Answering the nine billion people question will require to face a wide range of technical and political challenges. The following are key ones addressed by this article:
-As shown by the occurance of two extreme food crises in the last five years, a distributional imbalance exists in global production and consumption of food between developed and developing countries; enough food is being produced but there is a problem with distribution and much food is never consumed.
- If left unchanged, consumption will continue to increase because of population growth and increasing demand for meat and processed food in cities and developed countries.
- Conversely, production will continue to decrease as the formerly successful techniques of the Green Revolution lessen due to environmental constraints.
- Production of biofuels contributes to the imbalance as valuable land and food resources are used in their production.
- Unsustainable agricultural practices such as over fertilization, wasteful water usage and deforestation are having environmental impacts such as pollution, seasonal shifts and climate change which threaten to decrease agricultural yields by up to one third.
- These environmental impact are increasing and have a direct negative effect on the quality, quantity and consistancy of the crop produced.
- In order to meet the world's food needs, production needs to increase by 75% to feed 9 billion people by 2050.
- Along with increased availability of fertilizer and pesticide, technological improvements like efficient irrigation and soil management can help increase yield in developing countries where access to food is most limited.
- If technology is employed widely and efficiently so as to limit its environmental impact it is possible that agriculture production will rise enough to feed the entire world's population.