The world is about to see a huge population boom: there will be an estimated 10 billion people sharing the planet by 2050. And we currently don’t produce enough food to meet those demands. So we will have to ramp up production if we’re going to keep feeding everyone.
The World Resources Institute brought together experts from across sectors and the world to study the issue and make suggestions. WRI published a report detailing their solutions. The problem is quite acute: We will need 56 percent more calories produced in 2050 than we had in 2010. The report refers to this as the “food gap.” And the experts weighed in on how to close that gap.
WRI recommends, in part, expanding biotechnology’s use to achieve better crop breeding. They suggest breeding techniques that can help increase yields and speed up breeding cycles. WRI also thinks we need to move beyond the main GMO crops (ie. corn, soybeans, canola, and cotton) and start advancing the technology in other important food staples, such as rice.
The report includes other suggestions, such as cutting food waste, implementing production-related climate mitigation, adopting new environmental protections, and moderating meat consumption. Interestingly, the report seems to suggest an integration of plant-based meat consumption that balances with regular meat consumption (in other words, no one is getting wiped out).
It’s a fascinating read. And while I’ll admit I didn’t get through all of it, I highly recommend skimming through it to see some of the suggestions. It also seems somewhat more realistic than the all-or-nothing schemes others have contemplated.
Meeting future food demands is going to be daunting. But I think we have the tools at our disposal to make it happen. WRI provides an interesting road map.