Feeding more than nine billion people by 2050 is a huge agricultural challenge, but one Alltech is planning for.
In 2012 Aidan Connolly, now the chief innovation officer at Alltech, along with 24 agribusiness experts considered the challenge of feeding the growing global population with limited resources, such as land and water, and threats from environmental and political arenas. Together they produced an in-depth paper presenting GLIMPSE, an acronym for the seven primary impediments to this challenge.
By 2050, the world needs to double net food availability, which would require a production increase of seventy percent. Genetics will only take us so far to achieving this goal and Alltech is already investigating numerous options to increase production efficiency by tapping into crops and animals’ genetic potential via new technologies such as natural feed and soil solutions and even opportunities like big data on the farm. Practical innovations are presented annually to the industry at the Alltech Symposium, which takes place during the month of May in Lexington, Kentucky, USA.
Connolly notes that today’s consumers, while savvier in terms of their purchasing powers and knowledge via today’s social world of communications, demand more than ever from their food. Consumers expect availability, options, fair prices, yet at the same time the ability to feel good about their choices in terms of nutrition, animal welfare practices and environmental sustainability.
It’s a whole new world of sustainability. Sustainability in agriculture means growing or raising food in an ecologically and ethically responsible manner that protects the environment, safeguards human health and adheres to the highest standards in animal welfare.
Embracing sustainability can be a positive force for change, leading to novel solutions with diverse benefits. Connolly encourages agriculture and the entire food chain to embrace new technologies as a necessity. He notes that there still exists a thirty percent gap between what we achieve in productivity and what we could achieve through new agricultural and scientific technologies that are natural and sustainable. Watch our interview with Connolly now to find out how agriculture and science can close the gap in food production and also better communicate the benefits of this to today’s consumer.
Global Food Security is achievable but we must work together
Food security exists when everyone has access to safe, nutritious and affordable food but at this very moment there are over 1 billion people who are going without sufficient food – as a company dedicated to nourishing people, Cargill is committed to increasing food security around the world.
We believe that sufficient food can be produced to meet the needs of a growing population and Cargill has a role to play alongside governments, NGO’s, academia, customers, farmers and consumers. Everyone has a critical role to play in tackling food security.
The world currently produces enough calories to feed everyone, everywhere; the challenge is that these calories are not always in the right place or do not get distributed in a way that alleviates hunger. At Cargill, we believe that the key obstacles to food security include: extreme poverty, inadequate food distribution, supply disruptions, food waste, government policies that inhibit trade and negatively affect farmers, environmental impacts, growing resistance to the use of some agricultural technology and price volatility.
We understand that global food security is a big challenge; it requires collaboration and a multi-disciplinary approach. This isn’t a problem that can be solved by one company or stakeholder group but needs to be approached holistically and in partnership.
Despite the challenge, Cargill is very optimistic about food security; we do believe that the world can feed itself. Cargill believes that to provide sufficient, safe and affordable food for all, we need to honor comparative advantage, enable open trade, support the world’s small holder farmers and embrace science and technology. For key examples of what Cargill is doing in this area visit foodsecureworld for more details.
Cargill has 150 years of experience and our role in the supply chain, working with farmers, governments, NGO’s, customers and other stakeholders, gives us a unique insight into the global food system and what can be done to make the world more efficient in ensuring food security and nutrition for all.
However we can’t do this alone. The African proverb says it best “If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.”
Cargill provides food, agriculture, financial products and services to the world. Together with farmers, customers, governments and communities, we help people thrive by applying our insights and 150 years of experience. We have 143,000 employees in 67 countries who are committed to feeding the world in a responsible way, reducing environmental impact and improving the communities where we live and work.
Most of us have heard the term ‘food security’, but how many of us know what it really means?
The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) defines it as ‘all people, at all times, having physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life’.
A growing challenge : sustainable solutions to global food security
It’s a major challenge for the coming decades: How can we feed a global population expected to grow by more than a third between 2009 and 2050, while making the best use of ever-scarcer natural resources? Already today, agriculture has to produce more with less. In the coming decades we will need to increase productivity and sustainability even more.
European consumers, who are accustomed to a ready and steady availability of food, are often unaware of the global challenges faced by agriculture. They are – justifiably – more concerned with matters closer to home, such as the safety and sustainability of their food. It’s important that all food chain players – from farm to fork – address these concerns.
Crop protection products – pesticides – play a vital role in ensuring agricultural productivity and competitiveness, giving farmers the tools they need to fight the weeds, insects and diseases that threaten their crops day after day, season after season, year after year. Pesticides help ensure that farmers can provide us a plentiful supply of safe, healthy and affordable food.
But our industry does a lot more than just help farmers put healthy, high-quality and affordable food on European tables. With projects in four key areas – Food, Water, Health and Biodiversity – we promote and encourage the safe and sustainable use of our technology in countries across Europe.
Through innovation, agricultural productivity can help deliver benefits to society while protecting the environment, safeguarding health and promoting diversity. We are always working to make things better. The European Union needs regulatory policies that foster rather than discourage this innovative spirit. Europe needs to ensure its place as a world leader in innovation and economic, social and environmental security.