Global food and chemicals conglomerate company DuPont issued an urgent call for global investment in agriculture, warning that without strong action the world may face serious food shortages that cannot be addressed by technology advancements alone.
The DuPont Advisory Committee on Agricultural Innovation & Productivity for the 21st Century issued a report today outlining the effects of global population growth, increased food demand combined with historically low global grain stocks. The end result? Not promising, according to DuPont.
The global food dynamic is in a fragile condition. Solving the major problems of food shortages and global malnutrition will require billions of dollars in private investment, as well as increased government incentives to boost agricultural production.
According to some estimates, global food production must increase by 70% in order to meet demand from a world population expected to top 9 billion by 2050.
“People are starting to realize that food demand is outstripping supply,” said DuPont Executive VP Jim Borel. “If the world doesn’t figure out how to effectively deal with this challenge, then the results are ugly.”
The DuPont report made numerous policy suggestions including revitalizing out-of-date agricultural infrastructure, increasing long-term corporate investments in emerging markets, stronger lands rights provisions and new regulations for genetically altered crops and new plant biotechnology. Tremendous work is required particularly in the agriculture producing regions of Africa and Asia.
“There is nothing easy about what we have to do,” remarked former U.S. Senator Tom Dashcle, chairman of the DuPont Committee. “This is one of the greatest challenges facing the human race.”