Global food demand is expected to at least double - if not triple - over the next 50 years, according to Alex Avery, director of research and education, Hudson Institute's Center for Global Food Issues.
With a peak global population estimated at 8.5-9.5 billion in 2050, crop land and/or yields will have to increase in order to meet the increased demand for food. The greatest population growth is expected to occur in Asia and India, but the United States and some South American countries have more arable land, creating export opportunities, Avery notes.
Asia, where the largest population surge is expected, has only 30% arable land. In addition to rising populations, increasing affluence across the world is allowing more people around the world to improve their diets. Food is the first change people make as their income rises, he says, allowing them to diversify the grains and oils they consume and add more meat, milk and eggs.
Avery also predicted there will be a marked increase in exports to Asia and India in the next five years. Global food and fiber demand will at least double in the next 35 years, he states. He cautioned the audience not to become too dependent on specific markets as the world economy continues to evolve.