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Declining biodiversity threatens food supply: UN FAO Report

Date: 23 February 2019 Tags: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Organizations

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in its first-of-its-kind report has warned that declining biodiversity may threaten future of the world’s food production and food supply. It has analysed data from 91 countries and found that loss of biodiversity for food and agriculture is seriously undermining ability to feed and nourish an ever-growing global population.

Highlights of report

  • World's biodiversity is under severe threat due to pollution, badly managed land and water use, poor policies, over-harvesting and climate change.
  • Future of food supplies is under severe threat because of number of animal and plant species fast disappearing.
  • People are depending on fewer species for food, leaving production systems susceptible to shocks such as pests or disease, droughts and other extreme weather events due to climate change.
  • Although about 6,000 plant species can be used for food, less than 200 varieties are widely eaten, and only 9 make up most of the world's total crop production.
  • Nearly 4,000 wild food species including insects, seagrass, crustaceans and fungi are in decline, with hardest hit regions being Asia, Africa and Latin America.
  • Climate change will become steadily bigger threat to biodiversity by 2050, adding to damage from pollution and forest clearance to make way for crops.
  • Global food production must become more diverse and include species that are not widely eaten but could be better equipped to withstand hostile climates and disease.
  • Diversification can help fight malnutrition globally by bringing little-known but highly nutritious foods into mainstream (like fonio, a small grain that is well-suited to hot climates with unpredictable weather patterns).
  • Countries must double farm productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers by 2030 to eliminate hunger and ensure all people have access to food.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

  • It is specialised agency of United Nations (UN) that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.
  • It was established in October 1945. It is headquartered in Rome, Italy. Its motto is “Let there be bread”.
  • UN Economic and Social Council (UNESC) is its parent organisation. It has 197 member states, including European Union (member organization).
  • It serves both developed and developing countries, thus, acts as neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate arguments and debate policy.
  • It helps developing countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices, ensuring good nutrition and food security for all.
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