The indispensable role of mixed small holder systems in global food and nutritional security

Thursday, July 24, 2014: 9:45 AM
3501G (Kansas City Convention Center)
Jimmy Smith , International Livestock Research Institute, Washington, DC
Abstract Text:

By the time global population stabilises at around 10 million in the 2050, about 60% more food will be needed than is produced now, and about 75% of that must come from intensification as the agriculture land frontier has been largely reached. In this quest to produce much more food sustainably, small holder mixed crop livestock systems, where more than half of the food in the developing world is currently produced, will play a critical role. Studies by ILRI (2009) show that globally these mixed systems produce about 50% of the cereals, and 60% and 70% of the meat and milk respectively. Once connected to markets, small holder mixed systems respond rapidly to the application of new interventions – both technical and institutional.  It is such mixed systems that are expected to undergo the greatest transition (growth/intensification) in the coming decades,  transforming to more market oriented systems and at the same time presenting a major opportunity to ensure that the transition is positive not only for food security but for livelihoods, economies, people’s health and the environment.  Because of increasing natural resource scarcity and the effect of increasing climate variability, meeting global food and nutritional security will be extremely challenging, but the transformation of mixed crop livestock systems also offers an enormous opportunity for poverty reduction and rural transformation through stronger participation of small holders in the global food economy.

Keywords: food security, nutritional security, global population