WASHINGTON, D.C. — As production demands escalate to meet renewable fuel, fiber and food needs and the global economy continues to be strained, it is more important then ever that food and fiber remain affordable to sustain a growing world population. The United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) recently released Rapid Response Assessment, a report citing global food trends and forecasting their potential impacts on agriculture, highlights the importance of maintaining efficient and productive world agriculture. According to the report, food production may decline as much as 25 percent by 2050, while world food prices could rise by 30 to 50 percent. These findings raise serious concerns about how global, agricultural stakeholders should work together to better produce, store, and distribute food.
New and innovative crop protection technology will play a key role as it becomes increasingly evident that producing more food with less, by using more effective inputs, is the ultimate solution to the trends addressed in the report. While conventional production methods remain critical to advancing food production, other technologies now widely used by farmers — like biotechnology, conventional seed breeding improvements, drip irrigation techniques and conservation tillage systems, used in conjunction with the latest fertilizer and pesticide recommendations — will ultimately provide ongoing answers to future pressing agricultural needs.
“Between 20 to 40 percent of the world’s potential crop production is lost annually due to the effects of weeds, pests and diseases. Twice that rate would be lost without the use of pesticides,” said Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CropLife America (CLA). “New technologies must continually be developed to further a sustainable agricultural sector, and to ensure that there is another century of falling food costs. Our members’ constant investment in developing better products, new technology and more precise application methods, are part of that agricultural innovation. As a result, pesticide usage has significantly decreased and we expect this remarkable trend — producing more with less — to continue well into the future as our industry works toward cutting-edge agricultural solutions that will improve production of and access to food, fuel and fiber,” concluded Vroom.
Thanks to modern agriculture, farmers have doubled the production of world food calories since 1960, tripled the output of foods such as cooking oils and meats, and increased per-capita food supplies in the developing world by 25 percent, while maintaining a stable area of cultivated land since 1950. All this was accomplished while global population doubled. Though the UNEP report recognized various alternative approaches to conventional agricultural practices as a potential solution for meeting future agricultural demand, crop protection technology will continue to play an essential and proven role in meeting the growing, worldwide needs identified in the UNEP report. The need for a safe, secure, varied, healthy and — most importantly — affordable diet is among the crop protection industry’s foremost priorities.