News: Future of food growing, May 2015

wheat rootsSustainable intensification and the role of partnerships between the public and private sectors is the focus of this year’s Crawford Fund Annual Conference, The Business of Food Security: Profitability, Sustainability and Risk.

An article, which appeared in The Conversation, discusses the need to dramatically increase productivity of existing farmland in the next 40 years. The article is co-authored by Colin Chartres, Crawford Fund Director Master Classes and Training, and give the following three reasons for the need to increase productivity:

1. The world’s population is unlikely to stabilise this century and is on course to reach up to 12 billion by 2100. That’s double the existing population and a lot of people to feed.

2. The economic growth, urbanisation and rising affluence of developing and emerging economies are driving “nutrition transitions” towards more Western diets rich in sugar, animal fat and protein.

3. There is limited scope for significantly expanding agricultural land after constraints and trade-offs are considered. The incorporation of new lands into production is likely to come with important social and ecological constraints and costs.

The full article can be read on-line.