b'GIANT VIEWSBY: BJORN LOMBORGA LITTLE OF THIS GOES A LONG WAYworld leaders have made grand developmentsmaller increase of 50 per cent.promises for every country by 2030, calledThe untapped potential is huge. As I the Sustainable Development Goals. Onewrite about in my new book Best Things of the most crucial goals focuses on waysFirst, the new research demonstrates that to boost agriculturefrom ending hungerthe world will only need to spend a small to ensuring better nutrition and more sus- amount more each year to generate vast ben-tainable farming.efits. It estimates the additional cost of R&D Unfortunately, we are failing ourthis decade is about US$5.5 billion annu-pledges, and not just because Covid derailedallya relatively small sum, less even than progress. A tracker shows that even basedAmericans spend on ice cream every year.on progress before the pandemics disrup- This investment will generate better tion, politicians food promises will not beseeds and high-yield crops that can also met by 2030 but more than 80 years later,better handle weather changes like those in the early 2100s. we will see from climate change. Creating Indeed, the entire world will be latebigger and more resilient harvests will ben-Bjorn Lomborg on all its major commitments. We are nowefit farmers, and producing more food will entering the second half for our grandhelp consumers with lower prices. promises, but were nowhere near halfway.The total net benefit over the next 35 O ne of humanitys biggest achieve- Thats why my think tank, the Copenhagenyears for both farmers and consumers adds up ments in the last century wasConsensus, has been working with some ofto more than $2 trillion. Every dollar spent making a huge increase in foodthe worlds best economists to identify thedelivers an astounding $33 of social benefits, production. From 1900 to 2000, there wasmost effective policies for the remainingmaking this a spectacular investment. a six-fold increase in crop harvests while thetime. If we cant do everything, we shouldBy 2050, this additional funding will global population increased less than four- focus on the smartest solutions in everyboost agricultural output by 10 per cent, fold, meaning that on average people todayareaincluding agriculture and hunger. reduce food prices by 16 per cent, and have around 50 per cent more food availableOur researchers looked at many agricul- increase per capita incomes by 4 per cent. than their great, great grandparents.tural policies, like subsidizing fertilizer andThe investment will increase GDP in devel-Most of the increase in productionincreasing irrigation. These all deliver moder- oping countries by $2.2 trillion by 2030 and came from farmers growing m ore food fromate benefits to society, but per dollar invested,$11.9 trillion by 2050, a 2 per cent and 6 per each hectare of land. The extraordinary pro- the effects are not amazing. However, therecent increase in per capita incomes respec-gress is due to the Green Revolution thatis one clear opportunity for humanity: a bigtively. And more efficient agriculture will turbo-charged modern inputs for farming.increase in investment in agricultural researchreduce global climate emissions by more It has been estimated that Nobeland development (R&D).than 1 per cent.Peace Prize winning agronomist NormanThere is still significant underspendingAgricultural R&D is a phenomenal Borlaug, who spearheaded the intensifi- on agricultural R&D for poorer countries.investment because not only do we make cation of modern farming methods, savedBig corporations understandably spend mostagrarian workers more productive, but we more than one billion lives from hunger.in rich countries where large-scale farmersenable more people to be productive and As well as feeding people, the Greenhave deep pockets. That is why in 2015, 80innovative in other sectors, too. It leads to Revolution made societies much richer.per cent of global agricultural R&D fund- fewer people being hungry, and to lower And, as agriculture becomes more efficient,ing went to rich and upper-middle incomecosts of food for everyone.people are freed from backbreaking labourcountries, while lower-middle income coun- We cant deliver on all our promises and able to engage in a much broader rangetries got only 20 per cent, and the worldsfor 2030. But we should deliver on agri-of productive activities. poorest countries got almost nothing.cultural R&D for the poorest half of the The Green Revolution was an extraor- This unequal investment has been per- planet, because its one of the best invest-dinary achievement. However, the worldsistent for more than half a century. It is aments humanity can make.needs a second Green Revolution to extendprimary reason why the Green Revolution the benefits to the worlds poorest anddidnt help the poorest as much as wealth- Editors Note: Bjorn Lomborg is President of the reduce global hunger.ier countries. Cereal yields in high-incomeCopenhagen Consensus and Visiting Fellow at It is especially needed today as we fallcountries almost tripled from 1961 to 2018,Stanford Universitys Hoover Institution. His behind on feeding the planet. Since 2016,whereas low-income countries saw a muchnew book is Best Things First. 40ISEED WORLD EUROPEISEEDWORLD.COM/EUROPE'