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At the Economist event,Feeding the World Summit in Amsterdam, the Chief Operating Officer of Valagro spoke about food insecurity.
This is a very relevant issue, in view of the forthcoming “Feeding the Planet. Energy for Life - EXPO2015”, due to open in Milan on May 1st
Prem Warrior, Chief Operating Officer at Valagro, the leading company in the production and commercialization of biostimulants and specialty nutrients, highlighted the main macro-trends that are shaping global agriculture and that will be able to provide an effective solution to the problems of hunger and food insecurity.
This is a problem with particular relevance in view of the forthcoming EXPO2015, due to open on May 1st, whose special theme will be Feeding the Planet. Energy for Life.
Undernutrition now affects 925 million people worldwide, causing 36 million deaths a year. Paradoxically, however, there are also 1.3 billion people who are obese and over-nourished, with over 29 million deaths a year caused by bad eating habits. And there are food wastes as well as postharvest losses which contribute to the scarcity.
While in the developed world this problem needs to be confronted mainly by promoting better lifestyles, in developing nations there is an urgent need to empower agriculture to meet a demand for food which still remains generally unsatisfied.
In this context, Prem Warrior underlined the main macro-trends that can help to fight the battle against the inequitable distribution of food: precision agriculture, the use of new technology to enhance nutrition and biostimulants are shaping global agriculture.
Prem Warrior pointed out: “Biostimulants can make a very effective contribution towards meeting the challenge posed by the increased demand for food resulting from a constantly expanding world population. These formulations contain substances and/or microorganisms which, when applied to plants or soil, have the capacity to regulate and improve the physiological processes of crops, thus making them more efficient. Biostimulants are able to enhance efficiency in the metabolism of plants, leading to an increase in the amount and quality of the harvest. They can boost the tolerance of plants towards abiotic stress and their ability to recover from such factors. Finally, they can promote the assimilation, distribution and use of nutrients.” According to the data presented by the COO of Valagro, in the immediate future we will be facing an ever-increasing need to produce more with fewer resources.
In the next 20 years, we will be requiring 50% more food, 30% more water and 50% more energy, in order to feed 1.2 billion more people in the world. Nevertheless, over the last 20 years the increase in population has been much greater than the increase in yield per hectare of cultivated land, without taking into account the fact that the total world surface of cultivated land has now shrunk to 32%.
Biostimulants can help to satisfy our demand for food, while at the same time protecting the environment. It is estimated that just within the European Union, biostimulants can contribute to an increase in agricultural production of about 4 million tons, the equivalent of an extra 0.6%*, with an annual reduction in CO2 emissions of 0.8 million tons, the equivalent of 0.3%**. The current value of the biostimulants market in the EU is estimated to be between 350 and 400 million Euros***.
Prem Warrior went on to say: “I am proud to be representing Valagro at the Feeding the World Summit. Thanks to our continuing investments in research and development, we are a company committed to providing innovative and effective solutions for plant nutrition and care while enhancing productivity and sustainably. Thus, Valagro is prepared to face the challenges posed by EXPO2015 to all parties, governments included, who are now required to give answers with regard to food security and environmental sustainability”.
* Data processed by Valagro, based on figures from EBIC and FAOSTAT
** Data processed by Valagro, based on figures from EBIC, FAOSTAT EEA greenhouse gas by Agriculture Field, European Environment Agency
*** Data processed by Valagro, based on figures from EBIC