Lesson 2, Topic 1
In Progress

Challenges for future food security

WRI_2019_Creating a Sustainable Food Future

How can the world adequately feed nearly 10 billion people by the year 2050 in ways that help combat poverty, allow the world to meet climate goals, and reduce pressures on the broader environment?

visual here about population increase – food

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How is food used now?

About %30 of our food is wasted
between the farm and the fork

Edible crops are converted into
animal-based food

visual here about use of food

Edible crops are inefficiently
converted into biofuel

The consumption of beef which is least efficient
is increasing

What are the challenges?

Challenges of food security encompasses: Each with an image?

Climate change


price shock due to more frequent ‘extreme weather’ conditions

Increased consumption


price shock due to more frequent ‘extreme weather’ conditions.
malnutrition and knock on effects in health, development, and the economy

Rapid urbanization

[availability & access]

Rapid urbanization rates in Africa and Asia.
Increase demand for affordable food & infrastructure to deliver, store, provide.

Food Safety


limited resources to manage and monitor food chains and businesses (COVID-19)

Economic growth


growth in the middle class due to poverty reduction,
Increased demand for meat and dairy products that s not sustainable

  • Video 01:19-03:30: Impact of challenges on dimensions of food security
  • Something something
  • Video 03:30-05:23: Closing the food gap with question: Can we close the gap with improvements in production? (insert interactive video element); increase the amount of land (no) vs. increasing productivity
  • Agricultural productivity: How to speak about yield? Use graphic + text

Food Gap


The food gap, as we define it, is the difference between the crop calories produced in 2010 and those that the world will likely require in 2050 based on projected demand. This gap can be closed both through measures that decrease the rate of growth in demand and measures that increase supply. The more the gap can be closed through demand-reduction measures, the smaller will be the challenge of increasing food production. And as that challenge decreases, so does the risk that the world will fail to meet food needs, which would most harshly affect the poor. In this report, we explore both demand-reduction measures and the potential to boost food supply to fill the remaining gap.

Increased population & trends in consumption patterns mean that by 2050 we will need to produce 70 % more calories than we do now.

How to feed 10 billion people in 2050?

Where are the challenges?

The biggest gaps between actual and attainable production are in developing countries. Explore the yield gap map below to see the distribution of average yield gaps for major cereals.

could find the map in good quality: Average yield gaps for major cereals (maize, wheat, and rice). These
were measured as a percentage of the attainable yield achieved in the year 2000
(Mueller et al., 2012).

Explore interactive yield maps:

Where are yield gaps the biggest? Map + text (conclusion should be that huge gains are possible in some areas of the world, not only focus on that there is a deficit)

How can we close the gap?

  • Video 06:33-07:20: Approaches to increase yield

We need solutions to these challenges that

  • increase food production on existing land/water
  • reduce the environmental impacts of food production
  • promote a better balance of food that we consume
  • have benefits for social and economic development in urban and rural settings

Can we close the gap with the increased production?

Increase the amount of land? – there are limited opportunities for further expansion of productive land

Increase the production (yield) on existing land? some increased productivity is possible by improved management & technology however resource limitations and climate change will depress yields in many regions… Therefore, it is highly unlikely that we can close the food gap via increased production alone.

Can we close the gap with changes in consumption?

Consumption of resource-intensive food, e.g. beef increases. Furthermore, there are more people who overconsume than those who consume too little.

It is highly unlikely that we can close the food gap via changes in consumption alone.

Menu of solutions is needed to close the gap

Menu of solutions targeting reducing growth in demand and increasing food production in a sustainable way.

Reducing the food loss and waste, shifting to more healthier and sustainable diets, avoiding using land and eatable foods for bioenergy production can contributed to decrease in demand.

From the supply point the target is to increase food production without expanding agricultural land. Improving soil and water management, adapting to the climate change are important to increase the production. Protecting and restoring natural ecosystems, limiting agricultural land-shifting and reducing the emission from agricultural production are items on the menu. The next figure provides an overview of how much cropland has been saved worldwide as a result of the increase in crop yields.

cropland spread is slowed down by the increase in crop yield.
However the croplands continues to spread.

Source: https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/land-sparing-by-crop?country=Cereals~Fruit~Pulses~Sugar+Crops~Roots+and+Tubers~Vegetables~All+crops

Below is an example menu of solutions.

Here some graph etc.., making people explore some maps to make them identify challenges and set of solutions

Food security challenges can be addressed by implementing such menu of solutions, requiring integrating actions and planning.

To achieve this, we need spatial and temporal information and knowledge, that can be provided by EO data and tools.

Sources & further reading


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