The future of food and agriculture
Trends and challenges
FAO’s vision is of a ‘world free from hunger and malnutrition, where food and agriculture contribute to improving the living standards of all, especially the poorest, in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner’. To help its Member Countries realize that shared vision – individually at the national level and collectively at the regional and global levels – FAO organizes its work taking account of the main challenges facing the food and agriculture sector. The present study, which was undertaken for the quadrennial review of FAO’s Strategic Framework and preparation of the Organization’s Medium-Term Plan, 2018–21, lays out key global trends and challenges that will influence food and agriculture in the coming decades. The trends and challenges analysed here are cause for both hope and concern. Much progress has been made in reducing hunger and poverty and improving food security and nutrition. Gains in productivity and technological advances have contributed to more efficient resource use and improved food safety. But major concerns persist. Some 795 million people still suffer from hunger, and more than two billion from micronutrient deficiencies or forms of overnourishment. In addition, global food security could be in jeopardy, due to mounting pressures on natural resources and to climate change, both of which threaten the sustainability of food systems at large. Planetary boundaries may well be surpassed, if current trends continue.
The purpose of this report is to help mobilize the concrete and concerted actions required to realize these global agendas. It contributes to a common understanding of the major long-term trends and challenges that will determine the future of food security and nutrition, rural poverty, the efficiency of food systems, and the sustainability and resilience of rural livelihoods, agricultural systems and their natural resource base.