Horticulture, food security, and the challenge of feeding the world
By the middle of the 21st century, the world population will have increased by 30%, to more than 9 billion. Food production will need to increase by 70% to meet increased demands. The numbers do not add up: how can the world realistically meet the increased demand for food? Forecast increases in crop productivity from biotechnology, genetics, agronomics, and horticulture will not be sufficient to meet food demand, and resource limitations will constrain the global food system. For the first time in human history, food production will be limited on a global scale by the availability of land, water, and energy. Food issues could become as politically destabilizing after 2050 as energy issues are today. More efficient technologies and crops will need to be developed to address this challenge and, equally important, better ways of applying these technologies locally for farmers. Simply put: technologies are not reaching enough smallholder farmers. A greater emphasis is needed in high-value horticultural crops that create jobs and economic opportunities for rural communities, and enable more profitable, intensive farming of small tracts of land in urban areas; many of these smallholder entrepreneurs are women, e.g., women dominate the tomato industry in Ghana. Better information delivery (extension), reducing high crop losses and improving the value chain from farm to fork are critical.
Davies, F.T. and Bowman, J.E. (2016). Horticulture, food security, and the challenge of feeding the world. Acta Hortic. 1128, 1-6
niche markets, nutritional security, specialty crops, sustainable intensification, urbanization, value chain