Scientists from organizations including the United Nations, the EAT-Lancet Commission, and the Food and Land Use Coalition state that raising animals for food is one of the major drivers of the world's most pressing environmental problems, including global warming, land degradation, air and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.
Growing crops to feed them to farm animals is vastly inefficient, driving up the price of grains and legumes and entrenching global poverty. With India’s debilitating challenges of malnutrition coupled with rapidly rising meat demand over the next decade, we need a more efficient protein production platform to nourish our population.
Water scarcity, climate change, and a dearth of lucrative opportunities cripple our farmers’ ability to shape their destiny. With over half our population engaged in agriculture, the smart protein sector can create value chains, market opportunities, and a 21st century protein supply built on our agricultural heritage.
The twin threats of zoonotic pandemics and antimicrobial resistance are urgent and massive. The use of antibiotics in animals in India is projected to double by 2030, driven by the surge in chicken production, and zoonotic diseases such as African swine fever, avian flu, and Covid-19 can bring economic systems to a halt.
Now more than ever, we have a chance to tackle our most pressing problems by rethinking the way we make our food. Smart protein foods replicate the sensory and cultural experience of meat, eggs. and dairy, but are made from plant or crop ingredients, cells, or microorganisms, - which means they use vastly less land and water, have vastly lower greenhouse gas emissions, and create vastly less risk to public health.
In India, rethinking protein can help tackle malnutrition, boost farmers’ incomes and economic growth, and steward planetary health. Just as smartphones leapfrogged over telephone lines and catapulted India to the digital age, we have a chance to leapfrog over industrial animal agriculture to produce protein that tastes the same or better, and costs the same or less as animal-sourced foods.
Building a climate-resilient, robust protein is one of our foremost challenges over the next decade - and India can play a central role in this global sunrise sector, if we act now. Join us in the Mission for Smart Protein. Let’s change the way the world eats!