Posted by Carlos Alberto Kuada | 19/07/2019
It’s tempting to think the answer to a growing population is to scale up food production, writes Elanco’s Carlos Kuada, Vice President for LATAM. But healthier livestock is the ethical, sustainable answer.
As you read this, a quarter of the world’s people suffer from malnutrition. It’s actually quite hard to believe that more than 820 million people in the world do not have enough food1.Hunger is responsible for more deaths every year than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined2.
Producers have worked extremely hard in recent decades to meet the global increase in demand for food, largely by adding more animals – more cows, more pigs, and more chickens. But each of these additional animals require additional land, water, feed and energy. Today, we know it is simply unsustainable to keep increasing the number of animals to feed the growing population.
The answer is not more animals, but healthier animals. Keeping animals healthy is not only an ethical imperative – it also improves productivity, providing people with more food at a more affordable price.
In the past 60 years, a wide range of innovations has allowed farmers to increase production while keeping their environmental footprint in check. And there are some fantastic success stories to learn from.
Since 1972, the availability of chicken has tripled, from 2.6 oz per person to 8.6 oz3. Today, thanks to farming innovations, particularly in nutrition, animal health and production practices, farmers are raising chickens that are not only healthier but more productive4.
To put it into context, if we only continued increasing the number of animals, we would need 131 billion chickens to meet demand. But with these new advances, we could meet future demand with 99 billion chickens – 24 per cent fewer chickens and 20 per cent less feed, land, and water. The numbers speak for themselves5.
Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in harmony. In a sustainable world, the social, environmental and economic requirements of the present population are met in ways that will protect future generations.
1.The Hunger Project. World Hunger Day. 2019. Retrieved from: http://www.worldhungerday.org/
2.World Food Programme. WFP says hunger kills more than AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis combined. Retrieved from:http://www.wfp.org/content/wfp-says-hunger-kills-more-aids-malaria-tuberculosis-combine
3.Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. FAO Statistical Yearbook 2013. Retrieved from: http://faostat.fao.org/site/291/default.aspx
4.Knapp, J., Cady, R. 2013 Food Forward Report. Elanco Animal Health. 2013.