The original version of this article, by Marissa Mommaerts, appeared on the Aspen Institute’s blog.
The first months of this year brought the second global food price crisis in just three years, with soaring food prices against a backdrop of bad weather, poor harvests, and political turmoil in North Africa
and the Middle East
. This year will see another milestone: the planet’s population is set to surpass seven billion, with most of the population growth occurring in countries least equipped to meet rising demands on agriculture and the environment. As part of its 7 Billion: Conversations that Matter
roundtable series, the Aspen Institute’s Global Health and Development Program
brought together three experts to discuss “The Revolution We Need in Food Security and Population
” on April 12.
Dan Glickman, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Congressional Program and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, noted that one out of every seven people worldwide already go hungry. The pressures on the food supply will only increase with world demand, which is expected to double in the first half of the 21st century due to structural factors such as changing diets from rising incomes and growth in population.
Echoing his recent op-ed in the Daily Caller, Glickman underscored that volatility in the price of food commodities and the resulting food insecurity create conditions ripe for political instability – as was manifested by food riots in 30 countries during the previous food crisis (2007-2008) and the role of anger at high food prices in the recent upheavals in Egypt and Tunisia. Because of the issue’s profound implications for public health, human rights, and global security, he explained, the U.S. has revamped its efforts “to rebuild food self-sufficiency in the developing world,” primarily through its new Feed the Future initiative.
Continue reading and watch video of the event on the Aspen Institute’s blog.