Think About World Population

Pat Boren
CPS Tangent

Think about the world population
  • There are more than twice as many people on the planet today as there were in 1960.  The world population has never doubled this fast .
  • It is estimated the world population will reach 7 billion sometime in 2011.
  • The era of explosive population growth is expected to end in 2050.   The population is expected to be 9 billion people at that time (more or less depending on birth rates).
  • In China the life expectancy went from 41 years in 1952 to 73 years  today.
  • There are currently 21 cities with populations larger than 10 million.

Think about agriculture and the world population
  • From 1950 to 1984 the world grain production increased 250%.  This was accomplished because the Green Revolution introduced improved varieties, commercial fertilizer, crop production chemicals and improved irrigation methods.
  • The world population has increased 4 billion since the beginning of the Green Revolution while the number of undernourished people decreased.
  • It is estimated that food production will need to increase 70% to feed 2.3 billion more people by 2050.
Bottom Line
There is a huge challenge to feed the world in the coming years.  Land, water, energy, minerals are limited and may be at peak currently.  The huge increases in food productivity may be difficult to maintain into the future.  Currently, there are references in the public media to food crisis, food riots, shortages and price increases.  We have seen volatility in commodity supplies and pricing because of low world inventories.  No one can predict the future but the trend looks like farmers have a great challenge and opportunity ahead.