Global food security
A report into global food security, commissioned by the UK government, has called for instant action in order to avert global hunger. The Foresight Report on Food and Farming Futures predicts that, with the world population expected to reach 8.3 billion over the next 20 years, demand for food is set to increase by some 40 percent, fresh water by 30 percent, and energy by up to 50 percent. The study postulates that the conditions are being created for a 'perfect storm' of growing population, climate change and diminishing resources for food production.
Answers to global future food challenges
With the highest population density in Europe and agricultural land at a premium, the Netherlands has for many years had a strong focus on intensive agriculture, new food technology, and sustainable methods of production, with the food sector being one of the main drivers of the Dutch economy. The Netherlands is also a hotbed of R&D in the area of food technology, thanks to its world-class research institutes and strong links between academia and industry. As a result, Holland may already have some of the answers to the world's future food challenges. Whether it involves being able to grow potatoes in brackish ground, investigating the potential of protein and mineral-rich sea-lettuce, or designing complete, indoor, home farms, the Dutch food sector is constantly pushing the envelope to come up with novel solutions to the challenges posed by globalization and climate change.
Image: Source: Netherlands Enterprise Agency
Radically changed food production
The Foresight Report - the culmination of a two-year study, covering a number of disciplines and involving 400 experts from 35 countries - is considered to be the first to address global food security fears based on a solid analytical footing. The report goes on to state that the current food production system will need to be radically changed in order to produce more food, and to produce it in a sustainable manner.
Food production in the Netherlands
Food production in the Netherlands often calls for out-of-the-box thinking and finding new solutions to real-life problems, echoing those identified in the Foresight Report. With this focus on food, the Netherlands is well placed to provide the world with answers to the inevitable shortages set to challenge the supply chain in the coming years.
Listed below are a number of Dutch organizations currently involved in tackling the themes of food research, development and sustainable production in interesting and innovative ways.
- Foodvalley - Food and agriculture cluster
- Tifn - Top Institute Food & Nutrition
- Wageningen University - leading academic institution in food R&D
- Tno -The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research
- Oasefundation - Sustainable agriculture in saline locations
- Plantlab - Private-public partnership for food research
- Dacom - Controlled irrigation systems
- Voltea - Water desalination