Global Perspectives Studies

The future of food and agriculture

About the series (ISSN 2522-722X)

The future of food and agriculture (FOFA) is an FAO series that portrays long-term analyses of food and agricultural systems within the social and economy-wide context. The global development community, member countries, civil society, private sector, academia and FAO itself find in the series strategic and policy-relevant insights to feed into ongoing public debates and decision-making to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The FOFA series portrays recent global trends and alternative future scenarios to analyse possible pathways of food and agricultural systems. Food consumption, agricultural production, natural resources and production factors, such as labour, investment and capital are among the themes addressed in the series.

Latest issue: The future of food and agriculture – Drivers and triggers for transformation

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This report aims at inspiring strategic thinking and actions to transform agrifood systems towards a sustainable, resilient and inclusive future, by building on both previous reports in the same series as well as on a comprehensive corporate strategic foresight exercise that also nurtured FAO Strategic Framework 2022–31.  It analyses major drivers of agrifood systems and explores how their trends could determine alternative futures of agrifood, socioeconomic and environmental systems. The fundamental message of this report is that it is still possible to push agrifood systems along a pattern of sustainability and resilience, if key “triggers” of transformation are properly activated. However, strategic policy options to activate them will have to “outsmart” vested interests, hidden agendas and conflicting objectives, and trade off short-term unsustainable achievements for longer-term sustainability, resilience and inclusivity.

Previous issues

The future of food and agriculture – Trends and challenges

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[2017] This report presents a summary of the challenges that agriculture and food systems are currently facing and will face into the 21st century. Analysis of 15 global trends provides insight into what is at stake and what needs to be done. Most of the trends are strongly interdependent and combine to inform a set of 10 challenges to achieving food security and nutrition for all and making agriculture sustainable. ‘Business-as-usual’ is not an option. Major transformations in agricultural systems, rural economies and natural resource management will be needed if we are to realize the full potential of food and agriculture to ensure a secure and healthy future for all people and the entire planet. 

The future of food and agriculture – Alternative pathways to 2050

[2018] This report explores three different scenarios for the future of food and agriculture, based on alternative trends for key drivers, such as income growth and distribution, population growth, technical progress in agriculture, and climate change. Building on the report The future of food and agriculture – Trends and challenges, this publication provides scenario-based quantitative projections to 2050 for food and agriculture. Quantitative evidence and qualitative assessments, shed light on possible strategic options for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of eradicating hunger, improving nutrition and ensuring that food and agricultural sectors become economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.