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Food

© WWF-US / James Morgan

WWF aims to ensure a world where sustainable food systems conserve biodiversity while ensuring food and nutrition security now and in the future.

To achieve this goal by 2030, WWF is focusing on achieving three closely linked outcomes:
  1. Environmentally sustainable food production – 50% of the area under agriculture and aquaculture is sustainably managed, with no new habitat conversion in all food producing areas;
  2. Reduction of food waste – halve per capita global food waste and reduce post-harvest loss;
  3. Healthy food – 50% of food consumption is in line with WHO/FAO dietary guidelines, in target countries.

The production of food – its distribution, management and waste – threatens wildlife and wild spaces on a massive scale. Today, more than 7 billion people already consume 1,5 times what the Earth’s natural resources can supply sustainably. By 2050, with the global population increasing to over 9 billion the demand for food will, with current methods, massively outstrip the Earth’s productive capacity.

© Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF-UK

In Africa, the current population of 1,2 billion is set to more than double to 2,5 billion by 2050. The need for ever more food will pose huge challenges across a continent where most people rely on food production methods that remain largely traditional – and dependent on reliable rainfall. Water is a key limiting factor in Africa as climate change raises temperatures and alters rainfall patterns. How to achieve a transition to improved and sustainable food production at the speed and scale required, in the face of a changing climate? Studies show that sufficient food can be produced for the increased population using current land area, but this requires major changes from traditional methods.

Addressing the loss of at least one-third of food produced annually due to poor storage, transportation, processing and distribution is a key part of the answer. Protection of the natural areas that regulate water availability such as forests, wetlands and rivers, and other ecosystem services such as soil production, carbon storage and pollinators is another part of the answer.

Perhaps the most fundamental action is in empowering local communities with the skills and knowledge to produce their own food sustainably. Here Africa may have an advantage due to the huge increase in Africa’s youth and their willingness to make the changes required for a better, sustainable future. Over half of Africa’s population is made up of young people under the age of 18.

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© WWF / Simon Rawles