Click for next page ( 66


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 65
PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF 4 POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, AND INSTITUTIONAL OPPORTUNITIES AND BARRIERS The last segment of the workshop focused on what changes (in public policy and regulatory institutions, markets and other economic institutions dominated by the private sector, and social and cultural institutions) would be needed to raise the probabilities for ensuring that food availabilities in 2050 respond to global food demands and the nutritional needs of more than 9 billion people. The session began with discussions on environmental externalities and the costs of natural resource degradation; political economy issues, priorities and political will; and incentives and limitations to action by civil society and private sector. The last panel session considered ways to confront trade-offs, remove national and international externalities, seek multiple wins, and establish coalitions as well as partnerships to ensure sustainable food security for all. EXTERNALITIES: THE COSTS OF NATURAL RESOURCE DEGRADATION36 Jason Clay, World Wildlife Fund Jason Clay began his presentation by stating that environmental externalities are those impacts to the environment that are not included in a product’s price—the impacts are external to pricing. They are, in effect, subsidies. In this case, however, they are not subsidies from government but rather subsidies from nature. And, in value, the subsidies from nature probably represent as much as ten times all the subsidies from governments combined. Two considerations are important when thinking about environmental externalities. First, on a finite planet with increasing population and consumption, we will be hard pressed to pass off the costs of production and consumption to the planet. WWF’s Living Planet Report (2010) suggests that we are already living at 1.5 planets—that is, that we are living beyond the ability of the planet to replenish renewable resources, much less the nonrenewable ones. As we add more people who consume on average even more than today, environmental externalities will pose more significant threats to our ability to produce food, amongst other things. The particularly worrisome issue is that technology gains (e.g., in the case of food genetics, equipment, BMPs, etc.) are not able to keep pace with, and help mitigate, the current drawdown on our natural resource base. The second consideration is whether sustainability should be considered a luxury or a necessity. In today’s markets, the question is how much more will consumers pay for sustainable products than for unsustainable ones. Perhaps, given that we are currently consuming resources on a finite planet faster than they can regenerate, unsustainable products should perhaps cost more than sustainable ones. 36 The presentation is available at http://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/sustainability/foodsecurity/PGA_062564, presentation by Jason Clay (May 4, 2011). 65

OCR for page 65
PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF From our experience dealing with subsidies in agriculture, we know that when producers are subsidized, there is less incentive to be more efficient, and innovation comes only when farmers are forced to survive and even thrive without external support. On a finite planet, the cost of externalities will need to be factored into prices. Given shortages of arable land, water, phosphate and potassium, we will probably see markets begin to address these issues. The question is whether it will be fast enough to avert a food security crisis. Put another way, the question is whether consumers should pay the real costs of production? As arable land, soil fertility, and health and water scarcity are all increasing issues globally, we need to figure out how the relative cost of food can possibly continue to decline. In the United States, we pay the least, at just over 10 percent of household income. Agriculture is currently the largest threat to the planet of any human activity. It is the leading cause of habitat conversion and deforestation. The key crops on the agriculture frontier are beef, soy and palm oil. Agriculture uses twice as much water as all other human uses combined, and currently it takes about 1 liter of water to produce one calorie of food globally. Some 12–15 major rivers run dry at least part of the year. Agriculture is the largest source of pollution and not just in developing countries where agriculture is the primary economic activity but also in the United States and UK. Agriculture uses more chemicals than any other human activity. And, finally, as a result of agricultural practices over the past 150 years, we have lost an estimated 50 percent of remaining top soil around the world. Although the impacts of large-scale, commercial agriculture and small-scale less intensive or more subsistence oriented agriculture are different, it is not clear which forms of agriculture have the most impacts. It depends on the issues being compared and the methodologies being used. What is clear moving forward, however, is that regardless of the technologies in use or the scales of production, whatever per capita impacts are acceptable with 7 billion people will not be with 10 billion. To put it another way, the issue going forward with regard to producing more with less is how to think, not what to think. We need to focus more on the desired results and less on the means to achieve them. Adopting a BMP (better management practice) approach will achieve compliance, but it won’t stimulate innovation. If we want innovation, we should identify the results we want and let producers and others find different ways to achieve them. This will stimulate the development of a range of new BMPs, some of which will produce results that far exceed those we think are now possible. As the old adage goes, you manage what you measure. So what should we measure? Taking into account the fact that producing anything has impacts, the issue moving forward will be to define which are acceptable and which are not. We also need to shift our thinking from maximizing any one variable to optimizing several of them. For example, total productivity is perhaps less important than production per key inputs (e.g., water, soil, N, P, K, pesticides, etc.). In terms of protein, we might measure grams of protein consumed as feed versus grams of protein coming out as food. Most environmental impacts of producing food are not included in the prices paid to farmers and then passed on to buyers. Water is a good case in point. The following table shows the amount of water it takes to grow raw materials used as ingredients to manufacture four common products. The amount the farmer was paid was insufficient to pay a decent price for water, much less all the other expenses farmers have in producing any of the crops. 66

OCR for page 65
PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF Table 4-1 Externalities, Products and Prices--The Case of Water Raw Material Input Water to Produce Input Farm Gate Price 1 cotton T-shirt 4 oz. ginned 500-2,000 liters US$0.20 (Australia) 1 Liter of soda 6 T. sugar 175-250 liters US$0.006 (Brazil) 1 oz. slice of cheese 6 oz. milk 40 liters US$0.03 (USA) 1 double-quarter pounder 8 oz. hamburger 3,000-15,000 liters US$0.26 (USA) SOURCE: Clay, J. W. 2009. The Political Economy of Water and Agriculture. pp. 29-37 in Water and Agriculture: Implications for Development and Growth. Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies. We cannot measure every environmental externality. We need to focus on those that are the most critical. It would also be strategic to focus on those that already have markets. We should use markets to incorporate those values into pricing. For example, we have carbon markets, so ideally we could develop markets to pay farmers for their carbon along with other products they produce. This carbon could include what is sequestered as well as what is avoided. The unit would be in CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) emissions. As water becomes more scarce, water markets are beginning to develop. And as farmers are confronted with higher prices for water, they use it more efficiently. Farmers, too, are beginning to find that addressing environmental externalities can make them more productive and more profitable. For example, farmers who maintain or improve soil quality have to buy fewer soil amendments. Farmers in Brazil and Indonesia have found that buying degraded land and rehabilitating it for soy and oil palm is more profitable than is clearing forests or other natural habitat. In fact, in Brazilian farmers make more money growing soil than growing soy, when one takes into account the increased value of land from increasing soil carbon (Landers, 2007). In fact, for every 0.5 percent soil carbon they introduce into the soil, they reduce their input use, on average, by about 10 percent. In another case, Central American coffee producers have found that they can increase coffee production by up to 30 percent if they maintain sufficient habitat to accommodate pollinators. We live on a finite planet. We have limited resources, but both population and per capita consumption are increasing. We need to protect the planet’s resources for future generations. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Addressing environmental externalities will increase the price of food. However, eroding our resource base will also increase the cost of producing food. As the Oromo of Ethiopia say, “You can’t wake a person who’s pretending to sleep.” We need to wake up to the fact that we live on a finite planet. POLITICAL ECONOMY ISSUES, PRIORITIES AND POLITICAL WILL37 Robert Paarlberg, Wellesley College How can we persuade government officials to take the actions needed to increase global food security? If there were an easy answer to this question, it would have been done already. 37 The presentation is available at http://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/sustainability/foodsecurity/PGA_062564, presentation by Robert Paarlberg (May 4, 2011). 67

OCR for page 65
PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF Robert Paarlberg focused his discussion on the policy actions in greatest need of change: the public investment policies of national governments in Africa. He focused on Africa because this is the only region where food security is certain to worsen in the years ahead under a business as usual scenario. He also focused on public investment policies because policies in other areas-- including exchange rate policies, fiscal policies, market policies, tariff policies, and regulatory policies--have improved significantly in Africa since the 1980s. Only public investment policies are lagging behind. Africa’s rural investment deficits become conspicuous to anyone travelling in the countryside. African governments must spend more on rural roads, rural power, agricultural R&D, agricultural extension, and small-scale agricultural irrigation. Weak public support for these investments has been holding back the productivity of the smallholder sector in Africa, perpetuating the poverty and hence the food insecurity of this large segment (on average 60 percent) of the population. Roughly 70 percent of all farmers in Africa live more than a 30 minute walk from the nearest all weather road, so most household transport still consists of carrying things on foot (Calvo, 1998). These high transport costs make inputs like fertilizer too expensive at the farm gate, and they reduce incentives to grow a surplus for the market. Also, only 4 percent of farmland in Africa is irrigated, and almost nobody has access to electrical power, powered machinery, veterinary services, or public extension agents. These deficits all persist because governments in Africa continue to devote only about 5 percent of their public budgets (on average) to agricultural development. The Government of India, in the early years of the Green Revolution, devoted more than 20 percent of its public budget to agricultural development. African leaders pledged in 2003 to increase their investment level to 10 percent, but only a handful delivered on that pledge. How can governments in Africa be persuaded to meet their own promise and double their current investments in agricultural development? We can’t count on farmers in Africa to demand this change in policy, because farmers in Africa have a weak political voice. Most are women, not literate, not politically organized, not armed, and physically remote from each other and from the capital city. We also cannot count on intergovernmental organizations--such as the special agencies of the United Nations (like FAO)--to perform this task. FAO resolutions, passed at “food summits” in Rome, are non-binding and unfunded. We also cannot count on international NGOs to persuade African governments to redirect their spending. These NGOs have little influence over African spending decisions; the rural services delivered by NGOs can even give governments an excuse to do less, rather than more. In the end, the job of encouraging national governments in Africa to make larger public investments in the farming sector falls heavily on the bilateral and multilateral donor community. Here, of course, a second problem arises. It is not just African governments that have under- invested in agriculture over the past three decades; it is the donor community as well. Between 1980 and 2006, United States official development assistance to agriculture in Africa declined by 86 percent. This, at a time when food grain production was falling on a per capita basis in Africa, with numbers of chronically malnourished people doubling. Between 1978 and 2006, the share of World Bank lending that went for agricultural development also declined, from 30 percent down to just 8 percent. So instead of persuading African governments to spend more on agriculture, the donor community spent most of the past three decades signaling that less spending would be appropriate. Have the international food price spikes of the past three years persuaded donors and African governments to correct their under-investment tendencies at last? In response to the 68

OCR for page 65
PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF 2008 price spike, the donors did pledge to do better. At a meeting in Italy in 2009, the G8 countries pledged to increase their agricultural assistance to at least $20 billion over the coming three years, despite the financial crisis they were experiencing at the time. But then, even as international food prices were again trending upward in 2010, this aid revival effort faltered. Austerity policies reduced the willingness of donors in Europe to increase their assistance to agriculture, and Congressional appropriators dragged their feet in the United States as well. The Obama administration tried hard to meet its G8 pledge level of $1.2 billion a year for agriculture, even requesting $1.8 billion in FY11 for what it was now calling a “Feed the Future” initiative. But in the end, Congress appropriated only $913 million, and the FY12 appropriation will be more difficult, with the House of Representatives now under control of Tea -Party influenced Republicans. Other ominous signs included a 19 percent Congressional cut in appropriations for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which funds rural infrastructure projects in Africa, plus defeat of the Lugar-Casey 2009 Global Food Security Act, a bipartisan measure that would have authorized a larger USAID effort in agricultural infrastructure, education, and R&D in Africa. This worthy measure passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously in 2009 but was blocked by a single senator, on budget grounds, and never came to a vote on the Senate floor. So, there are actually two categories of policy officials now failing to pass the “political will” test: governments in Africa and decision makers in the donor community. Paarlberg stated that this should not be framed as a money problem, because the alternative to investing more today in African agriculture will not be cheap. It will be an endless demand in Africa for expensive food aid. INCENTIVES AND LIMITATIONS TO ACTION BY CIVIL SOCIETY38 Brian Greenberg, InterAction Brian Greenberg began his presentation with an overview of the civil society sector and the work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as it relates to agricultural development and food security. He noted that generalizations about “civil society” or the “NGO sector” should be made cautiously. These broad terms encompass a wide range of organizations that play diverse roles in international agricultural development and food security. International NGOs, local civil society groups, community service organizations, cooperatives, and associations of many types are grouped under this broad label. Operational models range from charitable, mission-driven approaches to not-for-profit businesses and encompass both faith-based and secular organizations. Civil society activities span policy analysis, programs, research and advocacy, and reflect a wide range of political, social and economic objectives. With an ability to mobilize about $6–9 billion annually for development and humanitarian assistance, the civil society sector rightly considers itself a significant donor. NGO investments in agricultural development remained relatively stable in recent decades, as major donors greatly reduced their levels of official assistance. InterAction’s Food Security Aid Map (http://foodsecurity.ngoaidmap.org) displays nearly 800 currently active NGO programs in food security, a number representing a fraction of the global total. As observers have noted, 38 The presentation is available at http://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/sustainability/foodsecurity/PGA_062564, presentation by Brian Greenberg (May 4, 2011). 69

OCR for page 65
PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF coordination and alignment of these investments has sometimes been a challenge for this community. The agricultural development and food security programs of NGOs reflect a spectrum of motives and missions. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), human rights and a belief in the importance of civil society’s “third way”--a critical counterbalance to the dominant power of the private sector and governments--are unifying principles within this community. Characteristic strengths and capabilities of NGOs include sustained community engagement, the use of predominantly local staff, and a reliance on partnerships with other civil society organizations, governments and the private sector. Productivity gains and market participation that serve the interests of smallholders are important to the NGO agricultural development community. A commitment to building the capacity of local counterparts is increasingly a feature of international NGO (INGO) programs. The realization that many indicators of food security have been moving in the wrong direction in recent years has made an appreciation of the importance of food security programs close to universal among NGOs. With nearly 1 billion people now chronically undernourished, and with demand for additional production often contributing further to environmental degradation, an attitude of humility about the record of development in addressing these problems is widespread in the NGO community. Aid effectiveness principles rooted in the Paris and Accra declarations are proving important touchstones for the NGO community. Yet though “country ownership” has been advanced by governments as centrally important, and though they have pledged to create more enabling environments for civil society roles in development, actual measures to mobilize and partner with civil society to achieve development objectives have been limited. Community engagement and mutual accountability are areas of current NGO advocacy to make aid effectiveness principles more a reality than a promise. To achieve the spirit of the Paris and Accra declarations, the NGO Open Forum has created a set of accountability and transparency principles for the sector with the goal of inducing greater alignment and collaboration with governments. Another critical touchstone for the NGO community has been an appreciation of the centrality of women to development outcomes. Gender-relational approaches to engaging and empowering women, in which the attitudes and behaviors of men are understood as a root cause of gender disparities, are increasingly influential. Human capital, technical capacity, organizational development, and effective partnerships are remaining challenges for the NGO community. Realizing that the magnitude of development challenges requires an “all hands on deck” mobilization, ways to partner more broadly and effectively are among the most urgent needs. Another important response to the scale of rural poverty and hunger has been efforts to achieve closer alignment and greater consistency in the approaches and objectives of civil society organizations, the private sector and governments. The leverage or synergy that will be needed among all development organizations to achieve the MDGs is proving a powerful inducement to expanded consultations and coordination. Another set of challenges is rooted in difficulties in addressing the root causes of poverty and hunger. Many programs tackle one or a few dimensions of what are typically very complex and interwoven problems. Lingering sectoral and disciplinary loyalties pose challenges in tailoring program responses to the multi-causal sources of real world problems. Food price rises, for example, are a product of complex contributing factors rooted in imperfect markets, rising energy costs, tariff and trade rules, biofuel demand and commodity speculation. Most 70

OCR for page 65
PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF agricultural development programs do not address or lack the mandate to tackle this sort of complex challenge. Another persistent and critical constraint has been weak public and political understanding of foreign assistance and its links to diplomatic and security concerns. This lack of understanding has in part been responsible for the fall in support for agricultural development in recent decades. In an environment of greatly reduced resources for development assistance, it remains to be seen whether the trend of underinvestment in agriculture can be reversed by recently escalating food prices and the rising number of hungry people. An emphasis in policy making and government circles on short-term outcomes--despite the reality that rural development is a long term process--poses a persistent challenge for programs in the field. Widespread market failures in providing key inputs, information and labor resources, and in offering small scale producers reasonable rewards for their output, continue to be all too typical of rural areas in many countries. The persistent marginalization of women, and the restriction of rights, mobility, safety and security of assets that they need to become effective economic agents, is perhaps the greatest brake to rural development. At the strategic or existential level, the greatest threat to sustained rural development is a lack of appreciation for the critical importance of environmental health and stability in agricultural production. The nature and magnitude of environmental constraints is not widely understood or appreciated. Beliefs that destructive production systems can be compensated for with ever-greater inputs of fertilizer, water and pesticides continue as mainstream in many agricultural development circles. Strategies and techniques for securing greater production from smallholders in the face of escalating environmental degradation and scarcity are urgently needed. From the standpoint of mission-drive civil society organizations trying to improve the lives of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations, a more supportive and enabling policy, legal and regulatory environment for their operations is among the highest priorities. Too often, governments perceive NGOs as political threats because of the work they do, the credibility they gain and the loyalty they secure within the communities where they work. Too often, governments choose not to engage or choose to carefully marginalize civil society in setting development strategy, building capacity on all sides, implementing programs and monitoring the benefits delivered to those most in need. NGOs will continue to work towards programs that appropriately integrate across sectors, such as environment and gender, that have frequently been stove-piped. This will entail less precedence and unchallenged priority for the disciplines that have traditionally dominated agricultural development: economics and agronomy. As the cross-cutting and complex nature of development challenges becomes better appreciated, approaches and insights from the social sciences, ecology, gender, community engagement and local governance, etc., will need to be more actively solicited and integrated into lasting development solutions. INCENTIVES AND LIMITATIONS TO ACTION BY THE PRIVATE SECTOR39 Dennis Treacy, Smithfield Foods 39 The presentation is available at http://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/sustainability/foodsecurity/PGA_062564, presentation by Dennis Treacy (May 4, 2011). 71

OCR for page 65
PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF Modern, large-scale animal agriculture is a crucial component of the sustainability challenge. Smithfield Foods Inc.’s (Smithfield’s) experience in producing safe, nutritious and affordable food in a responsible manner illustrates how key business priorities can stimulate sustainable practices and environmental benefits. Government and society have the potential to create both barriers and incentives to sustainability. Misinformation in the current public discourse on food and agriculture is often based on ideology, not sound science or fact. This influences public opinion and policy and remains a threat to true sustainability. It is imperative that thought leaders such as the National Academies--the nation's preeminent source of high-quality, objective advice on science, engineering, and health matters--balance the dialogue and shape sound policies, inform public opinion, and advance the pursuit of sustainable food production. Dennis Treacy provided an overview of Smithfield’s experience in sustainable intensification, with examples of existing barriers and limitations to sustainable food production, as well as opportunities that may enhance sustainable practices. Smithfield’s Programs Over the years, Smithfield grew from a regional meat company to a global food supplier with operations currently in twelve countries and sales to nearly forty. Today, Smithfield Foods is the world’s largest producer and processor of pork, offering consumers more than 50 brands of pork products as well as more than 200 gourmet foods. During the past twenty years of rapid growth, Smithfield has been building comprehensive sustainability programs step by step. The company began by focusing principally on environmental compliance in order to address enforcement issues arising during the 1990s (Smithfield Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) Report, 2009/2010). It revamped internal departments, creating new positions to oversee a new environmental approach and apply consistent practices, policies, and procedures across the company. It developed an internal environmental compliance review program to determine where gaps were occurring and how to fix them (Smithfield CSR, 2009/10). The company implemented a structured, systematic approach through a comprehensive environmental management system (EMS) based on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 program.40 Smithfield’s were the first hog farms in the United States to go through the ISO process. Before long, the company became the world’s first livestock production company to receive EMS certification under the rigorous standards established by ISO. Once the EMS program was established for Smithfield’s hog operations, the company adopted it for domestic and international processing facilities. Today, 578 farms and facilities, or more than 95 percent of Smithfield’s operations worldwide, are ISO 14001 certified (Smithfield CSR, 2009/2010). These efforts have resulted not only in great strides in environmental performance, but also in making more food using fewer natural resources. For example, while the company has grown into a global company, the company has also achieved over the past five years a 60 percent water efficiency improvement at first processing facilities (which produce whole cuts of meat) on a normalized basis, a 22 percent reduction in electricity use at company farms, and a 4 percent absolute reduction in our direct and indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Last year, we estimated that these improvements and environmental improvements have reduced company 40 See Environmental Management System/ISO 14001. http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/wastewater/Environmental- Management-System-ISO-14001-Frequently-Asked-Questions.cfm. Accessed on September 29, 2011. 72

OCR for page 65
PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF costs by $100 million over that time period (Smithfield CSR, 2009/2010). This estimate will likely increase substantially in 2011. While these changes first arose from the desire to achieve better compliance, these efforts have continued, accelerated, and expanded in response to business priorities--our focus on high margin/high volume products and improved capacity utilization, responding to customer preferences, achieving cost reductions through more efficient operations, and improving employee health and safety. Moreover, what began with an environmental focus has expanded to each of the company’s five key sustainable performance areas: environment, animal welfare, food safety and quality, communities and employees. The company has utilized its EMS model and approach to each of these core areas and has experienced similar progress under each (Smithfield CSR, 2009/2010). Smithfield has continued to work on embedding sustainability concepts in its company culture, emphasizing leadership, performance and accountability. In 2002, the company produced its first Corporate Social Responsibility Report, detailing early improvements in the environmental arena and, through stakeholder input, now uses the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) metrics as the basis for documenting the environmental, social and economic impacts of its operations.41 Market Demand for Protein The United Nations projects that world population will reach at least 9 billion people by 2050 and has called for an increase in world food production by 100 percent within the same timeframe. Global demand for and consumption of animal protein, particularly in rapidly developing countries such as Brazil and China, will continue to increase, although the levels there are still below the levels of consumption in most other industrialized countries. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) suggests that global meat production and consumption will rise from 233 million tonnes (2000) to 300 million tonnes (2020). This demand is caused in part by the growth in the human population but also because of urbanization and the increasing affluence of the emerging economies and the growth of the middle class. The high-value protein that the livestock sector offers improved nutrition for these new consumers and also provides an important source of a wide range of nutrients. For many people in the world, particularly in developing countries, livestock products remain a desired food for nutritional value and taste. If this demand is to be met, providers of animal protein, including meat, dairy and fish, must focus on more intensive farming and yield, improvements in natural resource management, and advances in technology. Barriers and Limitations Unbalanced reporting and outright misinformation in popular writing about modern, large scale agriculture can encourage barriers and limitations to sustainable intensification. A casual web search easily reveals numerous articles with negative headlines but little in terms of actual research or factual support. In contrast, a recent study published in the February 2011 edition of Foodborne Pathogens and Disease details a remarkable success story about how modern swine production has largely eradicated common pathogens endemic to swine, but it has garnered very little 41 See Global Reporting Initiative. http://www.globalreporting.org/Home. Accessed on October 3, 2011. 73

OCR for page 65
PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF attention on the web or in the press (Davies, 2011). There, Dr. Peter Davies, of the University of Minnesota, published an exhaustive study focusing on claims oft-repeated in today’s press that modern intensive hog farms has increased the risk of major foodborne pathogens common to the to the pig species. His study determined just the opposite--that large-scale, modern production has virtually eliminated those pathogens. In fact, Davies found that pigs raised in old, outdoor systems “inherently confront higher risks of exposure to foodborne parasites.” Modern, intensive swine production “represents a substantial health achievement,” Dr. Davies writes, “that has gone largely unheralded.” Indeed, Dr. Davies observes that "[m]isinformation in public discourse has achieved pandemic potential with the rise of blogging and other social networking tools" and "are mostly ideological and heavily value laden." Unfortunately, such misinformation can misdirect the efforts of policymakers and color the views of government officials. Food productivity gains from intensive production are also threatened by poorly conceived government policy. For example, in the United States, ethanol policies have driven nearly 40 percent of the annual corn crop into ethanol production for fuel, directly and substantially driving up feed costs for livestock and jeopardizing the economic viability of meat producers (USDA, 2011). The federal Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit has been in place in one form or another for more than three decades and now provides billions in support to a mature industry (U.S. Congressional Budget Office, 2010). As consumption grows with the federal Renewable Fuels Standard, so does the cost of the tax credit. Corn-based ethanol is the only product that is supported three ways by the government: with a 45 cent per gallon tax subsidy, a 54 cent per gallon tariff on imported ethanol, and a mandate that forces the public to buy the fuel. Although many in the food industry support development of alternative energy sources, it should reject a flawed corn-based ethanol policy that results in higher food prices for the consumer and limited net benefit on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (U.S. Congressional Budget Office, 2009). Another example is a rulemaking being considered presently by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). In 2010, GIPSA issued a proposed rule regarding the marketing of livestock and poultry. Of particular concern are provisions that would cause use of marketing agreements between producers and packers to be severely reduced or to disappear, and provisions that would prohibit packers who own livestock from selling those animals to another packer--all of which actually aim to discourage more efficient, intensive animal agriculture. Incentives and Opportunities On the other hand, government incentives aimed at reducing key impacts of food production have the potential to encourage sustainable practices. Such incentives, if utilized on a broad scale, would also encourage sustainability in animal agriculture. An example of a successful incentive structure is found in the state of North Carolina. There, the state passed a renewable portfolio standard (REPS) in 2007 requiring electricity providers to obtain a minimum percentage of their power from renewable energy resources. Under this new law, investor-owned utilities in North Carolina are required to meet up to 12.5 percent of their energy needs through renewable energy resources or energy efficiency measures. A portion of their energy needs must also come from swine and poultry wastes. These electric power suppliers generally may comply with the REPS requirement in a number of ways, including the generation of power at new renewable energy facilities. North Carolina’s incentives have driven development of renewable 74

OCR for page 65
PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF energy projects at Smithfield’s farms and should be considered in regions where large-scale, modern farms operate. Another important incentive is the reduction of trade barriers. Currently, most food is consumed in the country in which it is produced (Clay, 2010). Increasing trade will foster an increase in global food supply (USDA, 2008). It will also allow the marketplace to reward the most efficient companies and those actively engaged in more sustainable, intensive agriculture with more opportunities to reach markets in areas that may not have such sustainable solutions. In 2011, Congress was considering free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Columbia. These agreements would offer U.S. companies, including Smithfield, vastly expanded access to consumers in these countries. As an example, one of the largest economies in the world, South Korea, provides a great opportunity for food industries to expand exports of sustainable products and to allow consumers to choose from an abundance of safe, nutritious and affordable food options. Conclusion Although no single strategy will solve the global food problem or fully address the challenge of feeding nine billion people, Smithfield’s experience in sustainable intensification helps inform the discussion. Modern, large-scale animal agriculture can help meet the sustainability challenge and often does so based on fundamental business priorities. Treacy stated that NAS can help balance the debate through science-based examination and by providing a hard look at the sacred assumptions in so much popular writing about modern production practices. PANEL: CONFRONT TRADE-OFFS, REMOVE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL EXTERNALITIES, SEEK MULTIPLE WINS, AND ESTABLISH COALITIONS AND PARTNERSHIPS Emmy Simmons, U.S. Agency for International Development (ret.)Melinda Kimble, United Nations Foundation Carol Kramer-LeBlanc, U.S. Department of Agriculture Emmy Simmons led off the panel by providing highlights from the previous days’ discussion. She noted that Mike Bushell made the point that sustainable agriculture/sustainable food security is a journey, not a destination. The external environment, science and public perceptions are constantly evolving. Phil Pardey reminded participants that while technology in many sectors is evolving rapidly, dealing with biological process--with complex social and economic process--will take a long time, and the outcome we want in 2040 will rely on action that the world community is taking today. Robert Paarlberg noted that past underinvestment in agriculture, combined with the new demographic bubble, made new investments increasingly important. Simmons explained the hard constraints to increasing global food supplies--how water, sun, temperature and land match up against potential interventions. The limited availability of land, the intensification of land use, and the institutional weaknesses undermine the incentives to use land more sustainably. Property rights are one of the key issues that are delaying more 75

OCR for page 65
PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF intensification of land use as well as more investment in the land and productivity increases. The question of scale, with regard to the intensification of land use, is one of the big issues. Simmons also noted constraints with regard to existing biodiversity highlighting Tim Benton’s point that the management of existing biodiversity resources, especially those linked to forests and oceans, often seemed to be widely separated from agriculture. Simmons mentioned that another hard constraint is water use. There has to be more efficiency of water use, but there may be some absolute limits to increasing the efficiency of water use, as explained by David Molden. Simmons questioned how those absolute limits can be dealt with in terms of food supplies, particularly as related to local increases in production and productivity. Simmons noted that there was a hard constraint in the form of inadequate stocks of knowledge in producers’ heads and along the value chain. Initial stocks of knowledge among producers and along the value chain need to be rapidly built up. Brian Greenberg explained that NGOs often work at the community level and work with marginal producers in an effort to increase knowledge stocks, which will generate the rate of productivity growth needed for sustainable intensification. There was also a hard constraint with regard to fertilizer availability because of limited supplies of potassium and phosphorus. Donald Crain estimated there will be 300 years of potassium supply with no substitute--it will take a long time for innovation. Simmons emphasized the need to take deliberate, coordinated, purposeful steps in terms of defining an agenda, noting that developing metrics for both planning and monitoring are critical areas for investment. Simmons highlighted the following three areas for additional investment to support expanding sustainable food supplies: 1. Spatially based datasets to permit management and manipulation of information at different scales, such as the plot scale, farm scale, landscape scale, water basin scale, and global scale. 2. Longitudinal information that permits assessment of dynamics, rather than snapshots or cross-sectional information. 3. Better information about what the appropriate level of investment in data should be (e.g., who should do it, how it can be longitudinal, how it can be spatially aware, and how this information base can best be integrated for a more sustainable food secure future). Underinvestment in data, which was discussed at the first workshop, has been confirmed by the second workshop. Melinda Kimble’s presentation42 focused on the institutions required to manage the global commons and to meet the challenges of achieving global food security. She highlighted the work of the UN High Level Task Force on Food Security, which was modeled on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) recommendations to redesign UN and other intergovernmental institutions to better address 21st century challenges. Although prescient, the WEF Global Redesign Initiative has received minimal attention. Yet, the GRI is one of the more comprehensive reports to date, as it highlights the need for more of the G-8’s traditional economic leadership role to move to more representative groups of governments, most logically, the G-20. The report also urges involvement of civil society, the private sector, and private philanthropy. This presentation highlighted how the World Bank and the UN applied these concepts to improve delivery of both food aid and policy support through the reform of the Committee on Food Security--a pilot attempt to put into practice increased multi-stakeholder 42 The presentation is available at http://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/sustainability/foodsecurity/PGA_062564, presentation by Melinda Kimble (May 4, 2011). 76

OCR for page 65
PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF engagement and promotion of developing country and private sector participation in designing better solutions to complex global problems. Who sits at the table is important, but there are two other imperatives for success: High level (head of government) commitment to action is required. New informatics that provide a better understanding of problems and that establish baselines and performance metrics in order to measure success. The new Committee on Global Food Security includes a broad coalition of agencies: FAO, World Food Program, International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) (all Rome-based) World Health Organization (WHO), International Labor Organization (ILO), UN Trade and Development secretariat (UNCTAD), Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (all Geneva- based), and World Trade Organization (WTO) World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) (Washington-based) and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (Paris-based) UN funds and programs--UNDP, UNICEF, UNEP, and the Secretariat players--UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UN Department of Political Affairs, UN Peacekeeping, and UN Department of Public Information. The group also solicited the input of grain traders, private philanthropies and other agricultural experts. This new governance effort also incorporated the UN reforms embedded in recommendations of the 2006 Coherence Panel--to improve interagency coordination and delivery at the field level--and we see the beginnings of the institutional response to the 2008 crisis and the establishment of the High Level Task Force on Food Security to track the issues, define problems and recommend action. As the global financial crisis unfolded, the international community continued to move on reforming and strengthening the management of global food security. By April 2010, the effort was well underway, with the World Bank and France playing leading roles. The Advisory Group for the new Committee, which held its first meeting in 2010, included new philanthropic players (e.g., the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) and private sector trade groups. Twelve countries make up the Committee on World Food Security. As discussions proceeded, a new singular voice emerged, and a unified Secretariat supported by the Rome agencies worked to expand the analysis and dialogue on a range of solutions. This approach aims at engaging relevant UN agencies to focus on individual elements of the planning process, integrating their various activities toward a single set of national objectives that are designed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals most relevant to food security. The “change management framework” is being field tested in eight countries, several of which have severe food security challenges. The ultimate goal of “one UN” is to consolidate offices, work program planning and resources into a single country package addressing national food security. This new approach to technical assistance at the country level should be directly reinforcing of the global planning and coordination process under the new Committee on World Food Security. These complementary processes hold the potential to provide the countries and the international community a better window on what works globally and at country level. They also provide opportunities for flexible and adaptive management and information sharing, as well as performance benchmarking. 77

OCR for page 65
PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF The first opportunity to evaluate these reforms is the WCFS meeting in Rome in October 2011. This meeting will provide an opportunity to assess initial results and examine the ongoing challenges facing agriculture, food and nutrition. A five-year work plan for the WCFS will be introduced at this session, along with a new assessment of global food security. Collectively, all this work holds promise for testing some of the GRI principles--high level commitments, multi- stakeholder participation, coordinated planning and new informatics--as the UN works on refining and consolidating its ability to deliver capacity-building interventions on the ground. Should this effort prove effective, it could well prove an adaptive model for better coordination around global challenges. Carol Kramer-LeBlanc focused her discussion on health, sustainable agriculture and evolving food systems. She talked about the growing importance of obesity concerns in USDA policy circles but noted that nutritional improvements in school lunch programs are constrained by budget cost. She expressed her concern that food insecurity in the United States and globally has been more severe since the 2008 food price crisis, particularly for women and children. She talked about the major U.S. initiative known as Feed the Future. USDA, the Department of State and USAID are leading this effort. One particular element of the program that had been emphasized by Hillary Clinton in speeches at the United Nations is its focus on nutritional interventions for children, particularly in the first 1,000 days of life. Other USDA international efforts include work with the Commission on Sustainable Development that looks at the issues on agriculture, rural development, land, drought and desertification associated with agriculture has been inserted in the task force on poverty. She noted, however, that most USDA resources are spent on U.S. domestic issues. Kramer-LeBlanc reiterated Robert Paarlberg’s point that a major challenge is to convince politicians of the value of international development activities. GENERAL DISCUSSION Following the panel discussions, a number of observations and questions were shared. Hartwig de Haen led off by recommending that the new institutions and initiatives mentioned by Melinda Kimble should be evaluated. He further suggested that, from a global perspective, systems of food security governance should be measured against the following three criteria: 1. Does the system have mechanisms in place that would prevent future crisis, or at least cushion the vulnerable, poor and hungry against the effects of such a crisis? 2. Does the system assure that all the governments abide by their commitments that they have repeatedly expressed at global summits? 3. Do the global mechanisms, including the reformed intergovernmental Committee on World Food Security (CFS), provide adequate dynamic leadership globally toward a lasting eradication of hunger in the longer term, a respect for the right to food, and elimination of malnutrition including overnourishment? Hartwig de Haen emphasized that a massive global campaign on the implications of non- action is needed. Marco Ferroni said that one of the main messages coming from the workshop was the importance of productivity enhancements as a means to assuring sustainable food security. He said that productivity and sustainability go hand in hand and questioned whether the 78

OCR for page 65
PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF global management institutions discussed by Jason Clay and Melinda Kimble were adequately focused on the productivity paradigm. Kimble suggested that global conversations have been underway for the last twenty years, and they will impact our ability to take directed action for or against agricultural intensification and productivity. REFERENCES Clay Clay, J. W. 2009. The Political Economy of Water and Agriculture. Pp. 29-37 in Water and Agriculture: Implications for Development and Growth. Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies. Landers, J. N. 2007. Tropical crop-livestock systems in conservation agriculture: The Brazilian Experience. Integrated Crop Management Volume 5. Rome, Italy: FAO. WWF (World Wildlife Fund). 2010. Living Planet Report: Biodiversity, Biocapacity and Development. Washington, DC: WWF. Paarlberg Calvo, C. M. 1998. Options for Managing and Financing Rural Transport Infrastructure. Washington, DC: The World Bank. Treacy American Meat Institute. 2010. Comments of the American Meat Institute on USDA’s Proposed GIPSA Rule. Available at http://www.meatami.com/ht/d/sp/i/61286/pid/61286. See http://www.regulations.gov/#!home. (see GIPSA-2010-PSP-0001-RULEMAKING). Clay, J. 2010. Agriculture from 2000 to 2050: The Business as Usual Scenario. Washington, DC: Global Harvest Initiative. Davies, P. R. 2011. Intensive swine production and pork safety. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease 8(2):189-201. FAO. 2010. The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2010. Rome, Italy: FAO. General Assembly of North Carolina. 2007. Session law 2007-397, senate bill 3, promote renewable energy/baseload generation. Available at http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2007/Bills/Senate/PDF/S3v6.pdf. House Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade. 2011. Regulatory injury: how USDA’s proposed Gipsa rule hurts America’s small businesses. Available at http://smbiz.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=249313 Meyer, G. 2011. US ethanol refiners use more corn than farmers. The Financial Times. July 12, 2011. Available at http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/77dfcd98-ac9f-11e0-a2f3- 00144feabdc0.html#axzz1ZNDcIBia. Parrlberg, R. 2010. Attention Whole Food Shoppers: Stop obsessing about arugula. Your “sustainable” mantra – organic, local, and slow – is no recipe for saving the world’s hungry millions. Foreign Policy May/June:80-85. Regulations.gov. Comments of the National Pork Producers Counsel on USDA’s Proposed GIPSA Rule (see GIPSA-2010-PSP-0001-RULEMAKING). 2010. Available at http://www.regulations.gov/#!home. Smithfield Foods, Inc. 2010. Corporate Social Responsibility Report: 2009/10. New York, NY; Robinson Kurtin Communications!, Inc.: 6-9, 35, 40 and 42. 79

OCR for page 65
PREPUBLICATION COPY: UNCORRECTED PROOF Smithfield Foods, Inc. 2011. Corporate Social Responsibility Report: 2010/11. New York, NY; Robinson Kurtin Communications! Inc:11-12. U.S. Congressional Budget Office. 2010. Using Biofuel Tax Credits to Achieve Energy and Environmental Policy Goals:9. Available at http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/114xx/doc11477/07-14- Biofuels.pdf. U.S. Congressional Budget Office. 2009. The Impact of Ethanol Use on Food Prices and Greenhouse-Gas Emissions:6. Available at http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/100xx/doc10057/04-08-Ethanol.pdf. USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) Economic Research Service. 2008. Global Agriculture Supply and Demand: Factors Contributing to the Recent Increase in Food Commodity Prices. Available at http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/WRS0801/WRS0801.pdf. USDA. 2011. World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates 498. Available at http://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/wasde/latest.pdf. U.S. Department of State. 2011. Free Trade Agreements. Available at http://www.state.gov/e/eeb/tpp/bta/fta. U.S. Government Printing Office. 2010. Implementation of Regulations Required Under Title XI of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008; Conduct in Violation of the Act, Proposed Rule. Federal Register 75(119):35338-35354. WHO/FAO. 2003. Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases. WHO Technical Report Series 916, Report of a Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation, section 3.4. Available at http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/005/AC911E/ac911e05.htm. Wilcox, C. 2011. Mythbusting 101: organic farming conventional agriculture. Scientific American. Available at http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi. Zlotnik, H. 2009. World population to exceed 9 billion by 2050: developing countries to add 2.3 billion inhabitants with 1.1 billion aged over 60 and 1.2 billion of working age. UN Population Division. Available at http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/wpp2008/pressrelease.pdf. 80