Global Agricultural Imperative for A Healthy Sustainable World

The global population is evolving in ways that are driving changes and creating new challenges for the world’s agriculture and food systems. Changes in population growth, age, health and incomes drive global food demand. Yet, the evolution in what consumers buy, why they buy it and where, is transforming the food and agriculture system in unexpected ways. These trends have profound consequences for the short and longer-term future of food and agricultural production, consumption and sustainability.

Consumers

Global Population is Becoming Younger and Older

Even though the rate of global population growth has slowed, by 2050 there will be nearly 10 billion people needing nutritious, safe affordable food.1 Life expectancies are rising and birthrates are declining; by 2050, the number of people over age 60 will equal the number of people 15 and under

Cost of Malnutrition Rises

In 2017, prolonged drought and armed conflict drove up the number of hungry people to 821 million; 124 million need immediate food assistance to prevent acute malnutrition and starvation.2

Diet-related disease is responsible for 4 million deaths and $2 trillion in economic losses per year.4

WOMEN

are the primary producers, purchasers and preparers of food and have substantial influence over the food system. Price, nutrition and convenience drive their food choices.5

Consumers are shopping for food in new ways, including online purchases of prepared and ready-to-cook meals.5

They have access to a wider variety of foods thanks to trade.7

Producers

Natural Resource Base Imperative

To meet the growing needs of 10 billion people in 2050, we must protect our natural resources, grow more food using less land, water, energy and labor, and waste less of what we grow.

Agriculture is the world’s single largest use of land, covering 1/3 of the planet’s surface; there is limited additional land for sustainable food production.

Agriculture & Climate Change

Agriculture is the largest user of water globally; more than 1/2 of withdrawals from rivers, lakes and aquifers will be used for agriculture by 2050.8 Protecting water quality will become more critical.

Climate Change could push more than 100 million additional people into poverty by 2030.9

Soils Are the Foundation

Nearly 80% of the average calorie intake per person comes from crops grown directly in the soil.10

20% to 30% of the food supply in developed countries is WASTED at the retail and consumer level; up to 50% of fruit and vegetable production is LOSTbefore leaving the farm.11

Environment

Urban Population

Between 2000 and 2030, the global urban population will double from 2.6 billion to 5 billion. With urban area expansion, farmers will compete to grow food on lands with optimum soil.12

Hotter Climates

Agricultural workers will account for 66% of hours lost due to heat stress in 2030.14

Labor for agriculture is diminishing as young people seek higher wages and off-farm jobs.

Producers Face Economic and Resource Challenges

Producers Face Economic and Resource ChallengesDemand for agricultural products is evolving. Continued uncertainty about trade and markets makes it difficult for farmers to plan and invest.

Stagnating Investments in global public agriculture research and extension systems reduces farmer access to innovation and technology.16

There is a $15 trillion infrastructure investment gap. Investments are needed to connect farmers to information and markets and supply food and agriculture products to the world.17

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