By feeding livestock and farmed salmon agricultural waste and other food-system by-products to humans and livestock, we can increase the amount of food that is available without needing more land.
Matti Kummu, a professor at Aalto University, Finland, says that the projected human population will reach 9.7 billion people by 2050. This means producing more food on less land is essential to reduce the impact of the global food supply system. More than 20% of fish caught or farmed are used as feed for livestock and other fish.
Kummu says that we could use these resources for humans instead of recirculating them through animals. It’s an inefficient method of food production.
Kummu, along with his colleagues, wanted to find out how much more food people could have by feeding animals and fish by-products from the food system. These include grain leftover from beer brewing, blood meal from meat processing, and plant material that was left after harvest. The researchers analyzed data from around the world on agricultural outputs, usage, and nutritional requirements for livestock and farmed salmon to find out.
Please read more about Four big industries driving the exploitation and exploitation of our oceans.
Around 15 percent of the grains, fish, and other food currently given to livestock or farmed fish could be used for human consumption. Farmers use this high-quality feed because it consistently leads to optimal growth of animals, according to Hannah van Zanten from Wageningen University.
Researchers found that food by-products could replace around 12 percent of the high-quality feed without impacting productivity. The researchers found that crop remnants could return up to 27 percent of high-quality animal feed. However, because they are less nutritious, such as corn stalks rather than corn kernels, it could result in a reduction of beef and dairy production of as much as 80 percent. Van Zanten says, “It would be like eating lettuce every day.”
The first scenario, without farming additional land, would increase the total number of calories for human consumption, and specifically the amount of proteins, by approximately 6 percent. Even with reduced beef production, replacing 27 percent of high-quality animal feed would increase calories available by roughly 13 percent and protein by about 15 cents.
Van Zanten, who was not involved in the project, says that this is a good solution. However, he thinks it would even be better if farm animals were not fed food suitable for humans.
She says eating less meat could also reduce the amount of animal food we produce. She says that feeding livestock waste food can replace more animal feed. However, food safety and concerns about animal welfare must be considered. It is also difficult to predict the impact of these diet changes on productivity for livestock raised with optimal feed.