 0.08
Carrots 0.08
White bread, fresh 0.07
Potatoes 0.06
Oatmeal 0.05
– Per Pinstrup-Andersen,
Professor, Cornell University
We should refl ect the
cost of the damage
done to the environment
in the production costs
The think tank of ATV who initiated this proje ct consists of :
Executive Director Helle Be chgaard , Bechgaard Consult ApS, Chairman of the think tank
Dean Nils Over gaard Ander sen, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen
Professor Anja Bo isen, Technical University of Denmark
Chairman Niel s Bo ser up, The Ot icon Foundation
CEO Cla us Hv iid Christensen, LORC (Lindoe Offshore Renewables Center)
Managing Director Lasse Skov by Rasmusson, Danish Academy of Technical Sciences
Professor Pe ter Roe pstorff , University of Southern Denmark
Executive Director He nrik Garver , Danish Association of Consulting Engineers
Director Lar s Gold schmidt, DI – Confederation of Danish Industry
The Danish Academy of Technical Sciences, ATV, is a private, independent institution, the object of which is to
promote technological and scientific research and ensure the application of research results to enhance the creation
of value and welfare in the Danish society. Read more at
Members of ATV’s Finance Council 2010
• Akademikernes Centralorganisation
• Arla Foods amba
• Atkins Danmark A/S
• Auriga Industries A/S
• Bang & Olufsen A/S
• Carlsberg A/S
• Coloplast A/S
• Copenhagen Business School
• Danfoss A/S
• Danisco A/S
• Danmarks Tekniske Universitet
• Dansk Metal
• Danske Bank
• Deloitte
• DI – Organisation for erhvervslivet
• DI Fødevarer
• DONG Energy
• E. Pihl & Søn A/S
• Ernst & Young
• FORCE Technology
• Forsikring & Pension
• H. Lundbeck A/S
• Haldor Topsøe A/S
• Højteknologifonden
• Industriens Fond
• Knud Højgaards Fond
• KPMG – Statsautoriseret Revisionspartnerselskab
• KU, Det Biovidenskabelige Fakultet
• Landbrug & Fødevarer
• LD (Lønmodtagernes Dyrtidsfond)
• MAN Diesel A/S
• Metal- og Maskinindustrien
• Monberg & Thorsen Holding A/S
• MT Højgaard a/s
• NCC Construction Danmark A/S
• NKT Holding A/S
• Nordea-fonden
• Nordic Sugar A/S
• Novo Nordisk A/S
• Novozymes A/S
• Nykredit
• Oticon A/S
• Patent- og Varemærkestyrelsen
• Per Aarsleff A/S
• PricewaterhouseCoopers
• Rambøll Danmark
• Siemens Danmark
• Scandinavian Tobacco Group A/S
• Statens Serum Institut
• SUND & BÆLT Holding A/S
• Tellabs Denmark
• Vestas Wind Systems A/S
• Aalborg Universitet
• Aarhus Universitet
Other contributors to ATV and for current
projects (2006 – 2010)
• A.P. Møller og Hustru Chastine McKinney Møllers Fond til
almene Formaal
• Carlsbergs Mindelegat for Brygger J.C. Jacobsen
• CO-industri
• Danmarks Tekniske Universitet
• Den Danske Maritime Fond
• DI – Organisation for erhvervslivet
• DONG Energy
• E jnar og Meta Thorsens Fond
• Fabrikant Mads Clausens Fond
• Foreningen af Rådgivende Ingeniører, FRI
• Frederiksberg Kommune
• Handel, Transport og Service, HTS
• Haldor Topsøe
• Industriens Arbejdsgivere i København
• Industriens Fond
• Ingeniørforeningen i Danmark, IDA
• Karl Pedersens og Hustrus Industrifond
• Knud Højgaards Fond
• Københavns Kommune
• Lemvigh-Müller Fonden
• Metal- og Maskinindustrien
• Novozymes
• Novo Nordisk
• Odense Kommune
• Oticon Fonden
• Otto Bruuns Fond
• Otto Mønsteds Fond
• Provinsindustriens Arbejdsgiverforening
• Siemens
• Siemensfonden
• Thomas B. Thriges Fond
• Transport- og Energiministeriet
• Udenrigsministeriet
• Ørestadsselskabet
• Aarhus Kommune
• Aalborg Kommune
Chairman Thor kild E. Jensen, Dansk Metal
Executive Director Asger Kej , DHI Group
Director Jesper Ko ngstad , Danish Patent and Trademark Office
Professor Jakob Stoustrup, University of Aalborg
Executive Director Ernst Tiede mann, FORCE Technology
Professor Leif Øster gaard , Aarhus Hospital
Akade miet for de Te kniske Vide nskaber Lundt oftevej 266, 2800 Kongens Lyngby
Telefon +45 45 88 13 11
[email protected]
September 2010
sponsor s
&Karl Pedersen

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