We need to produce 56 percent more calories by 2050—can we do it sustainably?

Spotlight sustainable Agriculture

 If the world hopes to make meaningful progress on climate change, it won’t be enough for cars and factories to get cleaner. Our cows and wheat fields will have to become radically more efficient, too.

That’s the basic conclusion of a sweeping new study issued [December 5] by the World Resources Institute [that] …. warns …. the world’s agricultural system will need drastic changes …. in order to feed billions more people ….

Based on current trends, the authors calculated, the world would need to produce 56 percent more calories in 2050 than it did in 2010. If farmers and ranchers met that demand by clearing away more forests and other ecosystems for cropland and pasture, as they have often done in the past, they would end up transforming an area twice the size of India.

Related article:  CRISPR gene editing could yield drought-tolerant tomatoes and kiwis that grow in salty soil

The report notes that producing 56 percent more calories without expanding agricultural land could prove even more difficult if, as expected, rising temperatures reduce crop yields. But …. many of the recommendations in the report, such as breeding new, higher-yielding crop varieties or preventing soil erosion, could also help farmers adapt to climate change.

…. The report’s authors call for large increases in research funding to look at ideas like …. genetic editing techniques that might produce higher-yielding crops. They also urge new regulations that would encourage private industry to develop sustainable agricultural technologies.

Read full, original article: Can We Grow More Food on Less Land? We’ll Have To, a New Study Finds

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