How will we fill 9 billion bowls?

 

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This new in-depth report by Thomson Reuters raises the immense issue of how the world will feed the 9 billion people, or more, that are predicted to inhabit the planet by 2050.  Featuring the USDA Under Secretary and Chief Scientist, Cathie Woteki, along with a wealth of top scientists and experts in the field, this report provides in-depth coverage of some of the innovations that can help provide solutions, as well as highlighting the highly complex existing problems in the sector.

 

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Open data is high on the list of priorities and demonstrates in this report its power to transform lives, so GODAN features prominently. A short video with Kevin Frediani provides a compelling case for open data Why data is critical to sustainable agriculture.  The report is packed with high-quality case studies of the innovations currently underway in transforming world agriculture to meet the needs of a future population and also reveals some of the key background to the sector that includes an analysis of the top global patents for staple foods – with the US and China firmly in the lead with a total of 68% of patents, mainly in soybean, corn and rice, and the contentious question posed as to whether China will be the global bread basket of the future. A startling infographic elsewhere in the report explores the correlation between world food and oil prices – and the severity of riots.

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But the scale and diversity of both possible and potential new solutions is surprising.  From the story Enter the raptors about the use of drones in precision agriculture, to solutions like FungiAlert, the soil sensors that aim to tackle some of the $7bn annual damage from Phytopthora each year, the story is one of optimism in the scale of innovation explored.  More data-oriented reports include the Kris Carlson video on DataShare, a product providing information to farmers via mobile phones to Raptor Maps as a tool in precision agriculture, this image and information rich report is worth an in-depth read from beginning to end to share in understanding this story of hope in dealing with the problems in world agriculture and nutrition as they unfold.

 

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