Increases in food prices since 2007 have driven hundreds of millions of poor people into hunger, feeding civil unrest. The trend towards higher food prices, which is likely to continue for decades, is a reflection of a growing global
imbalance in which the rate of growth in demand for land-based products (food, fuel, fiber and feed) is outpacing the rate of growth in supply.
The Food Price Index has almost doubled over the past 20 years (108.6 from 1990-2006, 194.9 from 2007-2013).
Estimates show that the greatest potential for crop expansion in the world lies in Latin America.
Per capita GDP in the United States (US $51,749) is eight and a half times higher than in China (US $6,091).
Global demand is rising largely through rapid growth in per capita consumption in China, India, Brazil, and other emerging economies, whose burgeoning consumption levels are still far below average per capita consumption in the USA. Growth in production is increasingly constrained by the dwindling supply of new arable land, declines in the rate at which yields are increasing, and extreme weather events.
A critical challenge over the next decade is to initiate and sustain a worldwide transition of the current prevailing rural development model, to an alternate model where we produce more with less, decrease the environmental “footprint” of the wealthiest nations, and support emerging economies to move directly into sustainable, low-emissions economies.