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More Mouths Means More Food Needed

Posted on 10/04/2017

During the last 25 years, I have seen volatility in soft commodity prices, driven by supply and demand. What has been alarming however, is the frequency of these changes since 2010, which has created even more fragility.

The world has moved into a geopolitical tussle, with populism at one end and globalisation at the other. These forces will continue to affect the prices of many food products - as is evident in the European potato market, where we have witnessed high raw material prices four times in the last six years alone.

The stark reality of the world's food supply has been brought to light over the past decade; we all remember the global food shortage of 2007, which resulted in sharp price rises and riots across many countries. It has been estimated that over the next 40 years there will be an additional two billion mouths to feed as the global population increases, meaning food demand is forecasted to increase by a staggering 70%.

Climate change, population growth and urbanization are just some of the factors affecting global food production. With a wealthier population, comes a changing diet - higher incomes in emerging markets means those consumers are demanding richer foods such as meat, dairy and more carbohydrates. An example of this is in China; in 1961, the average person there ate 3kg of meat a year, today they eat around 54kg.  

Whilst growing more crops is the obvious answer, the rise in urbanization is reducing the land available for cultivation. Pair that with the increase in biofuels and we see that land available for food production is reducing at an alarming rate.

At Aviko, we are working to combat this by increasing productivity across the supply chain, including hi-tech precision farming techniques. We are putting greater emphasis on farming education programmes, irrigation systems, fertilizers and seeds that can resist harsher climates whilst trying to increase crop yields.

The challenge for global food sustainability has just begun, and with over nine billion mouths to feed soon, it's more important than ever for the industry to invest in food production through further innovation and improved collaboration.

I trust you will find the Q1 newsletter informative - I am always happy to receive any feedback/suggestions/ideas you may have, so please feel free to get in touch with me directly at m.essa@aviko.com or through our customer service centre at ukdesk@aviko.nl

Mohammed Essa,
Commercial Director
Aviko UK & Ireland

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