Gro Intellgence’s CEO Sara Menker joined Cargill’s CEO David MacLennan, Anastasia Volkova, CEO of Regrow Ag, and Bloomberg’s Shery Ahn in Singapore last month for a panel discussion on Action-Planning for the Global Food Crisis. As the world relies on an interconnected food system in order to have availability, accessibility, and price stability, optimizing the global food system for resilient production is key to addressing food insecurity today and averting food crises tomorrow, the panelists said.
Globalization is changing in front of our eyes, and that includes changes to the global food system, Menker said at the event.
“[Yet, the global] food system is one of the hardest things to deglobalize because, outside of the US, there are not that many countries that can produce 100% of their supply chain,” she added.
This fact, and the ongoing climate crisis, suggest that the world needs a new action plan to address today’s global food crisis.
“We are not on the verge of a food crisis. We are already in one,” Menker said, noting that structural demand changes that began two to three years ago set the stage for today’s global food crisis. Unprecedented supplyside disruptions, including the pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine, worsened an already deteriorating global food security outlook, she added.
Action plans aimed at addressing current and future global food crises will need to acknowledge the food system’s reliance on trade as well as the agriculture industry’s need to reduce its carbon intensity, particularly around energy and fertilizer.
As climate change is already impacting crops and as the industry needs to reduce its carbon emissions, regenerative agriculture - which is often defined as a way of producing food that may have lower environmental and/or social impacts - is often viewed as a way forward. Data will be critical for scaling regenerative agriculture, however.
“[This means] defining the metrics that matter and standardizing those metrics at scale so that we are comparing apples to apples,” Menker said. Whereas metrics offer the ability to define issues and establish targets, data is critical for measuring the performance towards those targets, towards helping farmers and the global food system become more productive and more sustainable. “Data is going to be a critical component,” she added.