Providing enough food and nutrition for the world’s population of 7 billion people is a truly global challenge. No single country, institution, business or civil society organization has the resources, solutions nor capacity to act alone. Equally complex are the causes of food shortages and threats: a planet’s changing climate, political instability and armed conflicts, protectionist trade practices, and poor policy choices are among the most prevalent reasons that hunger and malnutrition impact more than 1 billion people every day.
Ours is a unique partnership of private sector, think tank and civil society leaders who can look ahead and understand what is at stake. We come together knowing that each of us approaches food security from a different perspective and experience. But we agree on the threat and its potential disruption to human progress. We agree on the need to elevate this issue among the many development challenges we collectively face. And finally, we each share a deep commitment to exploring solutions and finding policy prescriptions that might mitigate a real food crisis.
The United Nations predicts we will have to produce 60% more food than we do today as the world’s population increases to more than 9 billion by mid-century. And we will have to achieve this using the same (or fewer) land, soil and water resources. The challenge for meeting tomorrow’s demand for food and nutrition is two-fold: we must not only feed a planet’s growing population, but we have to do so without further destruction of the fragile environment we depend on not only for food but human habitation. Food Chain Reaction is designed to address both these challenges in a gaming scenario set five years from today.
We are among many people and institutions around the planet looking for solutions. By bringing together a small group of experts from different countries and diverse institutions, we hope to better understand how difficult choices might be made during a future crisis in which food systems and markets are under greater stress. Specifically, we want to more fully appreciate how actors across the global food chain—farmers, traders, processors, retailers, governments, and consumers, among others—will decide, react, negotiate, engage and adapt when faced with a real crisis.
As part of our commitment to exploring food security solutions, we make an additional promise: to share our results. In the aftermath of Food Chain Reaction, we will meet with leaders, companies and institutions around the world to talk about what we learned and offer ideas for dialogue and debate. Food Chain Reaction will help the international community prepare for that which we can see in our not distant future—a chain reaction of events that could ripple outward to disrupt global food systems and bring tragedy to human life.
Contributors: Cargill, Center for American Progress, World Wildlife Fund