Will we have a global food crisis?

The proportion of people in the world who are hungry has decreased dramatically over the past half century [1]. But 1 in 7 people still do not have enough energy and protein in their diet [1]. This is because food is unevenly distributed between regions [5], and about one third of all food produced is wasted [1]. .

The global population is predicted to grow from 7.7 billion now [2], to around 9 billion people by 2050 [1]. People are also becoming richer, and so buy more meat and dairy [1]. For these reasons, it is predicted that we will need to produce 70-100% more food by 2050 [1]. This is hard, especially considering effects of climate change [1]: more drought, and spread of pests and diseases [5]. .

It is estimated that by 2027 we could have too little food to feed everyone, with a calorie deficit of 214 trillion calories [3]. That’s equivalent to needing 670 billion extra bowls of pasta [8]! .

This sounds like a global food crisis. Can we avoid it? There are 3 methods which could work together [1,3]: .

1) Change DIETS – people in richer countries need to eat less [1]! For example, about 52% of adults in the European Union are overweight [4]. Excess food produced in wealthy countries should be exported to places that need it most – parts of Africa, India and China [3]. .

2) Reduce food WASTE – through better infrastructure in poor countries, and less waste in homes in rich countries [7]. .

3) Improve food PRODUCTION – this perhaps has the most potential [3]. The most improvement is needed in Africa and India [3]. Yields can be increased by e.g. breeding and genetic modification of crops, efficient use of chemicals and water, and natural pest and disease control [5,6]. Economic growth, and access to more free trade can also help [1,3,5]. If this is done effectively on a huge scale, then we should be able to avoid a global food crisis [3]. .

If we do not make farming in Africa and India more efficient, then the demand for food in these areas will be met by importing food from other places, particularly South America [3]. This, in turn, will cause more deforestation [3].


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