Nothing more important than food security

| Foreign Markets |

According to experts, the population of our planet will have grown to 9 billion by 2050. Previous estimates used to predict that the speed of demographic growth would be smaller. However, the latest research and analysis suggests that at the end of the 21st century there will probably be 12 billion people in the world…

The dynamics of demographic growth

Europe is inhabited by 500 million people and the population of the continent is not expected to grow in the foreseeable future. It is in the other parts of the world where the demographic growth is rapid. Almost one billion people live in Africa today, but there will be 4 billion of African people by 2100! The pace of demographic change is a challenge for the whole humankind. There is going to be less and less land per person. Today the proportion is less than 0.21 hectare per person. We need to ask ourselves if it is going to be possible to feed the population of the globe using the limited acreage of land per capita.

Asia’s heyday

The situation in Asia is very interesting, with fundamental changes taking place. Until recently, as little as 4 kilograms of meat per person was consumed in China annually. Currently the figure has already reached 60 kg/year.

Additionally, China is a major exporter of fertilizers, while India is the largest importer of fertilizers in the world, with 14% of global international fertilizer trade going to India. Apart from being a leader in the industrial sector, Asia has also become an agricultural champion. The transformation is astonishingly rapid, and we ought to look at it in the context of food supply security.

Food security under threat

The European Union’s plans concerning policy on climate change need to be reconsidered. The policy has caused the elimination of heavy industry from the economies of Member States. The current global crisis has sparked a debate about the need of returning to industry-oriented economy. Let us just think what would happen if we eliminated all chemical companies from Europe?

Such scenario is difficult to imagine, but let us imagine having to face dilemmas such as the ones we now have concerning natural gas, but for example due to endangered supply of wheat. Food security may therefore become one of the key elements of geopolitical rivalry. The situation in North Africa in recent years does provide food for thought.

Based on a speech by the Vice Chairman of Grupa Azoty Zakłady Azotowe “Puławy” S.A. at the latest Eastern Economic Congress organized in Białystok on September 18th and 19th, 2014.