The existing food system has failed and needs urgent reform, says Olivier De Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food.

In his report, the UN expert provides a detailed critique of our industrial system of agriculture throughout the past 50 years. Industrial-scale agriculture has led to a rise in greenhouse gas emissions, which represent 15 percent of total manmade emissions, The Guardian reports.

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De Schutter says climate change will affect future agricultural productivity.

The report says, “Under a business as usual scenario, we can anticipate an average of 2% productivity decline over each of the coming decades, with yield changes in developing countries ranging from -27% to +9% for the key staple crops.”

At the rate of the world’s current meat consumption, we need to make more changes, fast.

“This is entirely unsustainable … Demand for meat diverts food away from poor people who are unable to afford anything but cereals … Continuing to feed cereals to growing numbers of livestock will aggravate poverty and environmental degradation,” said De Schutter to The Guardian.

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Schutter, a professor of law at the University of Louvain, Belgium, was appointed rapporteur in 2008. He advocates for a greater emphasis on local food production and an overhaul of trade policies that have led to overproduction in rich countries, while poor countries, which are often dependent on agriculture, are left hungry.

Image Source: Feed My Starving Children/Flickr

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