Innovative solutions for the environment and food security

Through research and innovation in our food production, we can provide solutions to deliver enough food.

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According to Andre Westerveld, regional director of Elanco South Africa, the ENOUGH research report by Elanco found that there were 7 billion people in the world, and estimated the number to increase to 9 billion in 2050.

ENOUGH is spearheaded by Elanco Animal Health, a global innovation-driven company that develops and markets products to improve animal health and food production in over 75 countries.

“With the rapidly expanding middle class, there will be a 60% increase in demand for meat, eggs and milk. This means that we have to find a way to increase supply to meet demand and provide it sustainably,” Westerveld said.

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“Milk is just one example of food production already under constraint. According to the report, the global recommended milk intake is two, 240ml glasses of milk per day, and on average around the world, there is access to about one,” Westerveld added.

“At present, one cow produces an average of 7,5l per day. Researchers predict that we can have enough milk and freeze our environmental footprint every year, if every cow increases her daily production by just 140ml, approximately half a glass. Many countries around the globe are already increasing at rates three to four times this amount, through the use of innovation and improved cow husbandry,” he added.

“Adding more animals to meet demand is not sustainable, economical or environmentally friendly. But, by ensuring that the current number of cows have sufficient fresh water, comfortable housing, improved feed optimisation, better disease prevention and control, and milking three times per day, we can meet the production requirements without adding more animals and increasing the impact on the environment,” Westerveld said.

Scott Drimie, director of the Southern Africa Food Lab (SAFL), said in 2015, SAFL raised funds from the WWF Nedbank Green Trust to implement the Agro-ecology Awareness (AeA) project in Mopani, Limpopo.

SAFL was established to promote creative responses to hunger by facilitating collaboration and dialogue between stakeholder groups, in order to raise awareness and foster innovations and experimental action towards a just and sustainable food system.

“The association works in partnership with the Mopani Farmers’ Association to support a more sustainable and resilient farming system in Mopani based on agro-ecological principles. Agroecology is concerned with maintaining ecosystem functioning and encourages integrative farming that takes the health of the agricultural system into account,’’ he said.