Crop yields will not meet 2050 global demand: study

Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment in the U.S., warn that Yields of four major crops were not rising fast enough to meet projected global demand in 2050.
As per the study:

  • The world faces a growing agricultural crisis as the global crop production of four major crops which needed to double by the middle of this century to meet demands from an increasing human population, more meat and dairy consumption driven by growing affluence and more bio-fuels use as well to provide food security to millions who were undernourished, is not increasing at the desired rate.
  • The four major crops– maize, rice, wheat and soybean together produce nearly two-thirds of the global agricultural calories.
  • Yields of these crops needed to grow at about 2.4 % annually to double production by 2050.
  • However, the current increase is only 1.6% a year for maize, 1% for rice, 0.9% for wheat and 1.3% for soybean, which is far below what is needed to meet projected demands in 2050.
  • The global trends disguised significant variations in the rates of yield change among and within countries.
  • Slowly increase in yield of the top three rice and wheat producing nations, viz. China, India and Indonesia.
  • Rice yields had improved in China by only 0.7% a year, in India by 1% and in Indonesia by 0.4%.
  • Yearly wheat yield increases in China, India and the U.S. amounted to only 1.7%, 1.1% and 0.8% respectively.
  • Emphasis must be on increasing production through more efficient use of arable land and boost yields by spreading best management practices, rather than clearing more land for agriculture which will raise environmental cost.
  • Switching to more plant-based diets and reducing food waste, could reduce the large expected demand growth in food.



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