Can the World Produce 70% More Food by 2050?

The global population is rapidly increasing, and by 2050, it is estimated that there will be over 10 billion people on Earth. This poses a significant challenge in terms of food production and ensuring that everyone has access to an adequate and nutritious diet. The current level of food production is not sufficient to meet the needs of this growing population, and if we do not address these challenges, it could lead to food shortages, environmental degradation, and other detrimental consequences.

In this article, we will explore the challenges associated with feeding more than 10 billion people by 2050 and discuss potential solutions and strategies to overcome these challenges. We will draw insights from various reputable sources, including the World Resources Institute (WRI) and scientific studies, to provide a comprehensive understanding of this complex issue.


Addressing the Triple Gap

In comprehending the magnitude of the challenge, it is imperative to grasp three significant gaps that necessitate attention: the food gap, the land gap, and the gap in greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation. The food gap pertains to the deficit between current food production and the amount required to sustain the projected 2050 population. To meet escalating demand, it's estimated that we must generate 56 percent more crop calories than those produced in 2010. The land gap signifies the additional agricultural land area necessary to satisfy future food needs, amounting to nearly 600 million hectares of cropland. The GHG mitigation gap refers to the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions needed from agricultural production to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius


Closing the Food Gap: A Four-Course Menu of Solutions

Addressing the challenges of feeding more than 10 billion people by 2050 requires a multi-faceted approach. The WRI has identified 22 solutions that need to be simultaneously applied to close the food, land, and greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation gaps. These solutions are organized into a four-course menu, each focusing on a specific aspect of sustainable food production.


First Course: Reduce Growth in Demand for Food and Other Agricultural Products

Reduce food loss and waste

Approximately one-quarter of the food produced for human consumption goes uneaten. Reducing food loss and waste can significantly contribute to closing the food gap. Actions such as measuring food waste, setting reduction targets, improving food storage, and streamlining expiration labels can help in this regard.


Shift to healthier, more sustainable diets

Consumption of resource-intensive animal-based foods, such as beef, contributes to the food gap and environmental degradation. Encouraging a shift towards healthier and more sustainable plant-based diets can help reduce the demand for animal-based foods. Improving the marketing of plant-based foods, developing meat substitutes, and implementing policies favouring plant-based diets are potential strategies.


Avoid competition from bioenergy for food crops and land

Bioenergy production using food or energy crops can further exacerbate the food gap and lead to deforestation. Eliminating biofuel subsidies and not considering bioenergy as "carbon-neutral" in renewable energy policies can help mitigate this issue.


Second Course: Improve food production within the available resources

Increase livestock and pasture productivity

Livestock production accounts for a significant portion of agricultural land use and greenhouse gas emissions. Increasing livestock and pasture productivity through improved animal care, breeding, and rotational grazing can enhance food production without expanding agricultural land.


Increase Fish Supply

Sustainable fisheries management is crucial for maintaining fish stocks and ensuring a continuous supply of fish. Implementing effective fisheries management practices, such as regulating fishing quotas and protecting critical habitats, can help sustainably increase fish supply.


Improve crop breeding

Enhancing crop breeding efforts can lead to higher crop yields. Investing in conventional breeding and new advances in molecular biology can help develop crops with improved genetic traits, leading to increased productivity.


Improve soil and water management

Degraded soils and inadequate water management practices can limit crop yields. Improving soil and water management, such as through agroforestry and rainwater harvesting, can boost agricultural productivity and reduce the need for expanding agricultural land.


Plant existing cropland more frequently

Maximizing the use of existing cropland by reducing fallow land and implementing double cropping techniques can increase food production without the need for additional land resources.


Adapt to climate change

Climate change poses a significant threat to food production. Adapting to climate change through the development of climate-resilient crops, water conservation systems, and changes in production systems can help ensure food security in the face of changing climatic conditions.


Third Course: Protect and Restore Natural Ecosystems

Reduce deforestation and land conversion

Agriculture is a major driver of deforestation, leading to the loss of crucial natural ecosystems. Reducing deforestation and land conversion can help protect biodiversity, preserve carbon sinks, and maintain ecosystem services that are essential for sustainable food production.


Restore degraded lands

Restoring degraded lands can enhance their productivity and contribute to increased food production. Implementing practices like reforestation and soil rehabilitation can help rehabilitate degraded lands and improve their agricultural potential.


Fourth Course: Reduce GHG Emissions from Agricultural Production

Improve fertilizer use efficiency

Excessive use of fertilizers contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and environmental pollution. Enhancing fertilizer use efficiency through precise application and the use of alternative nutrient sources can help reduce emissions while maintaining crop productivity.


Implement climate-smart agricultural practices

Adopting climate-smart agricultural practices, such as conservation agriculture and agroforestry, can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production.  These practices promote sustainable land management and enhance carbon sequestration.


Promote renewable energy adoption

Transitioning to renewable energy sources in agricultural processes, such as using solar power for irrigation or biogas production, can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with agricultural activities.


UjuziKilimo: Cultivating Food Security, County by County

UjuziKilimo is leading an agricultural revolution, teaming up with the World Bank to transform farming practices on a county-by-county basis. Through cutting-edge technology SoilPal and FarmSuite, UjuziKilimo equips farmers with real-time weather insights, soil health tracking, and personalized crop recommendation. Already making a significant impact across six counties—Kakamega, Kisii, Homabay, West Pokot, Nakuru, and Kajiado—it has positively influenced over 10,000 farmers. This breakthrough technology holds the potential to elevate crop yields, reduce water and fertilizer usage, and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. By embracing UjuziKilimo's advanced solutions, we can play a vital role in closing the food gap, minimizing land usage, and combatting climate change head-on.



Feeding more than 10 billion people by 2050 is a significant challenge that requires a comprehensive and integrated approach. By addressing the challenges associated with increasing demand and insufficient supply, implementing sustainable agricultural practices, protecting natural ecosystems, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we can work towards achieving food security for the growing global population.

Through the application of innovative technologies like SoilPal and FarmSuite, farmers can leverage data and precision farming techniques to optimize their production processes and contribute to sustainable food production. It is crucial for governments, organizations, and individuals to collaborate and invest in solutions that address the complex interplay between food security, environmental sustainability, and socio-economic development. By taking action today, we can create a future where everyone has access to safe, nutritious, and sustainable food.

Farmers Voices