I was just browsing through the news channel on my lazy weekend afternoon, when a presenter on the BBC channel caught my attention. “There are too many people on too little land” he said. I did not quite understand for which region or country was he talking about, when he continued with another phrase, “Doesn’t a planet of 10 billion look like a nightmare, as we’ll need to feed two billion more people by 2050”. I became attentive to the show and continued to wonder what are we as humans doing to sustain our planet and our existence?
How do we prepare for 2050?
Current estimates suggest that by 2050 the global population will reach 10bn. With so many mouths to feed, the task of producing more food with the limited resources that we have whilst simultaneously trying to reduce our carbon emissions to protect the environment and the crops we are trying to grow seems almost impossible. However, despite this uncertainty, there are some options and choices available to help deal with problem. These include reducing spoilage, protecting soil and increasing efficiency through technology, fairer distribution of resources, better education, protecting bio diversity and pollinators and bringing farming into unused spaces. But it will take a concerted effort from all of the major agriculture producers in order for it to be possible and without this we will certainly see ever more severe instances of drought, starvation and climate disasters as we move towards 2050.
Even according to conservative estimates from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, global agricultural production could easily feed a much higher human population. The Food Aid Organization estimates 785 million people do not have sufficient access to food to lead an active life; 12.9% of people in developing countries are undernourished. Wasted food is therefore a very real problem. There have been major increases in food consumption across the world since the beginning of the 1960s. As the economic power of consumers rises with the years their demand rises as well, rendering the years to come crucial for the mankind. Now, the increase on the population, including the increase in demand for food, renders crucial the existence of alternative and more sustainable food productions, thus a more sustainable agriculture plan has to take place.
Initiatives taken to solve the issue –
The initiatives of governments have never been more necessary to encourage the agricultural industry to operate in a more productive and sustainable manner, considering the expected enormous growth in the number of mouths to feed over the coming few decades. Government subsidy intervention is crucial in the agricultural industry to encourage producers of essential crops to increase and maintain production, particularly when prices are volatile and potential profits could be reduced. The intent has always been to stabilize markets, help low-income farmers, and aid rural development. However, this is not always the outcome and many subsidy programs have been criticized for heavily funding global agricultural conglomerates over smaller localized and sustainable businesses.
In spite of all the challenges and risks, the world has the resources and technology to eliminate hunger and make sure there is food for everyone in the long run. Key decisions on investment and policies need to be implemented effectively in order to eradicate hunger issues. It is a fact that every generation decides the future. It also depends if the choice will be less about what this generation thinks is reasonable, than what it thinks is good.
For more insights on the above topic, please visit Global Agriculture: Global population.