For years, researchers have been saying that food production will need to double by 2050 in order to meet the needs of the rising population.
A study recently published in BioScience offers new information that this is likely not the case. After analyzing current projections for food demand and population rise, researchers estimate that only a 25% - 70% increase in food production will be necessary. Although this is a wide range, it is still much lower than 200%, and can be acheived using rates that are similar to past increases in food production.
According to one of the co-authors of the study, Mitch Hunter, "This additional breathing room may be critical, because our analysis also shows that agriculture’s environmental footprint must shrink drastically to safeguard the ecosystems that humans rely on." For instance, researchers say that by 2050, agricultural greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut by 80% in order to avoid significant global temperature increases. This dramatic reduction would be nearly impossible if food production were to double within the same time-frame. With more accurate projections of what global food needs are going to look like, there can be more precise planning for intensifying sustainability goals within agriculture. For more details on the study, check out the full article on Grist.