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What challenges must we face to feed the world in 2050?

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Das "French National Institute for Agricultural Research" (Inra) und das "International Cooperative Centre for Agronomical Research for Development" (Cirad) mit einer umfangreichen Studie zum Thema Welternährung.

7 billion people living on the planet today, 9 billion tomorrow :
What challenges must we face to feed the world in 2050?

Inra - Cirad

How will we be able to feed close to 9 billion people in 2050 in a sustainable way? “Agrimonde”, is dedicated to the presentation and the discussion of the foresight study undertaken in this perspective by Inra and Cirad. Marion Guillou, President of Inra, and Patrick Caron, Deputy Director General of Cirad, presented ,in the presence of the principal authors, the results of this study on worldwide food and agricultural issues in the year 2050.


Beginning in 2006, INRA and CIRAD took the initiative, creating « Agrimonde » , a foresight study to explore alternative future scenarios for worldwide agricultural and food system in the year 2050. The issue can be summarised in one phrase : How can we feed close to 9 billion people in a sustainable way? This question is a complex one, because it involves not only fulfilling quantitative nutritional needs of the worldwide population, but also allowing each person access to a healthy and balanced diet, produced by systems that respect the environment, bearing in mind the increasing scarcity of fossil energies, and integrating social dimensions. Producing food in a better way as well as producing more is the real challenge for the agricultural community of the world.

Experts, of different origins and from a multitude of disciplines have worked together on this foresight study.They have chosen two scenarios, one based on existing trends(Agrimonde GO), the other based on changing current perspectives (Agrimonde 1) These two scenarios are described in the foresight study published today. (See Annex).

Feeding the world in a sustainable way is possible

In both of the scenarios that have been considered, feeding the planet in 2050 appears to be possible. Whilst the trend-based scenario, Agrimonde GO, allows it to happen at the cost of environmental degradation, the change-based scenario, Agrimonde 1, shows that it can be achieved in a sustainable way, if three main conditions are fulfilled :

  • The current food model of industrialized countries must not be generalized

For example, excessive food consumption should be reduced, as should losses and waste that occur at the distribution stage, and at the time of final consumption ( estimated at around 25% in the OECD zone.)

  • Productive and ecological agriculture becomes the chosen priority

This notably refers to the development of a more productive agriculture, which is simultaneously more economical in fossil energies, and more respectful of the environment. This type of agriculture makes the best of agricultural processes. It stimulates and exploits synergies between plant and animal species. It benefits from scientific progress, whilst exploiting existing knowledge and traditional methods.

  • International exchanges of agricultural and food products need to be more secure

The necessary and foreseeable growth of agricultural exchanges coming from OECD countries, the ex-Soviet block and Latin America and going towards Africa, Asia and the Middle-East needs to be stabilized and regulated.

Agrimonde, a shared thinking tool

The changes that are brought up in this study call for new avenues of research. INRA and CIRAD have already started programmes that will reply to some of the questions raised by Agrimonde: the Dualine workshop for healthy and sustainable food systems; European projects undertaken on the longevity of animal productions (Animal Change) and the regulation of the food markets (AgFood Trade); or even the involvement in international consortiums to develop new production strategies for cereals, notably rice and wheat. New thinking is already underway on Land Usage Modelling, which is considered a priority for the extension of Agrimonde.

With Agrimonde and its extensions INRA and CIRAD are fully involved in international thinking on the essential question of worldwide food security today.

For further information 


To watch the conference :

Introduction by Patrick Caron, general director of Cirad :
Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7sUnpWxRzY
Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkAWcW1zYSM

Presentation of the results of the Agrimonde foresight study :
- Bruno Dorin, Cirad : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLAir8F4jU4
- Sandrine Paillard, Inra :  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C56D7PBzuQE

Conclusion and perspectives for the future, by Marion Guillou, president of Inra :
Part1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWc9XZpATbM
Part2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbPbjqNSx2o