Bags of rice, maize, wheat
Global demand for major grains, such as maize, rice, and wheat, is projected to increase by nearly 48 per cent from 2000-2025 and by 70 per cent between 2000 and 2050, according to research presented by Mark Rosegrant, who delivered the Agric Economic Forum Keynote during the 2011 Agric Innovation Showcase held in St. Louis.
Rosegrant, Director of Environment and Production Technology at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) added that per capita meat consumption will also increase in many developing regions of the world and it will more than double in Sub-Saharan
Africa from 2000-2050, leading to a doubling of total meat consumption by 2050.
The report stressed that at the same time, the growth in production of staple foods is expected to decline significantly in most of the world if business continues as usual.
“Climate change, high and volatile food and energy prices, population and income growth, changing diets, and increased urbanization will put intense pressure on land and water and challenge global food security as never before,” said Rosegrant. “If agricultural production and policymaking continues down its present course, there could be severe consequences for many poor people in developing countries.”
Even without climate change, the prices of rice, maize, and wheat are projected to increase by 25 per cent, 48 per cent, and 75 per cent, respectively, by 2050, in a business-as-usual scenario, according to the report. Climate change will further slow productivity growth, increasing staple food prices and reducing progress on food security and childhood malnutrition.
“Although the threats to food and nutrition security are very real, these outcomes are by no means inevitable,” said Rosegrant. He added, “the myriad challenges underscore the importance of agricultural research, better policies, new technologies, and social investments to feeding the world’s burgeoning population while protecting critical natural resources.”
According to IFPRI’s sophisticated computer model, developed by Rosegrant, with US$7 billion of additional annual investments in research to improve crop and livestock productivity, nearly 25 million less children in developing countries would be malnourished in 2050 compared to a business-as-usual scenario.