A few thoughts on feeding the world in 2050...

in LeoFinance2 months ago

The current cost of living crisis got me to thinking about how easy or difficult it might be to 'feed the world' (excuse the Band Aid line!) in the future.

It turns out that we've almost certainly got the resources taken into account population projections and potential land for agricultural production...

I found this great meta-analysis of over 50 studies on projected calorific intake of the global population - from the journal Nature:

Screenshot 2022-12-03 at 13.49.11.png

It estimates that the daily global kilocalorie consumption will increase by between 41-51% to 2050, taking the global calorie consumption to an epic 12 000 000 000 000 000 per day, or 12 million billion Kilocalories a day globally.

The different scenarios take into account different levels of socioeconomic development, hard to predict hence the range of predictions.

Then there's the matter of the amount of land we'll need to service that increase in global calorie loading - and the FAO estimates we'll need to find an additional 70 million HA to give over to food production - and there's plenty of land - it's just mostly in Africa and Latin America....

Screenshot 2022-12-03 at 14.01.52.png

Of course it's not quite that simple, a lot of that land is what COULD be given over, but a lot of it has to also support biodiversity and then there's the fact that there's about 3 times as much water in Latin America compared to Sub-Saharan Africa.

But it's comforting not note at least that we've got the land it's just a matter of whether we can hold together the fabric of our global society long enough to be able to develop the infrastructure to use that land sustainable, and of course make sure the many currently underdeveloped countries in that region Africa get their fair share.

So we can do it, it just very much depends on the extent to which we can realise global peace IMO!

Hmmmm, for some reason my optimism has just disappeared!

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There's much more land that isn't good for cropping but good enough for herding.

Yes fair point actually - I mean resource wise we're sorted for food, it's just that slight sticking point of peace.

Fucking peace!

Growing populations in Africa and Asia may present some problems. In Europe and America we may have peaked. We do need to eat less meat as that is very resource intensive. I stopped eating it decades ago for various reasons. We may well see more use of insect and 'grown' meat as alternative sources of protein.

Access to water could be a major issue in coming decades, especially if changing climate reduces rainfall where it is needed. Some major lakes are drying up.

We just can't carry on with our current trajectory.

I think we have peaked in Europe, I think there are around 40 countries in population decline, it's a real case for immigration.

Apparently there is plenty of land and water to feed the world even with meat based diets, it's just accessing that land that's the problem!

Yes, but is there enough for nature to have some too? We're chucking loads of chemicals from fertiliser and things like antibiotics into the water system. Animals are just factory products a lot of the time. Did you see the Chinese multi-storey pig farms? Not exactly free range, but many people prefer not to think about where the food comes from.

I heard on a podcast that we may peak at 10 billion, but growth is not evenly distributed. The megacities in Africa will keep growing.

I dont need land, we need mega vertically farms.

I love the idea or concept of vertically farms! But we do need to figure out how to grow gains before it can feed more people though.

Or also, just having a small system yourself could make a big differentmce after the pay-cost though

Monsanto are on the case, although i dont know if I want to eat their grains.

I dont trust Monsanto xD

Nor me! I wonder what they have done to the wheat grain to turn it into a frankenfood!

Food should never have been private!

But ye dno, Monsanto is interesting but they were properly needed back in the day xD

Oh I'm all with you - DIY food solutions, but there is enough even without vertical farming - of course the laster would help with food security.

Neat! Yes there is, we just waste sooo much here in the west xD

Vertical farming is just cool if you ask me :p
And the less land we use the more building we can build for people! :D

cue the music:

That's a good and precise analysis. But how can this information be presented to the current government inorder to avert this?

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Well that's the problem, getting governments to be peaceful, tricky!

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Did you project out population decline? And cricket as the preferred food source? 😉

Haha no - but decline is well after 2050 - didn't factor in crickets but I'm sure they can have a role!

I'm not surprised your optimism has disappeared, mine did a while back. With all the current things happening on a global scale, it's not looking too good. The concerted effort and push towards war and the fine line that China and USA are walking with each other doesn't bode well, not to mention the rising cost of living across the world, inflation and the interest rate hikes. Put it all together and you have a shit show on the horizon.

I know that some people will say "oh but why land for biodiversity?" because so few of them realise that the ecological services that biodiversity land pays. It was refreshing that you included that.

It's going to be a balancing act for sure, I personally want my own chunk of land so I can sort myself out going forwards!

If we survive till 2075, then situation start changing as population will decline.
Some people are advocating insects eating and farming as new alternative food.(being vegetarian , not for me.)

Someone else mentioned insect eating, there are defo possibilities!

Are you a gamer?

Hi, not especially!