14 October 2016

FUTURE FOOD FORUM 2016

In Pursuit of a World Without Hunger

At the invitation of K+S, experts from the fields of politics and business, specialists in development cooperation and scientists met in Berlin yesterday for the second FUTURE FOOD FORUM. They discussed how to achieve the goal set by the United Nations of a world without hunger by 2030. The prominent speakers included the Nobel Peace Prize winner Prof. Muhammad Yunus, Prof. Klaus Töpfer and Charles Ogang of the World Farmers Organization.

“Much has changed in a positive direction over the past few years, the number of people experiencing hunger has declined worldwide,” is how the conference host, Norbert Steiner, the chairman of the K+S Board of Executive Directors, described the situation at the outset. The goal has not been achieved yet, he added, as almost 800 million people still do not have enough to eat. The global population is continuing to grow and the global demand for food is growing along with it. “We’ve invited you to the FUTURE FOOD FORUM in Berlin, because we at K+S believe that this is also a matter of concern to us here in Europe and in Germany as well,” said Steiner.

Professor Dr. Klaus Töpfer, the former Executive Director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam and for many years, the head of United Nations Environmental Program, said that hunger could be eliminated. It’s true that prophets of doom such as the British economist Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) repeatedly asserted that food production would not be able to keep pace with the increase in the global population. “However, Malthus had not reckoned with a Liebig,” said Töpfer. The chemist Justus von Liebig (1803-1873) realized the importance of potash fertilizers and in doing so revolutionized agriculture. “To master the challenges of the future, an inventive spirit will still be required: We need progress that is based on science and is responsible in terms of technology at the same time.”

Charles Ogang, president of the Farmers’ Association of Uganda and, at the same time, a member of the Board of Directors of the World Farmers’ Organization, described how, using the current situation in Africa as an example, even greater efforts were still required to reduce the hardship being experienced by many people. In the countryside in particular, which is where the key to solving the problem of global hunger lies, there continued to be a lack of know-how and infrastructure while resources such as fertile soil and water were scarce, he said. “That is why raising agricultural productivity is all the more important,” said Ogang. Doing so is feasible in Africa, but also particularly demanding at the same time, he added, because farming is mainly in the hands of smallholders.

Prof. Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel peace prize winner and founder of the Grameen Bank, which is credited with inventing “social business” and microcredits, urged business to do more to avert a possible new food crisis. Drawing on the history of his own company, he described how several decades ago and following a famine in Bangladesh, it proved possible to liberate millions of people from poverty. “More personal initiatives are needed in those regions of the world particularly affected by crises, because the big institutions have hitherto failed to demonstrate that they are in a position to solve the fundamental problems of our world, such as poverty or hunger,” said Yunus.

The high-ranking international speakers at the FUTURE FOOD FORUM also included Bärbel Dieckmann (President of Welthungerhilfe), Sara Nuru (“Menschen für Menschen” Foundation), James Shikwati (development aid critic from Nairobi, Kenya), the documentary film director Valentin Thurn, as well as experts from the OECD, GIZ and WWF. Agricultural scientists and practitioners from Brazil, India and Africa took part in the discussions, too.

The FUTURE FOOD FORUM is organized by K+S AG every two years in the run-up to World Food Day (October 16) and brings together prominent figures from the worlds of international politics, business and science. The focus of the forum is on how the fight against hunger can be waged more efficiently, how international development cooperation can be improved and what contribution has to be made in this regard by local agriculture and the food industry with modern production methods and functioning distribution channels at the local level.

As a fertilizer producer, K+S sees itself as part of the solution to realizing the goal set by the UN of ending global hunger by 2030. This is because the balanced application of the fertilizers that K+S produces from potash and magnesium makes it possible to achieve substantial increases in yields. According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), arable land per capita is projected to decline by almost one third by 2050, and as a result, this will become even more important as we move forward. Farmers worldwide thus need to make optimal use of their land resources in order to be able to produce enough food for an ever-growing world population.

More information about the event and up-to-date photographs for the press are available at www.future-food-forum.com.

About K+S

K+S is an international resources company. We have been mining and processing mineral raw materials for more than 125 years. The products we produce from them are used worldwide in agriculture, food and road safety and are important elements in numerous industrial processes. Potash and salt are integral nutrients for the megatrend of a constantly growing and increasingly prosperous global population striving for a higher standard of living. This will result in increasing consumption of mineral resources. We serve the resulting growth in demand from production sites in Europe, North America and South America as well as through a global distribution network. K+S is the world’s largest salt producer and one of the top potash providers worldwide. With more than 14,000 employees, K+S achieved revenues in financial year 2015 of about € 4.2 billion and an EBIT of € 782 million. Learn more about K+S at www.k-plus-s.com.

Michael Wudonig

Spokesman

Phone: +49 561 9301 1262
michael.wudonig@k-plus-s.com

Michael Wudonig
Spokesman

Bertha-von-Suttner Str. 7
34131 Kassel
Germany

Phone: +49 561 9301 1262
Fax: +49 561 9301 1666
michael.wudonig@k-plus-s.com

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