Ag Innovation Showcase: How to feed nine billion people
Delegates from the Ag Innovation Showcase discuss the biggest challenge that agriculture must overcomeShow transcript
The Ag Innovation Showcase in St Louis Missouri brings together scientists, investors, farmers and thought leaders to address the big challenges facing agriculture. And for this year’s delegates, there’s one very big challenge for the future of farming: the extra two billion mouths we’re going to need to feed by 2050. Registration is now open for the Ag Innovation Showcase 2017: visit www.agshowcase.com.
Gregg Steinberg: So the global issue that we have obviously is thinking about food production on a broader basis: how to get more out of each acre of land, and how to do it at high quality.
Hank Giclas: We’re going to be a lot more precise, we’re going to be a lot more high-tech; but there is a need, you know: a need to feed nine billion people.
Sam Fiorello: Consensus is that by 2050, the world is going to have to produce between now and then as much food as we have in the last 10,000 years put together.
Claire Kinlaw: We have to produce more food, because the globe is producing more people. We have to change the nature of the food we’re producing: people are eating higher up the food chain. They want more protein.
Rohit Shukla: A lot of it is animal protein. And yet animals end up being an extraordinary problem: not just in terms of care, but in terms of emissions.
Sam Fiorello: And that protein production puts huge pressures on our planet. For food and for fresh water and for arable land.
Carlo Montemagno: Water is everything. Without water we’re done. There’s a huge tension between having water available for developing and producing the food that we need, having water to consume to sustain us, and having water to support other industrial processes. It is probably the central issue of our age: being able to produce clean water from water which is not currently usable.
Sam Fiorello: So this next green revolution that we need to be part of is about a doubling of ag productivity – not production.
Alec Anderson: We have to make better use of what we already grow, as well as just simply focusing on trying to grow more.
Sam Fiorello: That’s really hard, and the only way you get there is through places like the Danforth Centre, that create new ideas, new innovations, and the entrepreneurs that you see here moving those into companies; and the investors lifting those up and eventually providing solutions to farmers and distributors and consumers.
Carlo Montemagno: And the technologies which we’ve seen at the Ag Innovation Showcase indicates to me that industry is on board with these real challenges, and are working very diligently to find solutions for the future.
Sam Fiorello: So they look at things like efficiencies in farming. They look at new ways to help plants thrive on a planet whose climate is changing very drastically. We look at things like eliminating food waste. We’ve seen a trend in the last years from strictly just biology to biology technology and data. So big, big movements.
Gregg Steinberg: How to feed a population that’s going from seven billion to nine billion in a short period of time, doing it in a sustainable manner? So we’re also being stewards of mother earth? Is unbelievably important, and what we’re focused on.