If crop and pasture yields continue to grow as projected, by 2050 agricultural land will need to increase by an area nearly twice the size of India.
The United States is once again poised to use its rich history of innovation in foreign agricultural policy to both enhance its influence with friends and allies where food insecurity is a major issue—the Middle East, Africa, and emerging economies in Asia.
Advances in emerging technologies hold the promise to both alleviate the food crisis and amplify American influence abroad. The next era of food sustainability will be influenced by breakthroughs in global technology such as fifth generation telecommunications, robotics, artificial intelligence, and nanotechnology.
Specific areas of technology investment that will contribute to higher levels of productivity and efficiency in food generation with a decreased impact on the environment encompass initiatives in agricultural biotechnology, such as genetics, microbiome, breeding and animal health; alternative food products, including plant-based forms of alternative protein, which are surging in popularity and adoption; farm management systems, including sensing and data analytics software; [and] farm robotics.
The world is hungry for American leadership in the quest to solve the food security crisis. It is time for Washington to act ambitiously, applying imagination and strategic determination to this seminal twenty-first century problem.