We need to support and enable the production systems that “are the most efficient in every location” of the world, said Christophe Pelletier, president of Happy Future Group Consulting, Lt., during the BASF Agricultural Solutions Media Summit last week.
A lot of change has to occur in order to feed more than 9 billion people by 2050. It is essential that big farmers succeed, he said, but it is also a necessity for knowledge transfer and learning by small landholders.
There is no way that U.S. farmers alone, even with all the technology and innovations of the future, are going to feed the whole world. Many world social and government considerations will be involved in who does produce the food, said Chris Mallett, corporate vice-president of research and development for Cargill, who was the keynote luncheon speaker at the BASF summit in Chicago.
Small landholders in undeveloped countries around the world must have an economic incentive so that they can make a living while providing their own family food needs. “There is a premium to keep smallholders on the land,” said Mallett. He explained the social impact of poverty and hunger forcing the rural populations to migrate to cities if there is no money from raising food to fill out their total food needs. This just increases malnutrition and food insecurity, he noted.
Mallett provided a list and explanation of what smallholders need to continue farming and improve productivity. The list includes what farmers in developed countries utilize. The most sophisticated technology isn’t part of this list but new technology compared to legacy/ancient methods are necessary.
The developing country growers need access to:
One very important factor for feeding the world is open world trading. That way farmers can grow the most appropriate crop for a climate and environmental conditions and the countries trade their crop production rather than try to grow everything themselves. Mallett said those growers and countries growing what is appropriate will have a “comparative advantage” to those growers and nations trying to grow crops inappropriate for a climate and environment.