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How are we going to feed 10 Billion People

19 December 2019

Is it A Real Possibility to be Able to Feed 10 Billion People? Find Out in This Article!

 

Hello Aluxers, and welcome back! As always, it’s so nice to have you here with us to learn and grow.
The global food security crisis has been an ongoing topic of discussion among world leaders for years now. In today’s article, we are going to explore this phenomenon, and try to understand how we can save future generations of our rapidly expanding population – from food shortages? (or to be precise, feed 10 Billion People in future!)

 

Here is a video for all the precious Aluxers who prefer a video over an article!

But let’s not waste any more time, and dive into this one…

What if?

What if the global food supply falls short of the demand? What if current food-self-sufficient countries become net food importers? What if more food continues to be wasted rather than consumed?

And Aluxers, while these things might seem to be far-off realities, We’re here to remind you these things are coming at us faster than we thought they would.
The world population is expected to grow to nearly 10 billion by 2050, and to support that, we would need to produce more food than we ever have.. But before we explore solutions to this alarming food crisis, let’s first get down to the basics-

Introduction

Right now, India and countries in Africa account for one-third of the world’s food-sufficient  populations. China – which accounts for one fifth of the population – is a net importer of food.

Now, if you’re thinking population is the sole reason behind this upcoming food crisis, we would like you to know it’s really just the tip of the iceberg.

Over the years, worldwide food consumption patterns have changed drastically, and so have the ways in which food is produced.  Currently the amount of calories produced worldwide are not equally distributed across the globe, and aside from human consumption, are used in other ways, like through feeding livestock.

Inflation in food rates has also been a contributing factor to this food crisis facing some parts of the world right now.  For example, food inflation in Pakistan increased 10.68% in August 2019, over the same month in the previous year.

More than half of the country’s population is food insecure, and the government in Pakistan has been internationally condemned to ensure the population is able to meet its food deficit. Over the last few years, many parts of the world have faced a similar surge in food prices, resulting in civil unrest and, in some cases, the overthrowing of governments.

What’s more, other global issues like climate change are only aggravating the food crisis, as unstable climate conditions lead to unstable growing conditions, affecting the crop yields of even the most fertile lands in the world.

Now with such a complex nature of the problem at hand, one could wonder – what are we going to do about it? Or is it simply… unavoidable?

Well you can rest assured, with advancements in technology, there have been several changes in the food production sector that are helping to make the system better…. Let’s take a look at these solutions – and who are the top players driving the change.

Resource: China is Now Buying Bottled Air from Canada

The Changemakers

Aluxers, whenever we think about global issues like this one, we always feel like it’s governments and policy makers…. The NGO’s and intellectuals who can steer us in the right direction and fight for change. But surprisingly, there are some famous businesses making major strides when it comes to food security.

The world famous candy maker Mars is a household name, and being one of the world’s top cocoa consumers,its driving many sustainable practices that can also help cocoa producers in Africa to improve their efficiency.

After observing inefficiencies in cocoa production, and realizing it was a cumulative result of the unavailability of good agricultural equipment.. a lack of knowledge… and low investments in the agricultural sector, Mars committed itself to empower its producers to reach their best potential… something we all must strive for if we wish to meet our current – and future – food demands.

Another way to tackle this issue, is to cut down on consumption and search for more sustainable alternatives… which is exactly what the world’s second biggest consumer of cotton – IKEA – is trying to do.

The swedish furniture giant has partnered with World Wide Fund and is working to reduce consumption of pesticides and water used for growing cotton through various producers worldwide. Cotton is considered to be one of the top commodities that are under threat of mass extinction, and efforts taken for its sustainable growth are definitely commendable.

Another household name pioneering sustainable production practices is Unilever.  Considering the array of FMCG products (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) sold by them, one can well imagine the amount of starch Unilever consumes annually.  Until recently, most of this starch was synthesized chemically, but the company has now substituted the synthetic starch with organically produced crops like cassava, that are grown in Indonesia.

Such efforts made by top companies can definitely help boost the agriculture industry, and push locals to opt for farming by choice, rather than as a last resort.. especially in countries like Indonesia.

Now that we know there are businesses playing their part to help farmers and food security worldwide, let us understand how technological advancements can help us in producing food more efficiently.

The Future of Food Production

When it comes to world wide issues like – like food security – of course we’ll be looking to the science and technology sectors.  Over the years, advancements in biotechnology and the introduction of Genetically Modified (GMO) food products have improved the effectiveness of the agricultural sector around the world.

Years of collecting data in agriculture has shown only 30% of the plants, contribute to 70% of the produce…. As well, top producers in the world’s largest agricultural economies tend to produce 10x better than their low yielding counterparts.

These findings have helped scientists to map genes of the best producing crops, and world wide fund has made this critical data available in public domains – forgoing the intellectual property in an urge to solve the food security crisis.

Now if you are thinking that GMOs are the answer to all our problems, it is not as simple as it looks.  GMO crops don’t come affordably, and as we already discussed, food inflation is not a good thing.

Meanwhile, some intellectuals believe GMO crops will only push profits for  big Biotech companies, rather than addressing the main issue.

A better way to solve the food crisis could be to push the lower-performing 70% of produce, to improve yields, rather than replicating all the best performing crops.

Resource: Deadliest Foods In The World | Top 10

Challenges and Threats

Although there are many businesses and non profit organisations that are striving to address this complex issue, there are lots of challenges, at a behavioural level, that make the food crisis even more complex.

People consume and produce food very differently in developed countries, compared to developing ones, and even the nature of food waste is very different in these two parts of the world. Feeding 10 billion people is something we need to start problem solving for today. At present, developing countries face challenges in storage and the maintenance of staples produced, whereas developed nations face the challenge of cutting down on food waste, post consumption.

Now, given the nature of the problem is so complex, there’s no way we can come up with a cookie-cutter model to replicate across the globe and solve this issue.  Every geography needs to adopt its own best practice, as per their local needs, driving sustainability in both food production and consumption levels.

Even though science and technology have advanced to a great extent to improve the way we produce food…. right now, we are wasting one calorie for every three calories we produce, and we simply cannot keep doing the same for the remaining 31 production cycles leading up to 2050. 

Conclusion

Aluxers, we know that burning issues like food security aren’t something an individual can solve alone, but while world leaders are trying to address the cause, we can all do our part by opting for sustainably produced food items, and cutting down on food waste on a personal level.

Question

Of course, we know we have a large international audience, and we’re curious – is your country suffering from food inflation, or a food related crisis?

Also, what is your take on this alarming phenomenon? Are you someone who would opt for a low calorie diet, or would you prefer to take steps to curb food wastage rather than changing your consumption habits?