One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?

Overview

Hunger is a daily reality for a billion people. More than six decades after the technological discoveries that led to the Green Revolution aimed at ending world hunger, regular food shortages, malnutrition, and poverty still plague vast swaths of the world. And with increasing food prices, climate change, resource inequality, and an ever-increasing global population, the future holds further challenges.

In One Billion Hungry, Sir Gordon Conway, one of the world's foremost ...

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One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?

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Overview

Hunger is a daily reality for a billion people. More than six decades after the technological discoveries that led to the Green Revolution aimed at ending world hunger, regular food shortages, malnutrition, and poverty still plague vast swaths of the world. And with increasing food prices, climate change, resource inequality, and an ever-increasing global population, the future holds further challenges.

In One Billion Hungry, Sir Gordon Conway, one of the world's foremost experts on global food needs, explains the many interrelated issues critical to our global food supply from the science of agricultural advances to the politics of food security. He expands the discussion begun in his influential The Doubly Green Revolution: Food for All in the Twenty-First Century, emphasizing the essential combination of increased food production, environmental stability, and poverty reduction necessary to end endemic hunger on our planet.

Conway addresses a series of urgent questions about global hunger:

• How we will feed a growing global population in the face of a wide range of adverse factors, including climate change?

• What contributions can the social and natural sciences make in finding solutions?

• And how can we engage both government and the private sector to apply these solutions and achieve significant impact in the lives of the poor?

Conway succeeds in sharing his informed optimism about our collective ability to address these fundamental challenges if we use technology paired with sustainable practices and strategic planning.

Beginning with a definition of hunger and how it is calculated, and moving through issues topically both detailed and comprehensive, each chapter focuses on specific challenges and solutions, ranging in scope from the farmer's daily life to the global movement of food, money, and ideas. Drawing on the latest scientific research and the results of projects around the world, Conway addresses the concepts and realities of our global food needs: the legacy of the Green Revolution; the impact of market forces on food availability; the promise and perils of genetically modified foods; agricultural innovation in regard to crops, livestock, pest control, soil, and water; and the need to both adapt to and slow the rate of climate change. One Billion Hungry will be welcomed by all readers seeking a multifaceted understanding of our global food supply, food security, international agricultural development, and sustainability.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The existence of one billion hungry people, despite sufficient production to meet contemporary consumption needs, is a stark (and shameful) reminder of the complexity of these issues, and of the inadequacy of current thinking. Conway's text lays out, in careful detail, the many dimensions that need to be considered in trying to answer these questions, and starts to provide a future vision for a food-secure world that is both equitable and environmentally sustainable. This is a masterful survey of the landscape, and is essential reading for anyone hoping to understand these issues, and to engage in informed discussion about alternative options for global food security."—Bhaskar Vira, International Affairs (May 2013)

"The author is notably, and refreshingly, open to any approach that solves world hunger as long as it meets site-specific needs, particularly at the farm scale. He appreciates the multidisciplinary nature of addressing world hunger, painting his topics in broad strokes—not superficially, but appropriately scaled so that average readers can understand trends and concepts outside their own discipline or experience. From a classroom perspective the individual chapters provide a superb launch point for more in-depth discussion. Summing Up: Highly recommended."—M.S. Coyne, Choice (July 2013)

"In 350 information-packed pages, Conway systematically builds an answer to the book's title question. His answer is 'a qualified yes'.... This is the first 21st Century manual on how to feed the world. There may not be time to wait for another edition, so I recommend reading it now."—Jeff Waage, Food Security (April 2013)

"We all want to end hunger. Conway's book provides the roadmap for how to do it.... Conway provides clear (if lengthy) guidelines for what to do and how to do it. His is a voice of optimism, and he speaks convincinglty and authoritatively when addressing the promise of agricultural science in this endeavor."—C. Peter Timmer,Journal of Economic Literature(March 2014)

"In One Billion Hungry, Gordon Conway lays out the formidable challenges we face in feeding the world by 2050 and reminds us why we have reason to be optimistic. History shows that we can reduce hunger and poverty, but to make a lasting difference we will need to help smallholder farmers sustainably increase their productivity."—Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

"We will not have a fair and secure world until we overcome the global challenge of feeding our ever-increasing population. Gordon Conway's insightful book addresses the complex issues of achieving global food and nutrition security."—Kofi Annan, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations (1996–2007)

"Gordon Conway has set out a bold but doable agenda for meeting the food challenges the world faces. The brilliant and practical insights expounded in this book will help drive a sustainable green revolution in Africa."—Akinwumi Adesina, Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria

"One Billion Hungry is an excellent source of evidence-based proposals on how to feed the world in a sustainable manner. It is an antidote for pessimism and will go a long way in inspiring the global community to act in time. The book is as inspirational as it is pragmatic."—Calestous Juma, Harvard Kennedy School

"Sadly, the majority of the one billion hungry are smallholder farmers faced with limited opportunities to improve their livelihoods. This book promotes access to technology and, in partnership with the hungry, links evidence to policy and action."—Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, CEO and Head of Diplomatic Mission, FANRPAN (Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network)

Library Journal
This is a revised edition of Conway's (international development, Imperial Coll. London) 1997 book, A Doubly Green Revolution: Food for All in the Twenty-First Century. He argued there for a more productive, fair, and efficient food production system to combat hunger and malnutrition, one that is environmentally sound and that starts with the needs of the poor. So what's changed in 15 years? Sadly, the number of the world's hungry and malnourished is growing, the food price spikes like those of 2007-08 threaten to recur, and the realities of climate change demand solutions. On the plus side, technical advances in biotechnology and ecology promise more resilient agriculture with safer crop yield gains. Conway stresses that his book proposes only a theory of change, "not a recipe," but he demonstrates pragmatic approaches to thorny issues like rural poverty, rising meat consumption, and the agricultural conundrum of getting more out of less. VERDICT The author's subject mastery is evident on almost every page. His use of inset anecdotes, many graphs, chapter introductions, and summaries all help to make a complex matter more comprehensible. This work will no doubt become the standard text in international agricultural development courses.—R. Eagan, Windsor P.L., Ontario
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801451331
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 10/16/2012
  • Pages: 456
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Sir Gordon Conway is Professor of International Development at Imperial College, London. He is the author of The Doubly Green Revolution: Food for All in the Twenty-First Century and One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?(both from Cornell) and coauthor of Science and Innovation for Development.

Rajiv Shah is the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

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Table of Contents

Foreword Rajiv Shah ix

Acknowledgments xi

Editorial Note xv

Part I

1 Acute and Chronic Crises 3

2 What Is Hunger? 21

3 The Green Revolution 41

4 The Political Economy of Food Security 63

Part II

5 A Doubly Green Revolution 85

6 Sustainable Intensification 103

7 Appropriate Technology 125

8 Creating Markets 143

Part III

9 Designer Crops 167

10 The Livestock Revolution 187

11 Farmers as Innovators 207

Part IV

12 Controlling Pests 227

13 Rooted in the Soil 246

14 Sustained by Water 268

15 Adapting to Climate Change 286

16 Reducing Greenhouse Gases 306

17 Conclusion: Can We Feed the World? 329

References 349

Index 429

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