How Will the World Feed Itself in the Future?
The world's food security depends on the quality of the forward-looking agricultural studies we are carrying out today, says Mark Holderness.
Climate change, population growth and competing demands for land and resources are putting great pressure on the world's food systems. Smallholder farmers in the developing world, who produce much of the food for the poorest people, are threatened by devastating droughts and floods, food price spikes, and persistent poverty.
Scientific advances have greatly alleviated hunger and poverty. The introduction of higher yield crop varieties and better agricultural management practices have saved and improved millions of lives.
But the pace of change is accelerating — demanding greater, more urgent responses. Our population is set to reach nine billion by 2050. To feed them we will need to produce 70 per cent more food, and do so without destroying our environment.
We cannot respond only when crisis is upon us. Our actions must be forward-looking, reaching beyond short-term demands to longer-term impacts.
What kind of a world might we see in coming decades? And what kind of a world do we want to see in the next 20, 40, or 60 years?
Farmers spraying pesticides on rice field via Shutterstock.
Read more at ENN Affiliate, SciDevNet.