As our worldwide population continues to rise, some estimates suggest it can reach a lining 10 billion civilization by 2050. To feed that countless people, us will require to develop record amounts of food.

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The range of the difficulty is epic. With just 30 periods of planting and also harvest left before the populace could hit that 10 billion figure, it’s clean that agriculture as we recognize it has to change, if we are to have any hope the feeding the planet.

Over the previous six months i’ve travelled anywhere Europe speak to pioneering scientists and engineers, an international thought leaders, savvy retailers and also of course, knowledgeable, sturdy farmers, because that the civilization News and Future series, follow the Food. The aim is to study a truck-load of issues roughly food supply and also find part potential services for our future.

This much-needed change – of no just farming but our whole food supply chain – is currently under way. Right here are 5 solutions the could aid us obtain ready to feed the 10 billion.

Before friend scream at your screen about robots acquisition our jobs, listen me out. Many farmers say the time in the field, satellite in a tractor because that hours, is not simply repetitive and boring, but robs lock of time they can be safety on other vital jobs they have to do to manage their business.

The tiny Robot company has created three, um, small robots: Tom, Dick and Harry. Tom bring away geotagged pictures of tree in the fiel, which are sent ago for analysis. The leads to dick venturing the end to spray – through precision – separation, personal, instance crops, removed the require for ceiling spraying fields, and also avoiding unnecessary polluting run-off and saving resources. Take care of is the planting robot, finish with a robotic drill. Together, they carry out the monotonous tasks conventionally done through a person – with higher accuracy and less waste.

One reason small, cell phone robots can be an excellent news for farming is the they have the right to replace a most the work done by big conventional tractors. Ordinary tractors space heavy. When they roll throughout the field they compact the soil. That crushes the gaps inside, reduce the size of the pores that hold air and also water. This compaction considerably affects the soil’s capacity to hold onto water and also so a crop’s capacity to take the up, along with the nutrients.

Using smaller, lighter robots to perform the jobs at this time performed by tractors can hugely aid reduce these issues. Now, a tiny robot can’t traction large, hefty machinery prefer a tiller or cultivator. However they’re no looking to just repeat traditional farming methods.


One the the most shocking facts ns learned is the sheer amount the good, edible food the gets wasted. According to the unified Nations, “An estimated 3rd of every food created ends up rotting in the bins the consumers and also retailers, or spoiling early to poor transportation and also harvesting practices.”

One country with a huge waste problem is the Netherlands – the second biggest exporter of farming products (by value) ~ the US. The sheer range of the circulation of food v the Netherlands means waste is a large issue. The Dutch federal government has pledged to become the first European nation to halve the quantity of discarded food by 2030.

There are countless brilliant ideas and also initiatives hope to help, but one strategy that I thought was excellent was making use of apps prefer “Too good To Go”. This app enables retailers to transition food destined for the bin – yet that’s still perfectly edible – to customers at a diminished cost.

The bananas ns eat at residence in the UK might have travelled from Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica or a field also further afield. To get to me lock will have been choose green, probably spent 40 days on a boat, and then eventually ended up in the supermarket where, in order to be picked from the shelf, they need to be a perfect yellow, through no black color spots or brown patches. That takes incredible, mindful management come achieve.

If a banana ripens too beforehand in the process, it releases ethylene gas, i m sorry triggers ripening in various other bananas. It only takes one rogue ripe banana come take down 15% of a shipment. It is a huge pile of wasted bananas.

What some researchers in Norwich, UK, are doing is modifying the genome of the bananas – modifying specific letters in their DNA – so the they develop far much less ethylene. This might lead to less wastage en route and extend the banana’s shelf life in the supermarket. In some parts of the world, this could translate into real it is provided chains. But in various other places, such as the EU, gene-edited plants are really tightly regulated with a prolonged approval process.


Spending time v farmers, producers, retailers and also consumers, I conveniently saw how our present ways that growing, processing and also selling food just aren’t scalable or sustainable.

The only way we deserve to feed 10 billion people by 2050 is if the farming and food industries become much much more sustainable. And also that requires changes to the entirety model that growing, processing, transporting, storing and also selling. It means a most businesses and also governments must take action. But so too execute we all.

Whether it is going to the market and choosing the most “ugly” veg for dinner, encouraging supermarkets to change their labelling to show us the carbon or water footprint of our food (so you can select an avocado that’s used much less of our promptly depleting new water it is provided to grow), or using brand-new tech to protect against waste, yes so lot we have the right to be doing to worth our food and value that producers.

Building a people fed by sustainable farming is a daunting task. However farmers, scientists, engineers, retailers, organization leaders and also governments space all coming with each other to ensure we have sufficient food in the future. And also I will definitely be thinking around what alters I have the right to make top top an separation, personal, instance level to sign up with the effort.


Greg Foot is a moderator of the people News TV collection Follow the Food. These are Greg Foot"s an individual views and reflections.

This short article is component of a brand-new multimedia series, follow the Food by Future in teamwork with people News. Follow the Food investigates how farming is responding come the profound difficulties of climate change, ecological degradation and a growing worldwide population.

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Follow the Food traces arising answers to these problems – both high-tech and low-tech, neighborhood and an international – indigenous farmers, growers and also researchers throughout six continents.