In 1990, the population of the world was listed as 5,306,425,000, and by 2010, the population had risen to 6,895,889,000, a rise of 30%. There have been many reasons for the large increase in population, including improvement in agricultural productivity and advances in medical science.
The growth is expected to continue, with a United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs report suggesting that the global population will reach 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion by 2050, and 11.2 billion by 2100. The ever-increasing population of the world leads to a continually rising demand for food, and given that there is already a struggle to provide enough quality food for everyone, this represents a challenge for the agricultural industry.
An issue going forward for the agriculture industry is the fact that Africa is expected to be responsible for over half of the growth in the world’s population between 2015 and 2050. Countries such as Angola, Burundi, Malawi, Mali, Somalia, Uganda and Zambia are all expected to see their population rise by at least a factor of five by 2100. With some of these countries being the poorest in the world, there is a serious challenge to combat famine and prevent hunger and malnutrition impacting on people in these nations.
It is not as if population growth is the only factor that is impacting on the agriculture industry. Climate change, big businesses driving down prices for farmers, and alternative foodstuffs all represent challenges that the agriculture industry has to overcome in the modern era.
Climate change is having an impact on agriculture
With respect to climate change, aspects such as changing levels of rainfall, alterations in average temperatures, and climate extremes have already impacted on crop production and expected returns in many countries. Add in issues relating to pests and diseases and changes to ozone concentrations at ground level and there are many issues for the agricultural industry to contend with.
Steps are being taken to combat the impact of climate change, and technology is at the forefront. Automation and sensors provide a convenient way to cover more area and obtain insight into the quality of the land, produce, or cattle. Quite often, these elements are being used together with sensor feedback triggering a response from automated devices to care for the land or cattle. There has also been a movement towards the use of agriculture robots, which are working with ploughing, weeding, irrigation, planting, and other jobs that can be undertaken simply.
Crop protection is a hugely important aspect of the agricultural sector, and great strides are being made in increasing crop output and improving its quality and consistency. Firms such as UPL Limited, led by experienced professionals such as Jai Shroff, have helped farmers around the world to generate sustained development in their output.
From improved tires on tractors to connected networks monitoring the movement of livestock or the growth of plants, the wide range of technological improvements in the agricultural industry suggests that great steps are being taken to combat the challenges posed by the growing population of the world.