Meeting the Challenges for Agriculture
Ensuring food security is an ongoing global challenge. Many forecasts point to a need to increase food production by at least 70% if we are to feed the world’s projected population of nine billion in 2050. Recent volatility in commodity prices and the general upward trend in the cost of food are indicators that global food systems are now driven by demand rather than supply. There are various reasons for this: greater demand for animal protein with economic growth in developing countries; the continuing increase in world population; competition between food and bioenergy crops for land and water; low inventories of world grain stocks; reduced investment in agricultural R&D; and unfavorable weather resulting in a succession of poor harvests around the world. Increasing production of grains, which are the foundation of the human food supply, will have to be achieved through higher crop yields without boosting inputs of land, water and energy. Meeting community expectations for environmental stewardship and sustainability, and adapting food production to increasingly variable climate, add greatly to the challenge. [...]
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