Recent crises such as the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have thrown the vulnerability of supply chains, and with them, food supplies, into sharp focus. But as the FT’s Camilla Hodgson reports, a landmark UN report says climate-related shocks such as extreme weather events will become more common and severe and could further upend food supply chains. But what can we do about it?
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to impact crucial food exports, wheat prices are soaring. Many African countries rely on Ukrainian and Russian grain exports and could face a severe food crisis. But in Cameroon, entrepreneurs are coming up with alternatives to wheat, which is used to make flour. Production of bread and cakes made from local cassava and sweet potato flour is now booming. These tubers are abundant in the country but are normally used unprocessed in traditional dishes. Our correspondents report.
Food prices might be rising but many associated production costs are not currently included in the price we pay. How can we get closer to a system that reflects the true cost and what implication will this have on consumers and wider society?
As the world’s population grows, the need to feed billions of mouths mean our use of synthetic fertilisers will almost certainly increase significantly. The FT’s Anna Gross explores two innovative French companies that could ultimately reduce our reliance on artificial fertilisers by offering less carbon-intensive options. But how viable are these alternatives?
Over one-third of greenhouse-gas emissions come from food production. For a greener future, this urgently needs to change. What’s the future of food in a more sustainable world? Our experts answer your questions.
Video timeline: 00:00 – Food’s environmental impact 00:44 – Why it’s important to make food sustainable 01:34 – Will everyone have to give up meat? 02:13 – Can lab-grown meat be scaled up? 03:32 – Could nutrients and vitamins be added to new foods? 04:52 – Will insects become a new staple food? 05:35 – Why small-scale farming isn’t the main solution 06:51 – Is vertical farming more sustainable? 07:36 – Will consumers accept new foods?
Humanity faces major challenges. Could roots hold the answers? It’s possible: Research shows that roots have the potential to provide food for the world’s population, stop climate change and help extract resources in an environmentally friendly way. Plants must withstand periods of drought and heat, as well as flooding, and they use their roots to do this. Roots also help them actively search for nutrients in the soil, while warding off dangers such as pathogens and toxins.
Now, scientists at the research institute Forschungszentrum Jülich are investigating root growth using high-tech methods. The goal is to breed stress-resistant seeds for plants with robust roots. They are not alone: In Sweden, Professor Linda Maria Mårtensson is conducting research on a perennial wheat variety that will ensure higher yields while protecting the soil. Along the world’s coasts, too, roots are a lifesaver.
Coastal ecologist Professor Tjeerd Bouma has discovered that if special grasses are planted in front of dikes, they create a salt marsh that acts as a natural breakwater. Meanwhile, geochemist Dr. Oliver Wiche of the Technical University of Freiberg is researching something known as “phytomining.” He wants to know which plants are best suited for mining metals from the soil. Could this root research give rise to a new, environmentally friendly branch of industry?
Vertical Farming might have some implications but there is an unknown farming method that could revolutionize the industry and help us fight climate change.
Today we face the daunting challenge of feeding nearly 8 billion people, and that number will grow to at least 11 billion by 2100. With already half of all the habitable land on Earth dedicated to agriculture, we’re starting to run out of options. Could the Blue Revolution be our answer?
Learn more here: https://www.nature.org/content/dam/tn…
Zach & Zoe Sweet Bee Farm owners Kam and Summer Johnson started keeping bees after learning how raw and local honey could benefit their son, who suffered with asthma and seasonal allergies. After studying how to best keep bees, harvest honey, and keep up their own bee farm, they were able to sell their local honey to restaurants around NYC, and even have a shop in Chelsea Market. https://zachandzoe.co/