From: Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM, More from this Affiliate
Published January 30, 2010 05:56 AM

Will it be possible to feed nine billion people sustainably?

Sometime around 2050 researchers estimate that the global population will level-out at nine billion people, adding over two billion more people to the planet. Since, one billion of the world's population (more than one in seven) are currently going hungry—the largest number in all of history—scientists are struggling with how, not only to feed those who are hungry today, but also the additional two billion that will soon grace our planet. In a new paper, published in Science, researchers make recommendations on how the world may one day feed nine billion people—sustainably. 


The difficulties are many and large, according to the paper: "growing competition for land, water and energy, and the over-exploitation of fisheries, will affect our ability to produce food, as will the urgent requirement to reduce the impact of the food system on the environment."

The finiteness of arable land and freshwater will be further strained by what the authors call "higher purchasing power", which increases the demand in the developing world for "processed food, meat, dairy and fish, all of which adds pressure to the food supply system."

Further complicating the problem of limited—and over-stretched resources—will be the need to adapt to a changing climate.

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