Did you know that if we don't increase agricultural production in the next 30 years, the whole world might run out of food?
The agricultural industry will need to expand production to feed the continuously rising population, which is expected to rise by over 2 billion people by 2050. Despite the fact that the agriculture industry takes up over 36.8%of the Earth's surface area, 800 million peoplestill experience starvation. Over the next decade, 650 million people will be severely malnourished.
The fact of the matter is that the agricultural industry hasn't really innovated in recent years. However, revolutionary developments are anticipated to take place, bringing about a transformation in the agriculture industry moving forward. Governments and major corporations have been focusing on the availability of food for generations, trying to make all of our diet's basic products available all year-round.
Because of the escalating problems and growing environmental concerns, the entire agricultural system needs to be re-evaluated. Let's dive deeper into the challenges faced by the agricultural industry and how they are planning to solve them.
Challenges Faced by the Agricultural Industry
The food we consume daily links us to a network of farmers, dealers, food producers, retailers and numerous other parties participating in the global food supply. How many of us think about the agricultural system when we bite into a loaf of bread or a piece of fruit? And yet, the world's agricultural system is at the heart of some of the greatest problems that the human race is currently experiencing.
Rising Food Demand
The rising population, increasing urbanisation and the growing middle class are all contributing to the rising demand for food.
● Urbanisation has tremendous effects on the food supply chain. Since rural populations consume mostly from what they produce themselves, consumers living in metropolitan areas rely on imports. Their consumption accounts for over 90% of the food obtained from the market.
● According to estimates, the middle class in emerging nations will grow by up to 104%, as opposed to just 9% in wealthy nations. China and South Asia will account for a large portion of the growth. Therefore, the amount of protein consumption will increase. As the middle-class population grows, customer demand shifts from grains and wheat to pork, beef, chicken and legumes.
● The agricultural industry also has to increase productivity to meet the future needs of over 9 billion people. What's even more interesting is that only 55% of the world's total agriculture is consumed directly by people. The remaining are either used in the production of other industrial products or biofuels or used to feed livestock.
Global Warming and Climate Change
Agricultural industries are one of the largest contributors causing extensive harm to the environment, from chopping down forests to raise cattle or plant crops, to releasing greenhouse gases including methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide, to consuming most of the Earth's water resources. Apart from that, agriculture is a major contributor to the extinction of wildlife resulting from clearing out essential habitats.
Agriculture presents enormous environmental issues, which will only worsen as we attempt to satiate the world's expanding food demand. How will the agricultural industry reduce environmental damage whilst meeting the rising food demand?
Following are a few ways that the agricultural industries can cut down on used emissions:
● Controlling the level of nitrogen added to fertilisers will not only encourage optimum agricultural production but also reduce the emission of nitrous oxide.
● Enhancing grassland quality to raise livestock productivity will help reduce methane emissions per animal.
● Methane reduction can also be reduced by draining water from irrigated rice fields.
● Collecting methane produced by the breakdown of dung to create renewable energy.
● Optimising the decomposition of dung to lessen methane and nitrous oxide emissions.
Depleting Natural Resources
Another significant issue impacting the agriculture sector is the depletion of natural resources. With a lot of lands already occupied by several fields and farms, the lack of accessibility to fresh water is a serious threat that affects the increase in agricultural production. Coming generations will be less able to produce and thrive if the natural resources are harmed in the process of producing food and fibre. Moreover, the depletion of natural resources caused by unsustainable forestry and agricultural methods is thought to have had a significant influence on the fall of many past civilisations like Mesopotamia, Central America and the Indus Valley.
This issue can be solved by taking advantage of already-existing environmental factors and constructing agricultural systems to integrate essential ecosystem activities. It is generally possible to continue an economically sustainable agricultural system with minimal destructive interventions by constructing agroecosystems that depend more on organic nutrient cycling and energy.
Ageing Population of Farmers
In the past ten years, the population of ageing British farmers has been increasing;over 70% of them are above 65.The young population of farmers, on the other hand, has dropped by 63%. With more and more farmers retiring, there are very few left to fill in their roles.
However, this problem is not unique to Britain; in fact, farmers all over the world are now above 60. The agricultural industry needs more millennials to bring in fresh ideas and make important agricultural decisions. It's important that we attract the young to farming careers - agricultural education in schools would help.
Young farmers in the agricultural industry are making transforming decisions worth thousands of pounds. The ultimate decisions on smart agriculture and farming techniques, fertiliser, grain distribution, seed genetics, and computer & technology are made by them.
The agricultural industry is considered an essential industry in terms of how it contributes to so many economic factors of the world. However, finding a solution to all the challenges is essential and urgent.
The younger population of farmers are inspiring, purpose-driven and have a deep desire to do better for their future generations. Apart from that, agriculture is a very fulfilling and gratifying industry.
With the rising awareness and increasing education about different kinds of farming and agricultural activities, job opportunities in this sector are also increasing.
If you want to be involved in sustainable farming and agriculture, then you are at the right place. The team atAgricultural Recruitment Specialists can assist you in finding the perfect job for you. We have a strong reputation for bringing together the biggest names in agriculture from the UK, Europe, and beyond with up-and-coming farmers. You can also view our open positions online or learn more about our client services here.
Get in touch with us today.