Knowledge for better food systems

Ten critical transitions to transform food and land use

This report from the Food and Land Use Coalition proposes ten critical transitions that could enable the food system to provide healthy diets for nine billion people by 2050 while also protecting the climate and biodiversity. The transitions are estimated to provide over 15 times more social benefit than their investment cost, which is likely to be less than 0.5% of global GDP.

The ten transitions in the report are:

  1. Healthy diets: a shift towards mostly plant-based diets with diverse protein sources and lower consumption of sugar, salt and highly processed foods.
  2. Productive and regenerative agriculture: using both traditional techniques (such as crop rotation and agroforestry) and precision farming technologies to better target use of water, fertilisers and pesticides.
  3. Protecting and restoring nature: halting deforestation and restoring 300 million ha of tropical forests by 2030.
  4. A healthy and productive ocean: sustainable fishing and aquaculture, as well as conservation of coastal habitats such as mangrove forests.
  5. Diversifying protein supply: using protein from aquatic sources, plants, insects and cellular agriculture.
  6. Reducing food loss and waste by a quarter: this target is not as ambitious as the Sustainable Development Goal of halving food waste, but it is in line with the target in the 2019 World Resources Report, Creating a Sustainable Food Future.
  7. Local loops and linkages: strengthening sustainable local food economies in towns and cities.
  8. Harnessing the digital revolution: using technologies such as gene-editing, precision farming and digital marketing tools.
  9. Stronger rural livelihoods: helping rural communities to thrive.
  10. Gender and demography: give women better access to family planning services, land, water, credit, etc. with the aim of reaching replacement-level fertility in all countries.

Read the full report, Growing Better: Ten Critical Transitions to Transform Food and Land Use: The Global Consultation Report of the Food and Land Use Coalition September 2019, here. See also the Foodsource building block What is land use and land use change?

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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