Food system 'vulnerable' to climate change

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There’s a perfect storm brewing that will make the world’s food system “vulnerable” -- thanks to a booming population and erratic weather attributed to climate change.

With farmers and ranchers across the globe needing to produce 70 percent more food by 2050 to keep 9 billion people fed, the task of meeting this global demand will become increasingly daunting.

Bloomberg reports that having “good crops” isn’t enough.

Marc Sadler, practice leader at the agriculture and environmental services unit of World Bank, told Bloomberg that “although we are having some good crops, we continue to expand our consumption, so our ability to replenish stocks is challenged."

As Sadler notes, the real challenge facing the agriculture industry is “the environment, the production system, the variables that surround us, are increasingly volatile.  It will continue to be a challenge to raise agricultural productivity in a resilient way in the face of climate change and this is the reality we face.”

Read, “World Bank Sees ‘Vulnerable’ Food System on Climate Change.”

This isn’t the first time experts have addressed the concerns facing feeding a population of 2050. Earlier this year, a report from the Solutions from the Land initiative, laid out the challenges involved in sustainably increasing food production while using less land, water and other resources. With the world population expected to soar to 11 billion by 2100, it’s unlikely that these challenges will stop anytime soon.   

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WI  |  July, 02, 2013 at 11:01 AM

What rock did Mr Sadler crawl out from? These are the same challenges agriculture has always faced. Apparently he has no clue. Production agriculture has always faced these challenges and figured out a way to overcome them.

Steve Savage    
Encinitas, California  |  July, 02, 2013 at 11:14 AM

The reason I remain optimistic is that farmers are continuing to innovate and to make good use of technologies of many types that are being developed. For rain-fed row crops, no-till and cover crops (ideally with controlled wheel traffic and variable rate precision fertilization) will build to water capture and holding capacity of soil which is the best insurance against climate extremes. Some rational folks in Europe and Africa are making the case that they too need the full toolbox of technologies for advanced farming. Lets hope those farmers also get these opportunities.

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