Insight

The Food Systems Network
A creative commons for food system innovators

Somalia is on the brink of catastrophe. A recent assessment suggests that 7.7 million Somalis need emergency aid right now, a similar number to those affected by the Ethiopian famine in 1984, one of the worst humanitarian disasters in history. About one million people died then.

Rising competition for many of the world’s important crops is sending increasing amounts toward uses other than directly feeding people. These competing uses include making biofuels; converting crops into processing ingredients, such as livestock meal, hydrogenated oils and starches; and selling them on global markets to countries that can afford to pay for them.

The Food Foundation now estimates at least three million people in the UK depend on food banks. HASPhotos
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Tim Lang, City, University of London; Erik P Millstone, University of Sussex, and Terry Marsden, Cardiff University

Planning failures and financial cuts are being exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the world of food, too, planning is needed both to deal with short-term emergencies and to address longer-term risks.

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