In order to avoid widespread hunger in the next few years, scientists warn that billions of dollars are needed to invest in agriculture and food distribution systems.

In a report issued last week, the scientists said, “If that investment is directed toward sustainable forms of agriculture, then farming can also be made into a weapon in the fight against dangerous global warming … as more environmentally friendly farming methods can result in soils absorbing carbon dioxide rather than releasing it.”

The scientists admitted that agriculture has been neglected in international climate change negotiations, but the problem of global hunger persists and will not go away.

"If you intensify agriculture to produce more food while producing less [greenhouse gas emissions] then you deliver benefits in terms of climate change as well – reducing emissions and increasing food security in vulnerable regions," said Sir John Beddington, the UK's chief scientist and one of the authors of the report, Achieving food security in the face of climate change, published by the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change, convened by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.

Sir John added: "We need a socially equitable and global approach to produce the funding and policy initiatives that will deliver nutrition, income and climate benefits for all."

Investment should be targeted at the regions most vulnerable to climate change, as they are also the areas at greatest risk of food insecurity, the scientists said.

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