It’s kind of staggering to imagine that the world’s population is set to rise by 50 percent, to some nine billion people, by 2050. That’s a big enough challenge for global agriculture, but add to that the fact that incomes are rising in most places where populations are increasing the most (India, China), along with constrained supplies, processing capacities, and distribution channels, and you have some rather frightening prospects for keeping everyone reasonably fed.
Rapidly rising incomes in the behemoth developing nations also mean that people there tend to want to eat more meat, which in turn creates voracious demand for world grain. And if biofuels continue their pace of development, that will put even more strain on global grain and vegetable oil production.
All of this and much more was hashed out at the Aspen Ideas Festival a few weeks ago, at a session called “Billions to Be Served: Meeting the Needs of the People and the Planet.” I found it captivating, and you might too; it’s led by my old pal Jim Fallows. It’s long but very much worth it. Check it out by clicking below: