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Feeding nine billion in 2050

FAO and CGIAR conference to address research priorities for ensuring food and nutrition security for the world’s poorest

Photo: ©FAO/Asim Hafeez
During the next 40 years the world’s population is projected to reach more than nine billion people.

12 April 2013, Dublin/Rome - During the next 40 years the world's population is projected to reach more than nine billion people.  Demand for food is expected to increase by 60 percent under business-as-usual assumptions.  Competition for land, water, and food could lead to greater poverty and hunger if not properly addressed now, with potentially severe environmental impacts.

The Food Security Futures conference will bring together senior researchers from the CGIAR and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), as well as representatives from the private sector, civil society and other research organizations to examine the contribution that public research must make to food security and nutrition, natural resource management, and climate change in order to meet the challenges of the coming years.  The conference is organized by FAO and the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM), led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), a member of the CGIAR Consortium.

In the past century global agricultural production more than kept up with increasing demand and real food prices declined steadily, delivering better diets to most of the world's people.  In the beginning of this century that long-term trend has been reversed with average prices increasing and more frequent price spikes.  And despite increasing abundance, hunger has remained a persistent problem for too many of the world's poor people.  We now face a confluence of pressures on fragile soils, supplies of water, and competing demands for land.  Climate change and rising demand for biofuels provide additional instability in global food systems.

"We must renew efforts to address these challenges," said Kostas Stamoulis, Director, Agricultural and Development Economics Division, FAO.  "But we in FAO and CGIAR must first help the international community to refocus our commitment to sustainable agriculture and the elimination of hunger in light of these changed circumstances. This conference is an important step toward setting priorities for the path forward."

Leading researchers from CGIAR and FAO will present papers on key topics with long-term impact on global food security, for example, nutrition, sustainable resource use, and climate change. Participants will review and discuss the papers to help conference organizers set research priorities for the coming years.

"Engaging key representatives of the research community, the private sector, civil society, donors, and others committed to food and nutrition security will help us all see the bigger picture of what is needed to set priorities and make the best decisions for research," said Karen Brooks, Director, PIM.  "We must try for sound targeting of our research given the enormity of the challenges and what is at stake for all of us, especially the world's poorest and most vulnerable."

For more information on the conference and to keep apprised of conference outcomes, please visit: http://www.pim.cgiar.org/food-security-futures-conference/.

The CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets is supported by the CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food secure future. www.pim.cgiar.org

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) works to tackle  the root causes of hunger. Its mandate is to raise levels of nutrition, improve sustainable agricultural productivity, better the lives of rural populations, and contribute to the growth of the world economy.