Humanity faces a large number and variety of challenges to produce food in sufficient volume and sustainably. Among these are climate change with the different variants that affect countries in various ways (some hit by unseen droughts and others with catastrophic floods).
Some of them are like reducing the carbon footprint, stopping global warming, making more efficient use of the water and avoid contamination of its different sources, stop the erosion of the fertile layer of agricultural and livestock land, the containment and management of harmful gases into the atmosphere.
However, we must also pay attention to addressing the challenges related to activities that are complementary to food production, such as their packaging: use 100% recyclable, reusable, biodegradable materials that have the proper reverse logistics.
The use of clean energy in both production and packaging, storage and distribution logistics processes continues to be an area of opportunity.
An enormous task that the private sector and the public sector in the world must attend to immediately is the development of a common strategy that allows the reduction of food waste. The United Nations (UN) estimates that 31% of the food produced in the world is wasted; 17% is thrown away in shops and homes, while the remaining 14% is lost due to climatic and fauna problems. If we could prevent so much food from being wasted, it is very likely that the 675+ million people who are expected to survive in extreme poverty could be fed (expected data for 2022, according to the World Bank).
The pressure exerted by the growth of the urban sprawl throughout the world on the rural space dedicated to food production is constant and on the rise. It is essential to continue the development of technologies that allow increased productivity both in the open field and under covered surfaces: the use of the satellite network to identify the quality of the soil, projects to improve its fertility, coupled with the use of drones to identify the state of plant development so that the data obtained is used to suggest the exact application of water and nutrients, for the precise control of pests and diseases. In livestock production, progress should be made towards the use of chips that detect the key indicators of the animals’ health status, in order to administer adequate nutrition, as well as preventive and corrective treatments for diseases.
Indoor agriculture brings products closer to demanding consumers for their freshness, without neglecting the trend towards the production and consumption of organic food.
All this is accompanied by sophisticated genetic development that allows obtaining seeds, plants and animals with the most appropriate genotypic and phenotypic characteristics to the requirements of the different shareholders.
Finally, the disruption generated by the laboratory production of foods such as milk or meat from cells that multiply under adequate conditions, allows us to see that there will be great developments in world food in the coming years.
Article written by Jorge Segovia, CFR Global Executive Search Mexico
Photo source: Pixabay