The widely accepted claim that the world needs to double food production by 2050 has been branded a “big fat lie” by the Soil Association.

The organic body said that incorrect assumptions and poor science were behind the claim that a 100% increase was needed, which has been cited by figures as diverse as the UN Secretary General, Hilary Benn and the UK’s chief scientist, as well as the National Farmers Union.

An increase of 70% was more realistic, the association claimed.

“The ‘big fat lie’ of needing to double global food production by 2050 has dominated policy and media discussions of food and farming, making it increasingly difficult for advocates of sustainable farming methods, such as organic, to convince people we can actually feed the world without more damage to the environment and animal welfare,” said policy director Peter Melchett.

The Soil Association also expressed concern that those advocating a 100% increase would look to do so through more intensive agriculture and greater production of meat and dairy products.

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