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Economic growth, convergence, and world food demand and supply

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  • Fukase,Emiko
  • Martin,William J.

Abstract

In projecting global food demand to 2050, much attention has been given to rising demand due to the projected population increase from the current 7.4 billion to more than 9 billion. An increasingly important source of the increase in food demand is per capita demand growth induced by rising income per person. Since the proportion of income spending on food decreases as incomes rise, growth in global food demand will be greater if incomes grow faster in developing countries than in high-income countries. Such a pattern of income convergence has become established in recent years, making it important to assess the implications for food demand and supply. Using a resource-based measure of food that accounts for the much higher production costs associated with dietary upgrading, this paper concludes that per capita demand growth is likely to be a more important driver of food demand than population growth between now and 2050. Using the middle-ground International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis Shared Socioeconomic Pathway projections to 2050, which assume continued income convergence, the paper finds that the increase in food demand (102 percent) would be roughly a third greater than without convergence (78 percent). Since the impact of convergence on the supply side is much more muted, convergence puts upward pressure on world food prices, partially offsetting a baseline trend toward falling world food prices to 2050.

Suggested Citation

  • Fukase,Emiko & Martin,William J., 2017. "Economic growth, convergence, and world food demand and supply," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8257, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:8257
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    References listed on IDEAS

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