World Resources Institute: Sustainably feeding nearly 10 billion people by 2050 is possible – but it will require significant innovation and investment by the public and private sector.
.As the global population grows from 7 billion in 2010 to a projected 9.8 billion in 2050, coupled with growing purchansing power in developing countries, overall food demand is on course to increase by more than 50 percent, and demand for animal-based foods by nearly 70 percent.
Creating a Sustainable Food Future, a multiyear partnership between World Resources Institute, the World Bank Group, UNEP, the UNDP, the Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement, and the Institut national de la recherche agronomique have published the synthesis report and propose a menu of options that could allow the world to achieve a sustainable food future through making essential changes in consumption patterns, land use and management, technological innovations in farming and cross-cutting sustainable development policies to manage intertwined challenges.
One of the most important and systemic policy option offered in the Report is to link the productivity gains with the protection of the ecosystems. It also represents a new investment opportunity. Governments, financial sector, and the private sector, more broadly, should pursue such linkages and make them as explicit as possible through a variety of mechanisms such as international finance, supply chains commitments (corporate responsibility), agricultural loans and etc. There is a need to form the set of market signals that sustainable food production is affordable and has a wide societal and commercial value.
Agriculture already uses almost half of the world’s vegetated land, and agriculture and related land-use change generate one-quarter of annual GHG emissions. According to authors of the Report, the goal related to reducing ecosystem stress from agricultural expansion is to change the land management, shift to the use of lands with relatively low environmental (and other) opportunity costs but with good productive potential, facilitate expansion only where it would cause less environmental harm. This shift has to be facilitated by the national governments with possible cooperation with international aid agencies and the private sector, improve the tools for screening the lands across the countries worldwide.
The important role in overall improving food systems is given to the communities and community-based comanagement of the livestock, particularly, in the management of wild fish stocks. Again, governments play an important role in eliminating harmful fisheries subsidies, that contribute to the overfishing and depletion of natural resources.
Feeding sustainably 10 billion people by 2050 is possible, but requires significant policy, technological innovation and investment by public and private sector and partnerships.