Would there be enough food for humanity 10 or 20 years from now?
Experts estimate that there will be about nine billion people on the planet in 2050 that will need to eat and drink. Feeding this huge number of people is a big challenge to world leaders. The United Nations has written down goals in order to achieve food security in the future. Leaders at the World Economic Forum have also crafted action plans to address the need.
Studies have also looked into possible obstacles in carrying out a secure food supply in the future. Let us look into these issues below:
Food Wastes – Experts believe it is not enough to increase food production to meet future food needs if the current population keeps wasting food. Rich countries have sufficient, if not an oversupply, of food for its population. However, a lot of these foods go to waste.
A good example is fast food restaurants that throw away uneaten food that are supposed to be still edible. Supermarkets also hugely contribute to food waste by throwing away vegetables and other consumables that are still edible but no longer look pleasing to consumers.
Population Growth – The worldometers.info website currently places the world population at 7.7 million. Statistics indicate that the world population is increasing at the rate of 1.08 percent or about 82 million people annually.
Asia has the highest percentage of increase, with China as the country with the biggest population worldwide, currently at 1.4 billion.
Changing Food Tastes – Rich economies are seeing a shift in people’s food preferences. There is now a higher demand for processed foods, as well as meat and dairy. The demand for these food products is putting pressure on agriculture to produce more grains to feed animals used for meat consumption. The European Union, Canada, and the US are reported as the countries with the highest livestock and meat consumption on a daily basis.
Climate Change – The climate change affecting the world today is heading towards hotter temperatures that are converting agricultural and tillable lands into deserts or arid lands not worthy for planting crops. It is estimated that about 40 percent of the world’s land is no longer fit for planting. If this persists, the agricultural lands available will no longer be sufficient for planting crops that can feed the human population in 2050.
Water Crisis – Without sufficient water supply, farmlands will not be able to yield crops sufficiently. About 28 percent of the world’s farmlands are located in regions that lack sufficient water supply.
Loss of Interest in Farming – The increasing losses in farm crops is making it difficult for farmers to earn a good amount of money that would allow them to survive decently. Because of this, more and more farmers are losing interest in tilling the land, and are finding alternative sources of revenue. Some are also converting their lands to other uses like commercial use.
Much work is needed to implement the action plans geared towards sustaining the food requirements of the future. No time should be wasted in solving this need!