Global Food Security - Challenges and long-term perspective

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More than one billion people are undernourished worldwide. FAO estimates show a significant deterioration of an already disappointing trend witnessed over the past ten years. In order to feed the world now and in the future, several key challenges need to be addressed, including global food governance and climate change.

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  • From 870 million in 2004-2006 to 915 million in 2008 to 1020 million in 2009
  • Note expert papers are currently being finalized, and various synthesis and proceedings documents are being prepared for the High-Level Expert Forum that will take place in Rome 12-13 October 2009, which will in turn help inform the World Summit on Food Security that will take place in Rome in mid-November 2009.
  • WB: population grew 2.5x over past 50 years, 50% over next 50, or 0.8% per year ( around 40%) (UN medium variant)—but still 3 billion more people, almost all in developing countries, most in urban areas.
  • Income will grow much more rapidly in developing countries than in high-income countries, with implications for the level and composition of demand.
    World Bank: global economic growth averaging 2.9%/year between 2005-2050 (1.6 for HICs and 5.2 for developing)
    Per-capita incomes rising 2.2%/year to 2050; assuming income elasticity of demand for food is 0.5, per-capita food demand would increase 1.1%/year as a result of income increases; + 0.8% population growth => 1.9%/year increase in total demand for food.
    (Note elasticity declines with income, and is already near 0 in most HICs, but rising demand for livestock products in developing countries, plus new competition from bio-fuels.)
    WB estimates developing-country absolute poverty ($1.25 PPP/day) down from 21.9% in 2005 to 0.4 in 2050 (even in SSA, from 51.7 to 2.8)
    Hillebrand estimates global absolute poverty down to 12% in 2050 if non-OECD countries match growth of last 25 years; down to 2.5% if they match growth of 2003-07.
  • FAO’s 2006 baseline projections (FAO, 2006a) show that by 2050 the world’s average daily calorie
    availability could rise to 3130 kcal per person, an 11 percent increase over its level in 2003. This would by
    2050 still leave some 4 percent of the developing countries’ population chronically undernourished8.
    For these projections to materialize, world agricultural production would need to increase by some 70
    percent over the period from 2005/07 to 2050 (see Table 1). World population is projected to rise by some 40
    percent over this period, meaning that per caput production would rise by some 22 percent. The fact that this
    would translate into an only 11 percent increase of per caput calorie availability is mainly9 due to the
    expected changes in diet, i.e. a shift to higher value foods of often lower calorie content (e.g. vegetables and
    fruits) and to livestock products which imply an inefficient conversion of calories of the crops used in
    livestock feeds. Meat consumption per caput for example would rise from 37 kg at present to 52 kg in 2050
  • Other challenges include: increased investment in infrastructure, dealing with crises and emergencies, dealing with biosecurity
  • The literature on
    yield gaps distinguishes two components of yield gaps, one due to agro-environmental and other
    non-transferable factors (these gaps cannot be narrowed), and another component due to differences in crop
    management practices such as sub-optimal use of inputs and other cultural practices. This second component
    can be narrowed provided that it makes economic sense to do so and therefore is termed the ‘exploitable
    yield gap’ or ‘bridgeable gap’.
    The potential to raise crop yields (even with existing technology) seems considerable. Provided the
    appropriate socio-economic incentives are in place, there are still ample ‘bridgeable’ gaps in yield (i.e. the
    difference between agro-ecologically attainable and actual yields) that could be exploited. Fears that yields
    (e.g. for rice) are reaching a plateau do not seem warranted (except in a few very special instances).
  • Global Food Security - Challenges and long-term perspective

    1. 1. Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Global Food Security Challenges and long-term perspective Agricultural Development Economics Division Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Rome, September 2009
    2. 2. Rome, September 2009 2Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Main messages  Hunger in the world is increasing  Crises exacerbate the situation dramatically  Important long-term challenges to agriculture as a source of food and livelihoods  Use emerging consensus to reduce hunger and improve food security governance
    3. 3. Rome, September 2009 3Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Trends in world hunger
    4. 4. Rome, September 2009 4Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations The current economic crisis at the core  At the heel of soaring food prices  Households with depleted coping mechanisms  Global crisis, not locally bound  However, more fundamental causes of hunger • number of hungry has not fallen below 800 million over the past 40 years • even in times of economic growth and low food prices
    5. 5. Rome, September 2009 5Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Future challenges and perspectives
    6. 6. Rome, September 2009 6Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Source: UN Population Division, from van der Mensbrugghe et al. 2009 Population growth
    7. 7. Rome, September 2009 7Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Income growth 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040 2045 2050 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Developing country growth (right-axis) High-income country growth (right-axis) Developing country GDP (left-axis) High-income country GDP (left-axis) Source: Simulation results with World Bank’s ENVISAGE model, from van der Mensbrugghe et al. 2009
    8. 8. Rome, September 2009 8Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations How much more needs to be produced by 2050? 255 97 63 23 148 70 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 past future past future past future DevelopingDevelopedWorld Agricultural production
    9. 9. Rome, September 2009 9Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 9 14 77 21 8 71 30 18 52 25 6 69 5 8 87 2 12 86 -7 17 90 -10% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% World Developing countries Latin America sub-Saharan Africa South Asia East Asia Near East / North Africa Arable land expansion Increases in cropping intensity Yield increases Sources of growth in crop production
    10. 10. Rome, September 2009 10Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Water resources  Global abundance of water  Local shortages reaching alarming rates  Regions without potential for land and water expansion (Near East and North Africa, South Asia)  Harvested irrigated land to expand by 17%, water withdrawals by 11%.
    11. 11. Rome, September 2009 11Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Feeding the world in 2050  Demand can be met by expanding and better exploiting available resources  Scenario assumes that: • long-standing forces will continue in the long run (e.g. population, diet shifts, urbanization) • yield gaps can be bridged and new varieties will further improve the ability of the world to feed itself
    12. 12. Rome, September 2009 12Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations However, many questions remain  Global scenario masks that at least 27 countries will face undernourishment above 5% in 2050  370 million people in developing countries would still be hungry  Several countries seem to have reached the limits of agro-ecological potential to expand agriculture
    13. 13. Rome, September 2009 13Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Five main challenges  Yields/technology  Climate change  Biofuels  Hunger reduction and agricultural transformation  Global food security governance
    14. 14. Rome, September 2009 14Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations The yields challenge  Yield increases have accounted for the majority of production growth in recent decades  Yields and intensification will account for 90% of the growth in crop production  Yield Growth for major grains: • Decline from 1.9 to 0.7 annual growth rate (1961-2007 vs. 2005-2050) • However potential for closing the “yield gap” is high... and achievable
    15. 15. Rome, September 2009 15Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations The technology challenge  Enormous returns to Research & Development (40-50%)  Baseline projections assume a steady growth in yields  But global R&D spending is too low and decreasing • 1981-1991: 2.1% • 1991-2000: 1.1 % (Dev. Countries: 1.9%, Ind. Countries: 0.5% ) • Huge disparities: India (6.2%), China (3.9%)
    16. 16. Rome, September 2009 16Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Annual growth rates in agricultural R&D -2 0 2 4 6 8 10 Sub-Saharan Africa Asia & Pacific Latin America & Caribbean West Asia & North Africa Developing countries High-income countries Annualgrowthrate(percentage) 1976-81 1981-91 1991-2000
    17. 17. Rome, September 2009 17Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations The technology challenge  R&D adaptation for the needs of smallholders, marginal areas and orphan crops  Incentive structure and resource mobilization to ensure the right technologies for problems of the future  Private-public partnerships for agricultural R&D  Developing gender-balanced systems for spreading knowledge, skills and technology
    18. 18. Rome, September 2009 18Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Impacts of climate change on crop production:  vary significantly over time  are geographically unevenly distributed Aggregate impacts of projected climate change on the global food system are relatively small. The global balance of food demand and supply is not likely to be challenged until middle of the 21st century. Autonomous adaptation will offset some warming Climate change challenge
    19. 19. Rome, September 2009 19Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Climate change challenge  Atmospheric changes (CO2 fertilization) may initially increase productivity of current agricultural land  Climate change, will have a clearly negative impact in the second half of the 21st century  Impacts on land vary: Land suitability down in Africa and Latin America but up (initially) elsewhere  Changes in frequencies of extreme events (droughts, heat waves, severe storms) are more troublesome in the near future
    20. 20. Rome, September 2009 20Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Climate change challenge  Remove key constraints to adaptation  Explore key synergies between food security, adaptation and mitigation (technological, institutional, financing )  Using payments for carbon as an important source of funding for developing country agriculture
    21. 21. Rome, September 2009 21Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations The biofuels challenge  Impacts of biofuels larger in the short and medium run as second generation is developed  Hunger reduction hampered by increased biofuel production  Opportunities for producers, but uneven access to markets
    22. 22. Rome, September 2009 22Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Agricultural transformation challenge  Agriculture’s role beyond food production • As an engine of economic growth and poverty reduction • As an engine of growth for the rural economy • Even in transition countries key role to reduce poverty  Share of agriculture generally declines with development • Agro-industrialization • Erosion of the comparative advantage of smallholders • Pressure to commercialize or exit the sector  Protect and improve livelihoods during “agricultural transformation”
    23. 23. Rome, September 2009 23Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Governance challenge  Create a system that promotes, supports and sustains food security - especially for the poorest and most marginal  Address structural causes of food insecurity and their institutional and governance dimensions  Improve the management of the world agricultural system  Address climate change and its long and short-term challenges  Ensure sufficient public investment in agriculture, especially in research, extension, infrastructure and biodiversity
    24. 24. Rome, September 2009 24Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Towards a global food security governance  Improve coordination and policy cohesion between all key stakeholders  Better address complex and interrelated issues of global food security  Ensure that declarations to end hunger are converted to concrete actions
    25. 25. Rome, September 2009 25Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Conclusions  Agriculture and food security back on the policy agenda  Right to Food accepted as a framework for global action  Rights to resources frameworks arising as a result  Reform of global food security governance  Increase public and private investment  Sound agricultural policies and strategies  Social protection and safety nets  Strengthen smallholder access to resources  Explore options for coordinated risk management
    26. 26. Rome, September 2009 26Global Food Security – Challenges and long-term perspective Economic and Social Development Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations For more information For more information, please visit: http://www.fao.org/economic/es-policybriefs

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