Feeding 9 Billion Mouths: The Next Global Challenge

Given the rising health and living standard (longevity) across the globe, a conservative estimate of some experts suggests, the world population is likely to increase by approximately 2 billion in the coming decade (i.e. making a total of 9 billion world population). By this estimate, the world would need roughly 70% more food than today. Feeding 9 billion people is therefore going to be the next huge challenge for Governments (parents) across the globe. The challenge such a huge population growth is going to present to our planet with rapidly decreasing resources (especially water and productive arable lands) is enormous. Population growth dynamic issues involving (but not limited to) the intense competition for quality/healthy food to feed both human and animals, the impact of agriculture intensification on land use patterns, growth in biofuels requirements, urbanization into rural areas, industrialization with its associated pollution effects, Food conservation and waste management trends are all part of a complex equation in determining future food supply and demand patterns.

As an expert in efficiency and productivity analysis of agricultural products, I will restrict my discussion on this important topic, to what can be done to meet future food requirement challenges from an agricultural production point of view (hoping experts in other fields will contribute other view points). To reduce the over exploitation and destruction of forest cover and fresh water bodies (including underground water) in producing food, means to boost agricultural productivity across the globe (especially in the developing world) using innovative technologies leading to sustainable farming must be a priority by all stakeholders (i.e. both governments and private). Smart agricultural production strategies (i.e. efficient farming) which increase farm output drastically from every acre of land and every drop of water without the need for further expansion into protected/marginal lands is going to be vital to enable us meet our future food requirement challenges in the era of global climate change.

Climate change as a result of green-house-effect will certainly impact food production and farm productivity across the globe (especially in emerging and developing economies); hence, smart farming (i.e. using local production resources efficiently as well as application of innovative production techniques) could reduce the devastating impact of global warming on farm output. The rapid population growth across the globe is already exerting enormous pressure on land available for farming, this means, future food demand will need to be met without additional expansion of production lands, hence, enhancing farm productivity (especially in Africa) is going to be imperative in order to provide for our growing population. The sooner all stakeholders work together in a coherent manner to address the issue at hand, the brighter our chance of meeting this future challenge of feeding 9 billion mouths.

Author: Dr. Amos Mensah

Agricultural and Resource Economist, Consultant-GFA-Group, Researcher-Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

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Henry Cobblah

Henry Cobblah is a Tech Developer, Entrepreneur, and a Journalist. With over 15 Years of experience in the digital media industry, he writes for over 7 media agencies and shows up for TV and Radio discussions on Technology, Sports and Startup Discussions.

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