How can the world feed 3 billion more people?
Nov 16, 2009
By 2050, the world will have to feed 3 billion more humans. How can we do such a task when currently one out of eight, or people 850 million, are malnourished?
Feeding the growing global population was one of the topics at the recent World Agricultural Forum. One speaker, Carl Hausmann, president and CEO of Bunge North America, claimed that science has to play a role in solving this problem of feeding more people.
Hausmann warned that anti-trade or anti-technology political agendas could hurt finding a solution in the future. One interesting point he made was that by, “letting countries concentrate on the food production that they do best means the world maintains production on the most sustainable croplands.” Other speakers argued that high export taxes, such as the 35% soybean tax in Argentina, are hurting the global food market.
Demand rises for US farmland
Obviously science must be a factor in feeding 3 billion more humans, but the crops still need land to grow on. With so much farmland being lost every year by urbanization, the supply of good farmland is disappearing. The demand for this farmland is going to rise because of the need to feed so many more people.
Demand for global farmland will undoubtedly increase. Jerry Hatfield, the director of the National Soil Tilth Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, said “Each human on earth lives off the farming equivalent of about a third of a football field today. Population growth and urbanization will shrink that available land base in half by 2050.” No more farmland is being created to help solve this dilemma.
The supply is shrinking, and the demand is bound to rise exponentially. This gives farmland the potential to become one of the best investments available over the long run.