Corregir la cadena alimentaria

COPENHAGUE – El sistema alimentario global está en problemas. Hace cuatro años, una tendencia global de 30 años de precios de los alimentos a la baja cambió de dirección rápidamente.  Los precios de los cereales se han más que duplicado desde 2004, y los precios de la mayoría de los demás alimentos han aumentado de manera importante. Si se añade una gestión no sustentable de los recursos naturales, los efectos negativos del cambo climático que están haciéndose cada vez más evidentes y el drástico aumento de los precios de los fertilizantes y la energía, y nos enfrentamos a la crisis alimentaria global más seria desde principios de los años 70.

Los notables aumentos de los precios reflejan varios factores: condiciones climáticas adversas en áreas clave para la producción de alimentos, la reducción de las existencias de alimentos, un mayor uso de productos básicos alimentarios para destinarlos a la producción de biocombustibles y la falta de inversión en infraestructura, investigación y tecnología para las áreas rurales, además de otros bienes públicos necesarios para facilitar el crecimiento agrícola en los países en desarrollo. El costo de los alimentos, que se ha ido a las nubes, ha causado mayores hambrunas entre los pobres, un menor poder de compra entre los que no son pobres, y disturbios relacionados con los alimentos en más de 30 países.

La lección clave que aprender es que la insuficiencia de inversiones en ciencias y políticas gubernamentales inadecuadas produce crisis alimentarias. Para evitar estos problemas en el futuro, es necesario ayudar a los agricultores y procesadores de alimentos del mundo a satisfacer la creciente demanda impulsada por el crecimiento de la población global y sus ingresos. Más aún, deben producir más con menos terreno y agua, a precios razonables, y sin dañar los recursos naturales ni empeorar el cambio climático.

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