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Feeding the world: The top 100 questions for global agriculture


Despite a significant growth in food production over the past half-century, one of the most important challenges facing society today is how to feed an expected population of some nine billion by the middle of the 20th century. To meet the expected demand for food without significant increases in prices, it has been estimated that we need to produce 70-100 per cent more food, in light of the growing impacts of climate change, concerns over energy security, regional dietary shifts and the Millennium Development target of halving world poverty and hunger by 2015. The goal for the agricultural sector is no longer simply to maximize productivity, but to optimize across a far more complex landscape of production, rural development, environmental, social justice and food consumption outcomes. However, there remain significant challenges to developing national and international policies that support the wide emergence of more sustainable forms of land use and efficient agricultural production. The lack of information flow between scientists, practitioners and policy makers is known to exacerbate the difficulties, despite increased emphasis upon evidence-based policy. In this paper, we seek to improve dialogue and understanding between agricultural research and policy by identifying the 100 most important questions for global agriculture. These have been compiled using a horizon-scanning approach with leading experts and representatives of major agricultural organizations worldwide. The aim is to use sound scientific evidence to inform decision making and guide policy makers in the future direction of agricultural research priorities and policy support. If addressed, we anticipate that these questions will have a significant impact on global agricultural practices worldwide, while improving the synergy between agricultural policy, practice and research. This research forms part of the UK Government’s Foresight Global Food and Farming Futures project.

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2 Comments on "Feeding the world: The top 100 questions for global agriculture"

  1. KenZ300 on Sun, 28th Nov 2010 3:07 am 

    The world has tried to reduce food shortages, poverty, disease and despair to no avail. The ever increasing world population makes it a moving target.

    With over 2 billion people living on less than $2 a day it seem futile.

    If we could not solve the problems when the world had 5 billion people and abundant resources how will we solve the problems with limited resources in a world of 9 billion people?

    The fight for scarce resources may get ugly.

  2. Windmills on Sun, 28th Nov 2010 7:50 am 

    Capitalism also makes sure that it’s a moving target. Global agriculture is not designed to feed people. It’s primary goal is to make money. If it makes a profit while people starve, then the business model is successful according to them. It’s agribusiness, not agricharity. The agribusinesses might just be even more powerful death panels than the health insurance companies. The health insurance companies mostly kill Americans. Agribusiness starves huge portions of the world.

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