The Global Food Security Challenge in the Coming Decades
Professor Chris Barrett, Stephen B. and Janice G. Ashley Professor of Applied Economics and Management and International Professor of Agriculture, and Professor of Economics, Cornell University, US
16 May 2012
Co-presented with the School of Economics and the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment University of Sydney
The world faces a major challenge in the coming years. Meeting the food needs of roughly 9 billion people by 2050 will require significant productivity gains in agriculture, improvements to the livelihoods of the world’s poor, substantial reductions in post-harvest losses and food waste, all while attending to growing land and water scarcity and evolving abiotic and biotic stresses. Changes in demand and supply patterns will have significant market, humanitarian and environmental impacts. Today’s major agricultural producers and exporters, such as the United States and Australia, can and will play a significant role in meeting these challenges, both as surplus producers and as sources of innovation and investible capital. But because of the predominantly local and regional nature of food supply chains, gains must occur disproportionately in today’s low- and middle-income countries, mainly in Africa and Asia.
No single strategy or sector can meet this challenge – it will require creative and collaborative efforts among governments, farmers around the world, private companies, universities, and civil society. Meeting this challenge is our collective responsibility, to ensure that our grandchildren’s generations do not confront chronic global food crises of the sort that our grandparents’ generations so skilfully averted on our behalf.
Chris Barrett is the Stephen B. and Janice G. Ashley Professor of Applied Economics and Management and International Professor of Agriculture in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management as well as Professor in the Department of Economics at Cornell University. He also serves as the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future’s Associate Director for Economic Development Programs and the Director of the Cornell Institute for International Food, Agriculture and Development’s initiative on Stimulating Agricultural and Rural Transformation. Professor Barrett was elected a Fellow both of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and of the African Association of Agricultural Economists.
His fundamental research objective is to “help reduce unnecessary human suffering, albeit indirectly, by generating useful new knowledge on which people and organisations can act.” He collaborates extensively with scholars from a wide range of biophysical and social science disciplines.
Click here for Professor Barrett's home page at Cornell University.