Expert Meeting on “How to Feed the World in 2050”
FAO Headquarters, Rome, 24-26 June 2009
Concept Note and Programme (preliminary)
In the first half of this century, global demand for food, feed and fibre will nearly double while, increasingly, crops may also be used for bioenergy and other industrial purposes. New and traditional demand for agricultural produce will thus put growing pressure on already scarce agricultural resources. And while agriculture will be forced to compete for land and water with sprawling urban settlements, it will also be required to serve on other major fronts: adapting and contributing to the mitigation of climate change, helping preserve natural habitats, protecting endangered species and maintaining a high level of biodiversity. As though this were not challenging enough, fewer people will be living in rural areas and even less will be farmers. They will need new technologies to grow more food from less land, with fewer hands.
This scenario raises a number of important questions. For instance, will we be able to produce enough food at affordable prices or will rising food prices drive more of the world’s
population into poverty and hunger? How much spare capacity in terms of land and water do we have to feed the world in 2050? What are the new technologies that can help us use scarce resources more efficiently and increase crop yields?
Assuming we can make technical progress, are we investing enough in research and development for breakthroughs to be available in time? Will new technologies be available to the people who will need them most – the poor? How much do we need to invest in order to
help agriculture adapt to climate change, and how much can agriculture contribute to mitigating extreme weather events?
Finally, do we have the right policies to help ensure that the world’s future needs are met?
Are trade and support policies, ODA and other sources of support sufficient and properly focused to feed the world better over the coming decades? What are priority areas for policy action and where are the present and future hot-spots where policy action is needed most urgently? What can be done to ensure food security in sub-Saharan Africa, the continent facing the highest population growth rates, the severest impacts from climate change and the heaviest burden of HIV/AIDS?
These questions will be discussed, and hopefully answered, at a High-Level Conference (HLC) to be hosted by FAO in October 2009. The HLC will take the form of a Forum and be organized around six panel sessions focusing on the following topics:
1. The outlook for food and agriculture in a dynamically changing economic and
2. Available resources (land, water, genetics), limits and challenges from climate change
and new demands (bioenergy).
3. The technological challenge.
4. Investment needs, sources and instruments.
5. The policy challenge: investment, trade, support, ODA and more.
6. Special session on Africa.
In preparation for the HLC, FAO will host an expert meeting on 24-26 June 2009 to prepare technical background documentation.
Expert Meeting on
“How to Feed the World in 2050”
FAO Headquarters, Rome, 24-26 June 2009 (Mexico Room)
Chair: Pingali (Gates Foundation), TBC
Rapporteur: Huddleston, TBC
Expected number of participants: 30 to 40.
Opening, registration, welcome: Wednesday, 24 June
12:30: Light lunch
? Welcome address [Hafez Ghanem, ADG-ES, FAO]
? Presentation of main results of the June HLC on bioenergy, climate change and food
security [Alexander Müller, ADG-NR, FAO]
Session 1, Wednesday, 24 June (14:00 – 17:30) - Global agriculture to 2050: How will the world’s food and agriculture sector develop in a dynamically changing economic
and resource environment?
S1P1: The macroeconomic environment for agriculture and rural areas to develop over the
next 50 years [Development Prospects Group, World Bank, TBC]. This paper includes an
assessment of the long-term impacts of the current financial crisis (specifically the resource
availability for (i) agricultural development, (ii) adaptation to and mitigation of climate change,
(iii) investment in agriculture and rural areas, (iv) food security).
S1P2: The CIRAD-INRA Foresight study on world food and agricultural systems in 2050
S1P3: World agriculture towards 2050, FAO’s long-term projections for food and agriculture [FAO-ESAG, Alexandratos/Bruinsma/Schmidhuber]
S1P4: Agriculture in a dynamically changing environment: IFPRI’s long-term outlook for
food and agriculture under pressure from new demands and added constraints [IFPRI,
Additional background papers:
S1P41: Short-term swings and long-term trends in global food markets [FAO-
Session 2 (part 1), Thursday, 25 June (09:00 – 12:30) - The resource base and the technology challenge to 2050: Will there be enough land, water and genetic potential
as well as enough technological progress to meet future food and biofuel demands?
S2P1: The resource outlook: How much land, water and yield potential is left and how much
more can be tapped by 2050? [FAO-ESAG, Bruinsma/Alexandratos]
S2P2: How do climate change and bioenergy alter the long-term outlook for food, agriculture
and resource availability? [IIASA, G. Fischer]
Session 2 (part 2): The technology challenge to 2050
S2P3: Investment in agricultural technology: What are the key areas for the future
(management practices, biotechnology, increased adoption of existing technologies,
spillovers, etc.), who can deliver what technologies. TFP growth in agriculture: What are the
technology options for raising yields and total factor productivity? How can developing
countries better harness the benefits of new technologies in the future? [World Bank,
S2P4: Is there enough investment in agricultural R&D? By whom (developed vs. developing,
public vs. private), where (favoured vs. marginal areas, large scale vs. small) and what for
(genetic improvements, water efficiency, soil conservation, machinery), etc. [IFPRI,
Session 3, Thursday, 25 June (14:00 – 17:30) - The investment challenge to 2050: How much, where to invest, what priorities and what sources?
S3P1: Investment needs to 2050: What are the financial resources needed to meet future
food and fibre needs? An investment gap assessment to 2050 based on FAO’s long-term
outlook for global agriculture [FAO-ESAG, Tanyeri-Abur/Alexandratos/Bruinsma/
S3P2: Investment requirements under new demands on agriculture due to climate change
and bioenergy: (i) What are the additional investment requirements to meet growing fuel
demands on agriculture: an investment assessment under high fuel prices; (ii) What are the
additional investment requirements to rise to the challenges of adaptation and mitigation
under climate change? [IFPRI, Msangi/Rosegrant]
S3P3: Investing in developing countries’ agriculture: priorities, problems and needs to 2050 [University of Göttingen, deHaen/Cramon]
S3P4: Direct foreign investment in land: A threat to or an option for improved food security?
S3P5: Foreign direct investment and other forms of TNC participation in agricultural
production [UNCTAD, Mirza/Miroux]
Session 4, Friday, 26 June (09:00 – 15:30) - Feeding the world in 2050: the global policy challenge and Africa’s special role, problems and needs
S4P1: Trade and support policies to 2050: What can we expect from freer trade and a
growing globalization in food and agriculture? How can future trade negotiations help ensure
global food security? Do we have the right trade and support policies in place to promote and
foster international food security? [FAO-EST]
S4P2: Synchronizing trade liberalization, development and aid to 2050. [OECD, HLM, May]
S4P3: The role of “non-distortionary” support for long-term agricultural development: What are the policy options to help to provide more support to agriculture, ensure incomes for
farmers comparable to those earned by workers in manufacturing and services without
distorting international trade? [FAO-EST]
S4P4: How can Africa master its multiple development challenges of high population growth,
climate change and HIV/AIDS? [Tshwane University, Binswanger]
What development model for Africa?
S4P41: Can the smallholder model deliver poverty reduction and food security for a
rapidly growing population in Africa? [ODI, Wiggins]
S4P42: Can large-scale agriculture provide a new development paradigm for African
agriculture? [Oxford University, Collier/Dercon]
Concluding discussion, outlook and brief summary of the chair
? Background papers to be tabled at the HLC in October 2009
? Basis for a synthesis paper, a shorter executive paper, a technical summary including six
two-page fact sheets, a summary for policy makers and a declaration of independent 12experts on “How to Feed the World in 2050” ? Key messages for the presentations at the HLC in October 2009
? Identification of six presenters for the HLC in October 2009
1 The declaration is one of independent experts, not a consensus-based declaration of FAO member countries. 2 One may consider bundling the synthesis and background papers into one volume to be published separately as
the proceedings of the expert meeting.