Japan Today

Fixing food systems could produce trillions in annual benefits: report


The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2024 AFP

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Researchers estimated total underappreciated costs from food systems of up to $15 trillion a year. That includes around $11 trillion each year from the loss in productivity caused by food-linked illnesses like diabetes, hypertension and cancer.

We interrupt this article, for a footnote about "underappreciated costs."

What is it?

Ignoring the invitation to consider loss of productivity due to food-linked illness, for just a moment, it most often means, within a discussion of food systems, in a consumer context, to be when a household / individual generates food waste; when food containers contain more food than that household / individual consumes in one meal (no, friends, no left-overs considered in the equation); food consumed too quickly (more calories than needed and desired; plus malabsorption syndrome, plus fast eaters are prone towards developing metabolic syndrome and other risk factors); and food is not satiating (not feeling satisfied with what you eat.


Computer models have been designed to be able to dissect all of this, on a country, region, and global scale, too. I've sat through a presentation over this, not too long ago, but I'll be the first to admit the algorithms and assumptions built in didn't make much sense to me. But some of the cost numbers they were projecting by 2050 were well into the multiple hundreds of trillions of dollars. So that's when I ducked out for a nice cup of really hot tea and a little fresh air. So by the time I came back, the panel was through (ironic that the sponsors had put out small packages of a popular-brand chocolate cookies (with stuff in the middle) next to the basket of fresh fruit . . . but what can you do?

Okay . . . back to the hidden costs behind my food / your food / everyone's food.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

OK, what are those costs and what are the solutions?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Computer models can come up with whatever you want them to. Instead of random large numbers, prophecies of doom, and the herding of people back to the dark ages, it would be better to promote best practice amendments to current farming systems, globally.

Not least because the interventions our would-be white-coated dictators desire, are not politically, socially or economically feasible. What works in their simulations and sounds good in the lab, is not do-able in the real world. Just like social distancing during the pandemic. Go try and convince a French farmer if you don't believe me.

Politicians know they cannot simply adopt whatever scientists dream up. Scientists are going to need to understand society a bit more and come up with something a bit more viable and widely supported, leaving their 'obvious' but fantasy solutions in the lab.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There's that saying, isn't there, that the USA's biggest export by weight is topsoil. Its blown away and lost due to excessive ploughing enabled by mechanized agriculture.

As a little person, I lack the special knowledge required to know whether my statement above is true or whether this would amount to the loss of something worth "trillions" in financial terms. TV news also seems completely disinterested in investigating and helping me answer this question. They would rather fill thirty minutes of screen time with "he said she said" type gossip about what is happening at the country's political chambers.

If topsoil were lost, it would be game over for the human race, so this does matter. It's also only a matter of time before Bezos, Musk, Larry Ellison, or someone has a trillion, so I'd like think game over for the human race might be more value than the portfolio of any one individual.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites