Jeff Simmons, president of the global animal company Elanco, said the face of extreme hunger seen on UNICEF commercials is only part of the story. He cited “six faces of food security,” including people in developing nations subsisting on rice and beans and Americans trying to stretch food stamp dollars or their monthly grocery budgets.“We need to make food more affordable and accessible,” he said.
Simmons was honored by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology as 2013 Borlaug CAST Communication Award as part of the World Food Prize events today. Simmons was recognized “for his understanding of scientific data, his enthusiasm for agricultural innovations, and his passion about finding solutions for food security.”Elanco, based in Greenfield, Ind., makes products that include medications for animal health and enhancers to boost livestock productivity.
Simmons cited studies in Kenya that showed a milk diet improved student test scores by 20 percent and a meat diet, 44 percent. “Rice and beans alone are not enough,” he said, citing the need for quality, not just quantity of calories. Simmons previewed his new white paper, “Enough: The Fight for a Food Secure Tomorrow.” The paper cited what he said are ththree most important measures:
– 3 billion people will join the middle class globally between now and 2050, and the fastest growth will occur before 2020.
– The globe will need a 60 percent increase in meat, milk and eggs by 2050, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
– We’re feeding more people with fewer resources. It takes 1.5 years for the Earth to regenerate annual consumption, the World Wildlife Fund said.
Simmons said the solutions rely on innovation, consumer and farmer choice and free trade. “We’ve talked enough. Enough is enough. We have enough technology,” he said. He cited the need to enable innovations and not “allow fringe movements or non-factual information to turn into wrong policies and/or marketplace confusion.”