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The United Nations’ new population growth projections show that the world is set to reach nearly 9.6 billion by 2050. This growth holds serious implications for global food security. Absent other effective measures to control dietary shifts and reduce food loss and waste, the world will need to produce about 70 percent more food annually by 2050 to meet global demands. That is a big task, and even harder to do without converting millions more hectares of forests into farmland, contributing to climate change.

Today is World Food Day, a chance for people all over the world to focus on approaches to end global hunger. Celebrated each year to commemorate the founding of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), this day provides us with an opportunity to assess where the world is today in regard to food security – and what we’ll all have to do in the future to achieve it.

How Do You Feed 9 Billion People by 2050?

For much of the planet, food security isn’t a concern on just one day of the year—it’s a daily struggle. According to the FAO, 870 million of the world’s poor are already undernourished, and yet global human population is projected to increase from 7 billion to more than 9 billion by 2050. To sufficiently feed these people, worldwide food availability will need to increase by at least 52 percent from 2007 levels.

Yet agriculture is already having huge impacts on the world’s environment and resources. For instance, agriculture is the direct driver of about 80 percent of tropical deforestation. Agriculture is responsible for up to 85 percent of the world’s consumption of freshwater, and nutrient runoff is a major cause of water quality degradation globally. And according to WRI’s Climate Analysis Indicators Tool (CAIT), food production accounts for up to 27 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions per year due to deforestation, livestock, energy consumption on farms, and fertilizer use.

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p>Worldwide, the number of people living on less than $1 per day-the international standard for extreme poverty-has dropped from 1.25 billion in 1990 to 986 million in 2004 (the latest year for which

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The reality of global poverty is that it is rural and it is persistent: three-quarters of the 2.6 billion people living on less than $2 per day—almost 2 billion—live in rural areas; that number is virtually unchanged in 20 years.

charts graphs

The reality of global poverty is that it is rural and it is persistent: three-quarters of the 2.6 billion people living on less than $2 per day—almost 2 billion—live in rural areas; that number is virtually unchanged in 20 years.

charts graphs

The reality of global poverty is that it is rural and it is persistent: three-quarters of the 2.6 billion people living on less than $2 per day—almost 2 billion—live in rural areas; that number is virtually unchanged in 20 years.

charts graphs

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