When it comes to agriculture, crop yields that soared in the years after the Second World War are flat-lining, while soil nutrients are being drained by unsustainable farming methods and land is being cleared to grow feed for livestock thanks to the rising demand for meat.
So how do we keep feeding the growing population without destroying the planet?
There are changes emerging, with researchers seeking solutions and the start-up and capital culture gaining ground - particularly in hotter climates where crop roots need to be kept at optimum temperatures. Global investment in agricultural technology has also been rising from $500m in 2012 to $4.6bn in 2015. Despite this, just 3.5% of capital investments go to agriculture although it's responsible for 10% of global GDP.
We need to look at ways to improve current farming, as well as explore new technologies, better supply chain solutions and superior crop breeding, for example, natural ways to get a higher level of chromosomes. We also need to consider it from another angle; the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation estimated that around 1.3bn tonnes of food is wasted globally per year - that's approximately one third of total production. A large proportion of this waste is the result of short shelf lives and logistical difficulties but there has also been relatively little investment in this area. It's important for all stakeholders - from seed growers to consumers - to make a cohesive and concerted effort to reduce food waste to enable us to feed more of the global population and reduce levels of hunger.
At Aviko, we're continually working to reduce our levels of waste, it's part of our wider sustainability programme. This efficiency does not stop at our factories - it also extends to our customers. By developing frozen, portioned and easily prepared products with long holding times, it enables caterers to reduce their waste levels and become part of the solution.
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