Less than a third of the world’s population could currently meet its demand for food with locally produced food , according to a new study from Aalto University in Sweden.
This can intensify vulnerabilities during any type of global crisis, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic , as global food supply chains are disrupted – the current epidemic emphasizes the importance of self-sufficiency and local food production. .
The study, published in Nature Food , modeled the minimum distance between crop production and consumption that humans around the world would need in order to meet their demand for food.
The world’s population lives in countries that depend, at least partially, on imported food. As Pekka Kinnunen , study leader, explains:
There are big differences between the different areas and the local foliage. For example, in Europe and North America, temperate crops, such as wheat, can be grown primarily within a 500-kilometer radius. By comparison, the global average is about 3,800 kilometers.
The researchers globally modeled the distances between production and consumer. The study included six key crop groups for humans: temperate grains (wheat, barley, rye), rice, corn, tropical grains (millet, sorghum), tropical roots (cassava), and legumes.
Within a radius of less than 100 kilometers :
- It was shown that 27% of the world’s population could obtain their cereal grains.
- 22% for tropical cereals.
- 28% for rice.
- 27% for legumes.
- 11-16% for corn and tropical roots.