The Fruits of Civilization (85) The Future of Food

The Future of Food

We will not end hunger. ~ United Nations in 2017

Based upon current population growth projections, from 2015 to 2050, world food production will need to increase some 60%. This is unlikely to happen.

Despite the increase in investment in agricultural R&D, the relative rate of yield gain for the major food crops has decreased. ~ Argentinian American agronomist Patricio Grassini et al

Already, the number of people in the world that cannot get enough to eat is rising, reaching 815 million in 2016: 11% of the global population.

Agriculture accounts for 70% of global water demand. In the decades to come, there won’t be enough water for the crops.

Productivity going up is improbable. Indications throughout much of the world are of crop yield plateaus or abrupt decreases. Climate change has already hurt food production.

Reducing waste is the best prospect for getting more food out of the current regime. Alas, efficiency is not a human forte, and the commercial food system is unlikely to much change its ways without government intervention that is both improbable and doubtful in its ability to attain an efficacious outcome.

Deforestation has already decimated biomes across the planet. Furthering this trend to bring vast tracts of new land under cultivation is more likely to accelerate the extinction event already well underway than it is to feed a ravenous humanity. Accelerating climate change is a surefire formula for decreasing crop yields, regardless of acreage.

A very real and devasting food crisis is looming on the horizon. ~ American agronomist Craig Idso in 2011