Global Food Futures: Feeding the World in 2050

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Either way, it is clear that global co-operation will be key if the world is to feed its population in Bali — paddy field. Credit: GOC CC BY 2. Linked to this focus on global co-operation, Gardner identifies international trade as a possible aid to feeding the world in Chapter 3. Gardner interestingly also highlights the importance of the consumer in securing a globally food-secure future. In addition, a reduction in consumer demand for meat and dairy would reduce the strain on global food production pp.

Arguably therefore a priority of any plan to improve global food production and supply should be the reduction of this wastage, which is wastage of energy and resources, as well as food.

The cost of expanding our footprint

In addition, given the focus on global co-operation, and the ambitious scope of Global Food Futures, it is perhaps surprising that Gardner does not consider the possibility of an international food agency to secure better international co-operation around food production and supply. In conclusion, Global Food Futures introduces its reader to a vast range of inter-disciplinary material to assess the development of future food demand and supply and global food production.

Given the breadth of topics covered, this is a whistle-stop tour, summarising rather than deeply analysing each topic.

Gardner is careful not to lose the reader: using bullet points at the beginning of each chapter, and summarising key points at the end. Introductory and concluding chapters highlight again the headline points.

Global Food Futures: Feeding the World in Brian Gardner: Bloomsbury Academic

Accordingly, Global Food Futures would be a useful introduction, summary text, or revision guide, for an A-level or undergraduate student. However, it is also an accessible book for any reader seeking an introduction to key issues and future challenges affecting the global food system, and provides the reader with a useful arsenal of facts and figures.


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Read more reviews by Elaine. A 20 percent faster increase in crop yields between and —as a result of improvements in crop breeding and soil and water management—could close the land gap by 16 percent and the GHG mitigation gap by 7 percent. Agencies can also experiment with programs that help farmers rebuild soil health. Increasing annual cropping intensity by 5 percent beyond the baseline of 87 percent would shrink the land gap by 14 percent and the GHG mitigation gap by 6 percent.

Steps to feed the world, save the planet by 2050

Researchers should conduct more spatially explicit analyses to determine where cropping intensity increases are most feasible, factoring in water, emissions and other environmental constraints. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report projected that without adaptation, global crop yields will likely decline by at least 5 percent by , with steeper declines by For example, growing seasons in much of sub-Saharan Africa are projected to be more than 20 percent shorter by A 10 percent decline in crop yields would increase the land gap by 45 percent.

Adaptation will require implementing other menu items, as well as breeding crops to cope with higher temperatures, establishing water conservation systems, and changing production systems where major climate changes will make it impossible to grow certain crops.

FOOD FOR THE FUTURE - A Short Documentary

While improving agricultural productivity can save forests and savannas globally, in some cases it can actually cause more land clearing locally. To avoid these results, productivity gains must be explicitly linked with efforts to protect natural ecosystems from conversion to agriculture.

Global Food Futures: Feeding the World in 2050

Governments, financiers and others can tie low interest credit to protection of forests, as Brazil has done, and ensure that infrastructure investments do not come at the expense of ecosystems. When cropland expansion is inevitable—such as for local food production in Africa and for oil palm in Southeast Asia—governments and investors should support expansion onto land with low environmental opportunity costs. This includes lands with limited biodiversity or carbon storage potential, but high food production potential.

For example, analysis that applies environmental, economic and legal filters in Indonesia can develop more accurate estimates of land suitable for oil palm expansion. Governments need tools and models to estimate yields and effects on biodiversity and climate change, and they should use these tools to guide land-use regulations, plan roads and manage public lands.

In some cases, the most efficient use of land may be to restore abandoned or unproductive agricultural lands back into forests or other natural habitats. This can help offset the inevitable expansion of agriculture into other areas. Restoring them to wetlands should be a high priority and would close the GHG mitigation gap by up to 7 percent. Actions to take include providing funds for peatland restoration, improving peatland mapping and establishing laws that prevent peatlands from being drained.

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One third of marine stocks were overfished in , with another 60 percent fished at maximum sustainable levels. Catches need to be reduced today to allow wild fisheries to recover enough just to maintain the fish-catch level in This would avoid the need to convert 5 million hectares of land to supply the equivalent amount of fish from aquaculture.

As wild fish catches decline, aquaculture production needs to more than double to meet a projected 58 percent increase in fish consumption between and Actions to take include selective breeding to improve growth rates of fish, improving feeds and disease control, adoption of water recirculation and other pollution controls, better spatial planning to guide new farms and expansion of marine-based fish farms.


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GHG emissions from agricultural production arise from livestock farming, application of nitrogen fertilizers, rice cultivation and energy use. This course addresses each of these major emissions sources. Ruminant livestock were responsible for around half of all agricultural production emissions in Increasing productivity of ruminants also reduces methane emissions, mainly because more milk and meat is produced per kilogram of feed.

In addition, new technologies can reduce enteric fermentation. For example, 3-nitrooxypropan 3-NOP , a chemical additive that inhibits microbial methane, was tested in New Zealand and cut methane emissions by 30 percent and may increase animal growth rates. Governments should expand public research into compounds like 3-NOP and require or incentivize adoption of the most promising. Improving manure management by better separating liquids from solids, capturing methane, and other strategies can greatly reduce emissions. For example, using highly sophisticated systems to reduce virtually all forms of pollution from U.

Measures governments can take include regulating farms, providing competitive funding for technology development, and establishing monitoring programs to detect and remediate leakages from digesters. Livestock feces and urine deposited in fields turns into nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas.

How to Sustainably Feed 10 Billion People by 2050, in 21 Charts

Tools Request permission Export citation Add to favorites Track citation. Share Give access Share full text access. Share full text access. Please review our Terms and Conditions of Use and check box below to share full-text version of article. Volume 40 , Issue 3 September Pages Related Information. Close Figure Viewer. Browse All Figures Return to Figure.