UK Government Thinktank suggests lack of agricultural research is a major cause of food scarcity

Factors including drought, soil erosion, salinity and climate change all contribute to food scarcity, but a report by the UK government’s Foresight thinktank (The Future of Food and Farming: Challenges and choices for global sustainability) suggests another important cause may be insufficient agricultural research. In most countries, research into agriculture and fisheries remains a low priority and two decades of this lack of interest has caused a slow-down in productivity gains. The report emphasises the need for a significant increase in new agricultural research to support a radical change to the food system in order to meet the urgency of food scarcity. Investment in research is one of the report’s ‘key priorities’ and it suggests new models of research funding are needed in which public, private and third sector funders coordinate their efforts and incentives are provided for research into solutions to benefit low-income countries.