Currently, more than seven billion people live on planet Earth; by the year 2050 that figure will have grown to nine billion. Even today, almost one billion people are chronically undernourished.
In 2010, the British government commissioned several studies that showed, among other things, that we currently possess the technology and the resources to fill the stomachs of all seven billion people. Our planet could also feed nine billion. But the capacity for further development in agriculture is limited. So in future the question will not be whether we can feed everyone, but how.
Here, I will just address one aspect of the complex problem of feeding the world. The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that around one third of all food produced in the world gets wasted. Because of surplus supply, vast amounts of food are thrown away in industrialised nations. That means we must address the task of encouraging people to adopt a more responsible approach to food. In developing countries, lots of food gets spoiled because it is stored incorrectly or cannot be distributed quickly enough. Here, support is needed in making individual processes run more efficiently. Scientists are also looking for new ways of preserving food, such as high pressure processing.
Dr Susann Beetz of the Ideas 2020 team answered this question.