Friday, February 13, 2015

In a Warming World We Can't Keep Depending on the Same Few Crops

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 10:35 By Sayed Azam-Ali, The Conversation | Op-Ed 

We are in the middle of one of the biggest experiments in human history. At its core is the homogenisation of global food systems, which increasingly must deliver the same products to an expanding population (in all senses) across the world.

I now live in Kajang, in the Klang Valley around Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This area typifies many fast emerging economies where increasing wealth and aspirations lead to an appetite for global brands – to buy and to eat. Within a few kilometres of my house I can purchase the same fast-food as in New York, London or Sydney.

The first McDonald’s in Kuala Lumpur opened in 1982. Now, there are more than 250 restaurants in Malaysia, with 42% of the local fast-food market in the Klang Valley. It is hard to imagine that when the McDonald brothers opened their first branch in California in 1940, they would initiate a global phenomenon whereby 70m customers in 118 countries would consume an estimated 1% of the food eaten every day on the planet in a McDonald’s outlet.

Kajang actually claims to be the home of satay. However, it seems inconceivable that a local “mamak” stall owner could ever sell satay on virtually every street corner around the world. McDonald’s now serves 144m “happy meals” in Malaysian outlets each year. Presumably, this saves 144m bored Malaysians from staring into their bowls of curry mee, satay and Roti Canai.

Global Systems for Global Food  READ MORE

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