Updated Dec 1, 2022 - Axios Events

Watch: The future of global food security

On Thursday, December 1st, Axios business reporter Erica Pandey and Axios Today host Niala Boodhoo led conversations exploring the opportunities and challenges of adapting food systems to spearhead sustainability, improve global food security and withstand the impacts of climate change. Guests included Gro Intelligence founder and CEO Sara Menker and Apeel Sciences founder and CEO James Rogers. Our View from the Top sponsored segment featured Nutrien president and CEO Ken Seitz

Sara Menker explained how structural changes in our food systems combined with climate change and the war in Ukraine have disrupted global food supply chains and how agricultural systems all over the world are connected with one another.

  • On the factors contributing to a global food crisis: “If you look at what has transpired over sort of the last 2 to 3 years really, not just because of the war, but because of a series of changes that happened in our food systems that were more structural in nature, and changes on the demand side combined with rapidly coming climate shocks that have just been disrupting food production around the world from season to season for different crops and different countries, those two things combined had already set the stage for sort of an unprecedented price rally around food prices around the world, and the Russia Ukraine war was more adding fuel to an already burning fire, not really creating it.”
  • On the interconnectedness of global food systems: “Our food systems, our agricultural systems, are global in nature. They are interconnected both from a country to country basis, but also interconnected from a product to product basis. And it’s one of those systems that you can’t really de-globalize because not every country can grow the crops it needs in its own country because the soils and the weather might not be suitable for it, so sort of by definition, it’s a system that has to function globally.”

James Rogers described the severity of food waste inefficiency among American consumers and explained the connection between food waste reduction and climate change mitigation.

  • On large-scale consumer food waste: “When you pick a piece of food, it’s still alive, and it is moving sometimes across the world to get onto your countertop at home. And so along the way, waste does happen, but overwhelmingly in places like the United States and Europe, that waste is happening in people’s homes.”
  • On reducing food waste to mitigate climate change: “Project Drawdown has estimated that reducing food waste is the single most important thing that we as consumers can do to mitigate climate change. It’s that big of a problem.”

In the View from the Top segment, Nutrien president and CEO Ken Seitz emphasized how he expects current geopolitical disruption and production challenges to continue impacting the agriculture industry through 2023.

  • “Unfortunately, we expect this terrible conflict in Eastern Europe to drag on, and kind of regardless, I think, of the outcome there and the duration of it, damage has been done here, certainly in agriculture in Ukraine and certainly with exports out of Russia, so that we’re looking at, we believe, several crop cycles to replenish global inventories, grain and oilseed inventories on the planet. So we’re into this for at least a few years, we believe.”

Thank you Nutrien for sponsoring this event.

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