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. . .Looking at trends from large sets of data on population, resources and food production shows there are good reasons to be optimistic about our ability to meet the food requirements of the projected 9-10 billion people on our planet by the middle of this century. It also appears we are getting smarter in several ways about how to do this with sparing further land from conversion to agriculture.
Total arable area in the world (red line) on which our food is produced stands out as having changed the least among the productivity factors. It has remained basically unchanged over the past 25 years at about 1.39 billion hectares (3.43 billion acres). This is quite remarkable considering that during that period the world’s population increased from 3 to 7 billion. This outcome is a result of the integration of the other productivity inputs and a myriad of other efficiencies in farming, transportation, storage, etc. . .
Increasing the productivity of cropland will require even more efficient use of land, water, nutrients and other inputs, including genetic resources. FAO estimates indicate that to meet the projected demand, global food production will have to increase by 70 percent. Evans noted that further rises in crop yields in the absence of further expansion of arable land will come partly from plant breeding and partly from agronomic improvements in the use of resources as substitutes for land. Plant breeding now includes genetic engineering which in addition to contributing to yield increases per se and pest and disease resistance can help address some of the challenges with resources by developing water and nutrient use efficient crops. Governments, policy makers and the public need to better understand the reasons behind the progress that has been made in global food production, and support the use of genetic engineering as a modern plant breeding tool which can help continue this progress.
Read full, original post: Population, Resources and Food Production