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YOU say we have a big problem…why should WE care?

June 30, 2012

Recently, I was asked…What is the human-interest perspective of your passion for non-producers or agriculture associates? First off, I love questions because my passion thickens and my knowledge deepens each time i have to mentally search for an answer. I especially liked this question because it set up a perfect opportunity to bring the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation’s “How to Feed The World in 2050″ publication to the forefront of my blog and educate my readers. This will implicitly explain what the average human-interest is in the issues I am passionate about.

Let’s just address the facts to start. According to the expert-conference/meeting FAO hosted in Rome, during  2009, by the year 2050 the world population will increase by 34%. These numbers are simply based upon the average annual growth rate we have recognized in past centuries. The meeting also recognized that the percentage of the population living in urban areas will increase from 49% to 70% by 2050. Since 2000, average cereal yield has declined by 1.5% per annum and the use of commodity crops for bio-fuels has increased each year. The FAO conference, consisting of many economists, scientists, doctors, agronomists, environmental agencies, etc., concluded that all of these factors together would account for the 70% production increase needed to provide adequate food supply for the world population in 2050.

If you are involved in the agriculture industry, then the former information just made you shake your head and pose questions to yourself for answers to this upcoming problem. If you are not currently, or have never been involved in agriculture, then the former conclusions likely just made you exclaim the phrase “Woah, woah, woah!-Excuse me!?” to your desktop. Next, you may have thought about buying in bulk from Costco or Sam’s Club and freezing and storing 50% of what you buy, so you will have food in 38 years. Okay. Chill out! There are solutions!

According to FOA, the pre-requisites for feeding the world in 2050 are:

1.) Investment in developing country agriculture has to increase by at least 60% over the current levels

2.) Greater priority has to be given to agriculture research, development, and extension services in order to  achieve the yield and productivity gains needed to feed the world in 2050.

3.) Global markets have to function effectively as food security for an increasing number of countries will depend on international trade and access to a stable supply of imports.

I totally agree with the first two pre-requisites they recommend. The third recommendation they give seems to be a bit less important, especially if the first two are achieved. Developing countries’ agriculture is the key to every solution imaginable. Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa are the two areas with the largest amount of potential cropland availability. Sadly, Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the worlds most poverty-stricken places. While the former is sad regardless of the situation, the amount of crop land availability is all the more reason for much needed investment enhancements toward agriculture production there. We WILL need Sub-Saharan Africa agriculture productivity to be abundant in 2050.

The second pre-requisite recommendation FAO gives is also essential for feeding the world in 2050 in my opinion. There must be a HUGE priority toward research and development of production practices. Agriculture Technology companies will be a huge contributor to the worlds undernourishment position in 2050. The issue I see within this sector, once again, is that not enough people recognize the validity of the  issues revolving around production practices. Companies are finding cheaper ways to do the same thing, but the majority of them are not taking the necessary risks to create NEW ways of doing things. Any human being with an ounce of sense can foresee the inevitable downfall of chemical and synthetic fertilizers, which will lead to the failure of crop productivity in times to come. There is a reason nutrient input requirements increase quite often! I will even give you a hint…*inflation does not affect a crops nutrient requirements. Maybe the soil gets weaker quite often? I wonder why? Oh wait! I got it! *Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Halleaaa-Lu-Ya! I would wager that the vast majority of production techniques used today are only temporary fixes, like the shot of whiskey some of you just took because you are suddenly stressed out about what your dinner table or refrigerator will look like in 2050. The fact of the matter is that this entire issue relates back to my last post. Agro-EntreLeaders need to step up to the plate and swing for the fences. We need to give greater priority to research and development of NEW production techniques and technology because clearly what we are doing now is not up to par with what we will need in 38 years.

I have been told that ADD becomes intense as readers approach 1000 words, so I will digress. I am now very intrigued to respond to everyday human-interest perspectives on why sustainable agriculture technology and Agro-Entreleadership is of such importance today. The conclusions that came from the FAO’s ” How to Feed the World in 2050″ conference will be the first human interest perspective I will explore intimately. A need for a 70% increase in agriculture productivity over the next 38 years, so that the world may have adequate food supplies, deems itself to be a rather important concern in the mind of ANY human being.

All statistical information or FAO recommendations from the above posting can be viewed at: http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/wsfs/docs/expert_paper/How_to_Feed_the_World_in_2050.pdf

Yal take care now,

Shaun

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