What You Gonna Eat & Drink Tomorrow | 11th International Label Conference 2016


What you gonna eat & drink tomorrow?

Today we think about how we can optimize processes. How can we produce more and more favorable. We assume that everything remains as it is. Will be even better and more profitable. Our concern are the CO2 emissions. But only because the scientists tell us. The individual does not even notice that.

But what will happen if suddenly no longer there are products for packaging, to sell, to eat and drink?

Yes, that may well happen soon. Without that we perceive something – unexpected. The water is coming to an end. Surrounded by oceans, it may be that we die of thirst and hunger. Did you know that?

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Systems at risk are production systems where the land and water resources supporting agricultural production are constrained to a point where their capacity to meet current and future needs is seriously jeopardized. Constraints may be further exacerbated by unsustainable agricultural practices, social and economic pressures and the impact of climate change.

Land and water resources are central to agriculture and rural development, and are intrinsically linked to global challenges of food insecurity and poverty, climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as degradation and depletion of natural resources that affect the livelihoods of millions of rural people across the world. Current projections indicate that world population will increase from 6.9 billion people today to 9.1 billion in 2050. In addition, economic progress, notably in the emerging countries, translates into increased demand for food and diversified diets. World food demand will surge as a result, and it is projected that food production will increase by 70 percent in the world and by 100 percent in the developing countries. Yet both land and water resources, the basis of our food production, are finite and already under heavy stress, and future agricultural production will need to be more productive and more sustainable at the same time.

Today almost 1 billion people are undernourished, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa (239 million) and Asia (578 million). In developing countries, even if agricultural production doubles by 2050, one person in twenty still risks being undernourished – equivalent to 370 million hungry people, most of whom will again be in Africa and Asia. Such growth would imply agriculture remaining an engine of growth, vital to economic development, environmental services and central to rural poverty reduction.

Deeper structural problems have also become apparent in the natural resource base. Water scarcity is growing. Salinization and pollution of water courses and bodies, and degradation of water-related ecosystems are rising. In many large rivers, only 5 percent of former water volumes remain in-stream, and some rivers such as the Huang He no longer reach the sea year-round. Large lakes and inland seas have shrunk, and half the wetlands of Europe and North America no longer exist. Runoff from eroding soils is filling reservoirs, reducing hydropower and water supply. Groundwater is being pumped intensively overpumped and aquifers are becoming increasingly polluted and salinized in some coastal areas. Large parts of all continents are experiencing high rates of ecosystem impairment, particularly reduced soil quality, biodiversity loss, and harm to amenity and cultural heritage values.

Agriculture is now a major contributor to greenhouse gases, accounting for 13.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC, 2007). At the same time, climate change brings an increase in risk and unpredictability for farmers – from warming and related aridity, from shifts in rainfall patterns, and from the growing incidence of extreme weather events.

Groundwater abstraction has provided an invaluable source of ready irrigation water, but has proved almost impossible to regulate.

As a result, locally intensive groundwater withdrawals are exceeding rates of natural replenishment in key cereal-producing locations – in high-, middle- and low-income countries. Because of the dependence of many key food production areas on groundwater, declining aquifer levels and continued abstraction of non-renewable groundwater present a growing risk to local and global food production.

JOIN US at the 11th International Label Conference 2016 and build awareness of the status of land and water resources, and inform on related opportunities and challenges for the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry starting from raw material supplier up to retailer.


Sources: FAO 2011 & own editorial staff

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