On my way out from the hotel early this morning, I passed by the hotel reception here in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The weather forecast for the next five days was displayed. Not surprisingly, this showed sunshine with winter temperatures between 24 and 26 degrees Celsius. In the summer, the thermometer can easily pass 50 degrees. The temperature can increase even further due to the expected changes in the climate in the coming decades. Already, climate changes have led to a reduction in global food production by two percent every decade.
How to feed nine billion
“In the Middle East, we feel the effect of the climate changes. Food security is under pressure. In 2050, the global human population is expected to reach nine billion. We need a new green revolution that can secure increased food production without adverse effects on humans and the environment,” H.H. Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said. His speech opened the third Global forum for innovations in agriculture (GFIA) in Abu Dhabi on 16 February.
How to secure access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food for a rapidly growing human population is one of the largest challenges the world is facing today. By 2050, global food production must increase by 60 percent. This is why GFIA is gathering decision makers, the private sector, research groups and society at large to work together to implement technological innovations that ensure a sustainable food production. I have been invited to the conference to talk about how aquaculture can contribute to secure the world’s global protein supply with the presentation “Converting Forests into Fish Feed Ingredients.”
Low greenhouse gas emissions from aquaculture
Today, the world is facing a protein shortage and aquaculture is playing an important role in augmenting the world’s protein supply. Aquaculture is by far the most efficient form of animal food production. It is even more efficient than poultry and pork and much more efficient than beef production. Also, fish production results in far lower greenhouse gas emissions and would thus be much kinder to the planet than producing more poultry, pork or beef.
In the United Arab Emirates, water shortage and poor and sandy soil conditions create challenges for the country’s food supply. The country has a long coastline on the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. This offers large opportunities for increased food production. In my opinion, aquaculture can play a key role in feeding the world in a sustainable way.