With the world’s population expected to reach 7 billion by the end of October according to the United Nations, farmers and researchers are scrambling to figure out how to prevent a global food crisis.
Despite a recent decline in fertility throughout the world, the Earth’s population is predicted to reach 10.1 billion by 2100, according to a report issued by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
But food shortages have already ravaged some poorer parts of the world; Somalia is among the areas currently faced with a famine crisis.
According to John Feffer, co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies, food prices will continue to rise as farmers cannot keep up with the world’s growing population. In 2010, he said the world dipped into food reserves because there was a 60-million-ton shortfall in grain production.
This year, farmers would have to produce 100 million more tons to meet demands, according to the Earth Policy Institute.
Long-term, Feffer said the production for major grains—including maize, rice and wheat—will have to increase by 70 percent in 2050.
“That means somehow conjuring a billion-plus tons of grain from the already-strained resource base of Mother Earth,” Feffer wrote.
Feffer detailed four ways in which researchers and farmers could keep up with food demand: genetic modification to create more productive grains; an increase in natural farming techniques; the improvement of current practices; and a “Waste Not, Want Not” approach in which eaters choose smaller portions over larger ones to prevent food waste.
“If we're going to feed the world, we're going to have to feed ourselves a lot less extravagantly,” Feffer said.
The United Nations Population Fund launched a website called 7billionactions.org as “a global movement for all humanity” to promote sustainability, urbanization, access to healthcare services and youth empowerment worldwide.