Former Prime Minister Jim Bolger has given a Queenstown business audience plenty of food for thought in a wide-ranging speech.
Bolger, speaking at an Institute of Directors function at SkyCity Casino tonight (Tuesday), said one of the major issues facing the world was how to feed its population.
“It would be easy to believe the changes wrought by the economic meltdown – extensive and far-reaching as they are – are the only issues that demand our attention. But there are many others.
“How do we feed a world of [what will be] nine billion citizens by 2050 when we can’t feed seven billion today?
“The last time the world economy collapsed in the 1930s, world’s population was barely two billion people.
“There never seems to be a shortage of money for guns to kill but a shortage of money for food to save lives.
“And reflect on the fact far more die from hunger and preventable diseases every day than are killed by terrorists but far more focus is given to those killed by terrorists and preventing that is where the money is spent.”
Bolger, of a farming background who served as Prime Minister from 1990 to 1997, added: “Food production is the most important industry on the planet. We all want three meals a day – hungry people get angry. And that’s what starts most revolutions – hungry people.
“Economic policies across the globe dictate agricultural outcomes so the world needs to rethink economic policy if we wish to increase food production.”
Bolger says science will play a crucial role in what has to be the goal of food for all in the future – and in that respect improving educational outcomes must be a priority.
“Plan for a different tomorrow – and if you have a chance to lobby a minister anywhere, lobby them on education.”