Africa and Asia will propel the world’s population towards 10 billion – but are their food systems ready?

Improving access to other key inputs like water and fertilizer, as well as wider technical services such as agricultural machinery, would help to boost resources, but change needs to happen fast

Talk of the global population reaching 10 billion by 2050 has been around for some time. Yet, this statistic actually hides the real source of this growth, and its implications.

Only two regions – sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia – will contribute the lion’s share of this new headcount. Indeed, elsewhere in the world, populations will mostly either plateau or even decline.

With food systems predominantly local in nature, Africa and Asia face a potentially catastrophic food shortfall unless they can boost productivity dramatically.

This hefty goal is complicated further by the fact that even current farming practices are being compromised by the climate crisis. Disastrous droughtsrecord-breaking heatwaves and weather-related natural disasters are already causing havoc for farmers worldwide.

At the same time, the global agriculture sector is being tasked with reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least one gigatonne per year by 2030 (out of around 7-8 gigatonnes total) in order to stay within the 2C of warming agreed by the UN Paris Agreement.

This presents a colossal task, for which we all are responsible, and the available resources are already stretched.

Continue reading the article by Elwyn Grainger-Jones on Independent