4 March 2003, Rome -- The world's population will be better fed by 2030, but hundreds of millions of people in developing countries will remain chronically hungry.

This is one of the key messages of World agriculture: towards 2015/2030, FAO's latest global assessment of the long-term outlook for food and agriculture. It updates and extends the last FAO assessement made in 1995.

The projections, covering 140 countries and 32 crop and livestock commodities, analyse supply and demand for the major agricultural commodities and sectors, including fisheries and forestry.

"By the year 2015/2030 per capita food supplies will have increased and the incidence of undernourishment will have been further reduced in most developing regions", writes FAO Director-General Dr Jacques Diouf in his foreword.

However, parts of South Asia may be still in a difficult position and much of sub-Saharan Africa will probably not be significantly better off than at present in the absence of concerted action by all concerned.

"Therefore the world must brace itself for continuing interventions to cope with the consequences of local food crises and for action to remove permanently their root causes," according to Dr Diouf.

World Food Summit target will be missed

The study says that the number of hungry people is expected to decline from around 800 million today to about 440 million in 2030. This means, that the target of the World Food Summit in 1996, to reduce the number of hungry by half by 2015, will not even be met by 2030.

"The report aims at describing the future as it is likely to be," said Jelle Bruinsma, the editor of the FAO report. "It does not describe the future as it ought to be nor does it provide a development strategy for global agriculture."

"The study draws to the maximum extent possible on the knowledge of various disciplines in FAO's technical divisions. It represents FAO's perspective on the future of food, nutrition and agriculture," Bruinsma said.

"We hope that governments and the international community use the report as a basis for their actions, to cope with both existing problems and with new ones that may emerge."

In particular, the study examines:
  • the prospects of food and nutrition;
  • commodities and international agricultural trade;
  • the implications of agricultural production on the environment;
  • livestock production, forestry and fisheries;
  • agriculture and poverty alleviation;

  • globalization in food and agriculture;
  • agricultural technology;
  • climate change and agriculture.

The study is currently available only in English. A summary report, released in August 2002, was published in English, French and Spanish.

World agriculture: towards 2015/2030 is copublished by FAO and Earthscan Publications Ltd London.


Erwin Northoff
Information Officer, FAO
(+39) 06 570 53105