Cutting down crop waste could feed 3 billion

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Cutting down crop waste could feed 3 billion Empty Cutting down crop waste could feed 3 billion

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:20 pm

Feeding the world sustainably is a global challenge. But reforming food production in only a few regions could increase crop yields enough to feed an extra 3 billion people and reduce damage to the environment, researchers report today in Science1.

Ecologist Paul West of the University of Minnesota in St Paul and his colleagues used comprehensive calculations based on a cornucopia of disparate data and methods to estimate calories produced, used and wasted around the world. “It became obvious that, wow, there’s actually just a few countries and crops that explain most of the story at global levels,” says West.

The largest gains would come from eating more of what we harvest, which means reducing the proportion of crops used for biofuels and to feed livestock, especially cattle. The team estimates that beef requires many times more calories in animal feed than it provides. In places like the upper Midwestern United States, “we’re feeding cars and cows instead of people”, says West. The whole world puts enough crops to non-food uses to feed 4 billion people, with the United States, China, Western Europe and Brazil diverting enough to feed 2.4 billion.


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