The name of our Institute is ambitious and uncompromising. Our founding partners – PotashCorp, the Government of Saskatchewan, and the University of Saskatchewan – intended it to be this way. In their view, food security is one of the greatest issues facing humanity. It is a global problem with major implications for rich and impoverished nations alike. Although no single organization can deliver all that is needed to ensure global food security, our founders recognize that the research strengths that make Saskatchewan a powerhouse of agriculture can make a significant contribution.
The burgeoning world population is set to peak at 9.6 billion by 2050. This growth will challenge the world’s agricultural systems in two ways. First, the developed nations including those who have joined the wealthier nations in the last 20 years such as China and India will have the middle-class population and purchasing power to consume more high-quality food including meat and fish, which in turn demand more grains and oilseeds for feed. Second, in the developing world, where much of the population increase will accrue, local production will be insufficient without dramatic improvements, and world prices may preclude these poorer nations from affording necessary imports.
Global food security will require improvements to both of these supply chains.
Major grain-growing nations will see this as both a moral responsibility to help feed the world and also a huge economic opportunity to those who can respond. Helping the developing world to meet its challenge is also the responsibility of richer nations – not by charitable donation of grains which breeds dependency, but rather by transferring the technologies needed in the developing world to boost crop yields locally. This will result in creating a growing economy based initially on agriculture, but eventually replacing subsistence-level poverty with economic cycles catalyzed by better nutrition and health.
It is with this vision in mind that Global Institute for Food Security will develop technologies that can be used to increase food production in the developed world, while transferring appropriate technologies to the developing world through local partnerships.
The words in the name of our organization really do matter. We are a research institute harnessing discovery science for food security. Our mandate is global and we will help major agricultural countries, like Canada, to meet the challenge. However, we will adapt our discoveries to benefit farmers in developing countries to meet local needs. We cannot do this alone. With our international network of partners, we can together prepare the world to meet this critical challenge facing humanity