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Agrimonde Foresight. © inra

Agrimonde Foresight Study: how do we feed the world in 2050?

Agrimonde GO: current trends continue

From a quantitative point of view, Agrimonde focuses on two scenarios of the world in 2050. These two possible futures are illustrated by three principle parameters: apparent food availability per person, plant yield in food calories and land use. The Agrimonde GO scenario, based on the hypotheses put forward in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Global Orchestration scenario, relies on the continuation of current trends over the next fifty years.

Updated on 04/24/2013
Published on 02/26/2013

This scenario projects historical food biomass production and use trends into the future within the context of a liberalised world. Robust economic growth is seen across all regions, especially in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and in the former Soviet countries. The AGO scenario assumes that yields will rise significantly between now and 2050, although at lower rates than those seen during the 1961-2000 period, except in two regions, the former Soviet Union and sub-Saharan Africa.
Investments in research, innovation, education, health and infrastructure are strong. The entire world will witness considerable technical progress. Poverty is substantially reduced. Agricultural production systems are increasingly standardised and in line with an industrial model which relies heavily on motorisation and mechanisation, fertilisers and pesticides. This comes to the detriment of local know-how and biodiversity, especially with regards to crop species grown.  

Increased calories of animal origin

Irrigation is a key factor in achieving increased yields. In Agrimonde GO, both cultivated land and grazed pastures increase (+327 million hectares, or +38%, and +258 million hectares, or +8%, respectively).
Greater agricultural production means the significant rise in demand can be met, as both populations and standards of living increase around the world. The number of undernourished is divided by 2.5 within 50 years. In all areas, the portion of animal-based calories increases. The AGO scenario corresponds to a 19% rise in worldwide availability between 2003 (3015 kcal/day/person, 498 of which come from animals) and 2050 (3588 kcal/day/person, 834 of which are from animals). In all regions, the consumption of animal products increases. This scenario is hardly conducive to solving global environmental issues. On the contrary, climate change and the over-exploitation of marine resources are exacerbated.
Solutions to offset these problems are not provided. Environmental concerns take a back seat while priority is given to satisfying immediate dietary and energy requirements. Solutions to environmental problems are implemented on a purely case by case basis. Despite the availability of financial resources and competent global institutions, no real effort is made to cut greenhouse gas emissions.