MONITORING REPORT ISB: Focusing efforts to improve food systems on a few specific regions, crops and actions could make it possible to both meet the basic needs of 3 billion more people and decrease agricultures environmental footprint, says a report compiled by researchers at the University of Minnesotas Institute on the Environment.

According to the research report, there are three means of improving global food security and the environment including production of more food on the existing lands, growth of crops more efficiently and use of crops more efficiently.

The crop calories we currently feed to animals are sufficient to meet the calorie needs of 4 billion people. The study noted that the US, China and Western Europe account for the bulk of this “diet gap,” with corn the main crop being diverted to animal feed.

Although cultural preferences and politics limit the ability to change this picture, the authors note that shifting crops from animal feed to human food could serve as a “safety net” when weather or pests create shortages.

In addition, some 30 to 50 per cent of food is wasted worldwide. Particularly significant is the impact of animal products: The loss of 1 kilogram of boneless beef has the same effect as wasting 24 kilograms of wheat due to inefficiencies in converting grain to meat.

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