Nordic pride and humans to feed

I went to Sweden last week for the Nordic Dairy Congress, which was happily being held again in person after the hiatus caused by the pandemic. The funny thing is that my surname had everyone speaking to me in Danish/Swedish first, and then I tell them that my grandfather jumped ship in New York (he was working as a merchant seaman) and thus that particular branch of the family left Denmark back in the early 1900s. At any rate, my dad spoke Danish but we didn’t. Had I known how often I would be visiting Scandinavia, I may have worked a bit harder to get him to teach me some words. 

It was a great gathering of several hundred people, and there was a serious discussion about the role of dairy in feeding the planet in an affordable manner. This was an area that speakers kept coming back to over the course of the two-day conference.  

Dr Judith Bryans of Dairy UK laid it out graphically with her video of the growth of humans globally. We have 7.2 billion people currently on the planet, and the same land mass and water mass that we’ve had since humans first evolved. By 2050, it is estimated to hit 9.7 billion, an increase of 2.5 billion in less than 30 years. Around 90 per cent of these new people will be in Africa and Asia. More people are living longer and the population as a whole is ageing.  

Dr Bryans further noted, “People have to be able to afford nutritious food, as if the food available is too expensive, it’s not nutritious if you can’t take it home and eat it.” For quite some time, food security hasn’t been as high on everyone’s agenda as it should be, she observed. This has quickly changed, but malnutrition in all its forms has to be addressed. 

She stated that the global dairy industry has a role in a plethora of United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goals, and it has to keep moving together to meet them, in order to keep the planet population healthy: “All people have a right to food and it has to be good quality food… and we can’t take nutrition away from the issue of climate change.” Sensible words. See our upcoming full report on the Congress in the July issue of Dairy Industries International.  

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