Major NGO gets it right. Global agriculture faces a challenge. But with will and goodwill we can freeze the footprint of food.

posted in: Syndicated | 22
At last the Pundit is seeing a major NGO (namely the WWF) say many of the things that he has been trying to popularise for several years at GMO Pundit and elsewhere.

As we peer into the future of this planet, globally farm management faces an immense challenge. Indeed we do.

The mindless chants by some NGOs “that we have plenty of food” and that more productive farming methods are not needed are put aside. Better still there is clear advocacy of realistic and constructive action:

Freeze the footprint of food
Jason Clay identifies eight steps that, taken together, could enable farming to feed 10 billion people and keep Earth habitable.

In the past 18 months, members of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academia and the private sector have come together to develop ways to reform the global food system by increasing food production without damaging biodiversity. Groups such as the Global Harvest Initiative ( and the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative ( are working to freeze the footprint of food.
It is a daunting challenge. An estimated 70 percent of the land that is suitable for growing food is already in use or under some form of protection. For 50 years, farmland has grown at 0.4 percent a year, at the cost of natural habitat. In the past decade, as developing economies have grown, this has increased to 0.6 percent and, with it, more biodiversity has been lost.

Jason Clay
Nature 475, 287–289 (21 July 2011) doi:10.1038/475287a
Published online 20 July 2011

The whole article is a must-read for all environmentalists.

Thank you Jason Clay, you join Patrick Moore, Stewart Brand, Mark Lynas, and Matt Ridley among the rational ecopragmatist turqs. The Pundit prays that you don’t allow belief based ideology cloud the argument once you move away from the professional science journals.

But wait, this just in:
Global Research Coalition Approves Six New Cutting-Edge Agriculture, Food and Natural Resource Programs to Sustainably Boost Food Security Worldwide ‎( from CGIAR Consortium Office)‎
What a great day for sustainable agriculture!


Agriculture network approves $1 billion research programmes – July 22, 2011 (Nature News)
One of the world’s major agricultural research networks, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), has announced progress in a multi-year effort to bump up its funding and overhaul its organization and aims.
CGIAR, which involves 15 global research centres and supports some 8,000 scientists and staff, said yesterday that its donors had given approval for six more research programmes worth around $957 million over three years, adding to the five already approved late last year and in April. (Another four are waiting for approval – full list here)…. continues at link

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David Tribe is an applied geneticist, teaching graduate/undergrad courses in food science, food safety, biotechnology and microbiology at the University of Melbourne.