AGCO will host the 2nd annual Africa Summit on January 21, 2013 in Berlin, Germany.
Food security has never been so profoundly challenged. In 2050, it is projected that the global population will rise to more than 9 billion people. The challenge is to produce more food to meet this ever-increasing demand; with less resources and at a higher cost than ever before.
In addition to the world’s exploding population, diet patterns are changing: as developing nations gain affluence eating habits shift from staple crops towards more consumption of dairy and meat products. Annual meat production alone will need to increase 75% by 2050 to keep up with demand. This puts further pressure on already-dwindling reserves, and means society will have to make a trade-off between growing crops to feed the local community, and delivering marketable goods to meet demand elsewhere. Innovation and investment has driven agricultural productivity to new highs in developed countries, and should now be redirected towards a continent that has the resources and potential to feed the world.
Africa provides the answer. Nowhere in the world is there such an abundance of untapped resources. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) 15% of the world’s arable land lies in Africa, of which 86% remains uncultivated. Pre-1960 – Africa provided 10% of the world’s food – that figure is less than 1% today.
Africa lies at the heart of what promises to be a new Agricultural Revolution.
The solution is to develop a systematic approach that enables a strategic partnership to deliver crops that feed increasing populations in an economically, environmentally and socially responsible way. While the challenge is enormous, the opportunities are both substantial and achievable. Farmers are among the main beneficiaries of agricultural development and are at the very core of the solution. But there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. A lack of infrastructure, mechanization and technology across the continent calls for market-based cooperation between farmers, private industry, government and society to establish a new blueprint.
Africa holds the key to ensuring a sustainable food supply, but only if a new road map for progress is developed, harnessing both the expertise of the private industry sector and the knowledge of local communities.