World-wide, nearly one in seven people is undernourished. Clearly, as population growth continues, we must find ways to grow more food.
Global population is projected to increase to more than 9 billion by 2050, requiring a 70 percent increase in global food production.
In sub-Saharan Africa, where agricultural yields are lowest and the rate of population growth remains high, the demand for food in 2050 is expected to be twice the current level. Agricultural productivity therefore needs to accelerate substantially over current global rates of productivity growth, to meet that expected demand.
Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, is investing in entire value chains to meet growing demand and need. From investing in advanced seeds that tolerate drought and resist disease, to infrastructure and market development, this comprehensive approach to agricultural development will also stimulate sustainable economic growth.
"First, we help to break down trade barriers. This happens in our work in promoting Free Trade Agreements as well as more behind the scenes discussion with officials to assuage fears about removing barriers to trade," said Jose Fernandez, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, in a recent meeting. He noted that the recently signed free trade agreement between the U.S. and South Korea will eliminate tariffs on U.S. exports entering Korea, which average 53% on agricultural products.
We must also better inform people about biotechnology and agriculture issues. Little by little, we are dispelling some of the myths.
Zambia, which rejected U.S. aid shipments of genetically-engineered corn in 2002 at the height of a food security crisis, has now indicated it will look into the possibility of adopting genetically modified cotton seeds.
Finally, to help modernize and create more efficient agricultural systems, governments need to work with the private sector, to encourage investment and innovation.
The world needs to find new ways to increase global food supply to keep pace with growing population and changing tastes. Sustainable agricultural development, through initiatives like Feed the Future, coupled with more open trade and adoption of the best technological solutions, can help.