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Food Crisis: Farming Must Change
John Holliday
Sky News, UK, Friday August 01, 2008

Just what is going on with the price of food? The UN is worried about falling supplies. And many people...well they seem worried about the rising costs.

Recently there have been near-riots in Bangladesh and Egypt, sparked by the growing price of wheat and rice. American writer Paul Roberts says the situation will get worse before it gets better. "We need to change our production methods. We need to shift our system of food production into overdrive, as our agricultural engine is breaking down," he told Sky News Online.

In his book The End of Food, Mr Roberts insists that modern farming is unsustainable and he believes that there will be a rise in genetically-modified food - even if people are reluctant to listen. We need to shift our system of food production into overdrive. - US author Paul Roberts

"We are going to have a debate on just how important food safety is and what we will pay of it. There will also be a GM debate but I can certainly see more GM food. The challenge will be boosting yield." He says world output of corn, wheat and cereal crops more than tripled in the second half of the 20th century.  "It was the golden era in food production. But now, due to population growth and a lack of arable land, there is not enough to feed the rich or the poor," he added.
So what does the future hold? The American believes a local system based on easily-obtainable seasonal foods that do not need to be transported huge distances would be a major step forward.  And he says it is important to teach farmers to use more fertiliser and build more irrigation systems in order to boost yield.

"We are still a long was from the dismal days a century ago. Yes we've lost ground of late. But we have been gaining in food safety and food-borne illness and as long as we can track food we have a chance," he added.

What do you think? Is GM food the way forward? Do we really have a problem with a shortage of food or should we not just halve the size of portions people get in restaurants? And what would you do to rectify it?


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