New website explores food security challenge

Posted: 14 December 2009

A new website - www.foodsecurity.ac.uk - has been launched to explore the issues around the looming challenge of feeding a global population predicted to reach 9 billion by 2050, and the world-class UK research already underway to help avert a potential crisis.

The website, from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the UK's largest funder of agri-food research, is a multimedia resource with numerous social media features and provides an introduction to the food security issue. It includes background information on the food security agenda and facts and figures together with details about the impact of past research, current research activity and the scientific challenges ahead.

At the centre of the website is a new multi-author blog - the first on the web dedicated to food security and related research in the UK. It will feature posts from authors across the food security field, including researchers, farmers, industry leaders and consumers.

Featuring an easy-to-use, no registration required comments section the blog will be an online destination for comment and provocative debate about different views on food security and different approaches to feeding the growing world population.

Undernourishment 2009, by region
Undernourishment 2009, by region
Rising hunger is a global phenomenon. In fact, all world regions have been affected by the increase in food insecurity:Asia and the Pacific, the world's most populous region, is home to the largest number of hungry people (642 million). Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest prevalence of undernourishment relative to its population size (32 percent).The largest percentage increase in the number of hungry people in the developing world occurred in the Near East and North Africa (+13.5 percent).Latin America and the Caribbean, which was the only region in recent years with signs of improvement, also saw a marked increase (+12.8 percent).
Prof Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: "Feeding 9 billion mouths in the coming decades is going to require significant scientific progress, and changes that will affect all of us. www.foodsecurity.ac.uk will give anyone interested or new to the issue an introduction to the challenge we face and details of the research being done here in the UK to meet it. The website outlines the impact that UK science has already had in delivering more safe, nutritious and affordable food - but highlights the significant policy and science hurdles we need to overcome as we look to double food production to meet demand in the coming decades.

"We can all recognise the importance of securing our food supplies but people disagree over the ways to do this and the approaches to take. The new blog on www.foodsecurity.ac.uk will be a place for those interested in this topic to provoke, engage, debate and discuss. If people have something important to say about food security we want to hear from them."

Meeting the food security challenge - delivering safe, affordable and nutritious food for a growing global population - will require a multidisciplinary research approach.

Prof Kell said: "BBSRC is working with many UK and international partners to deliver food security. This is just the start. The Web is an exceptionally important means of disseminating ideas and knowledge, and we are inviting all our partners to join the website's development and to contribute their views and research examples."