Oct 17 More investment is needed to increase
food production in Africa and Asia as rising demand and scarce
resources leave millions of people vulnerable to hunger, a
corporate-backed report said on Wednesday.
Only 13 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa's total food demand in
2050 would be met without more investment in such things as
technology and infrastructure, according to the Global Harvest
Initiative public policy advocacy group in Washington. East Asia
would be able to satisfy 74 percent of total food demand by
2050, the group's third annual report said.
"We cannot meet future global food demand unless
agricultural productivity increases are achieved in every
region," said the group's executive director, Margaret Zeigler.
She said that more trade, public and private sector
investments, and assistance programs, are needed to help meet
rising food demands.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation says
that globally, farmers must produce 70 percent more food by 2050
to meet demand of the world's projected population of 9 billion.
The Global Harvest Initiative is organized and led by
companies involved in food and agriculture and technology,
including biotech seed and pesticide leaders Monsanto Co
and DuPont and equipment maker Deere & Co.
Among its goals are reduced trade barriers for agriculture,
b roader acceptance of agricultural technology, including
genetically modified seeds; increased investment in rural
infrastructure and more funding for agricultural research.
"No one particular solution is going to be the thing that
solves it everywhere," said DuPont Vice President Jerry Flint,
who chairs the Global Harvest Initiative.
Flint said access, usage and sustainability of water
resources all need to be addressed over the long term.
Food demand in Asia is primarily tied to rising incomes and
demand will outstrip supply, the report said. Food demand is
expected to grow 3.64 percent each year between 2000 and 2030.
In South and Southeast Asia, food demand is estimated to grow
annually by 2.75 percent.
The report said in the Middle East and Northern Africa,
agricultural production will be able to satisfy roughly 83
percent of total food demand in 2050 if it maintains a current
rate of "total factor productivity," or TFP. The term reflects
the amounts of total inputs used per unit of output, including
comparisons of the growth of output to the growth of input use.
Latin America and the Caribbean will produce a substantial
food surplus by 2050 if the current TFP rate is maintained, the
report said. However, investment is needed in infrastructure and
continued productivity improvements to maximize the region's
prospects to become a net food exporter, the report said.
The report said areas in Eastern Europe and the former
Soviet Union have "enormous agricultural production potential,"
but currently low productivity.
Given the wide global disparity in purchasing power,
achieving necessary food production by 2050 requires improving
the productivity of farmers in every major region, and across
all scales of agriculture, from smallholder to commercial
exporter, and preserving those gains, the report said.