Central challenge is to achieve sustainability, affordability for growing population
Representatives of the global grain trade have heard a call from the International Feed Industry Federation for closer cooperation between the various parts of the agricultural chain on how to meet the projected increase in world demand for animal protein over the coming decades.
Federation executive director Alexandra de Athayde told the 2012 annual conference of the International Grains Council that the central challenge will be to achieve sustainable and affordable supplies of feed and food for a world population that the United Nations projects will reach 9 billion by 2050. Estimates of the future demand vary widely, she added. From projections by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, world animal protein requirements in 2050 will be about 899 million metric tons per year or almost triple the 309.5 million metric tons consumed in 2010. But if the average annual growth rate in consumption to 2050 matched that of the past 30 years, the amount needed would be much higher — six times the 2010 level.
The feed and grain sectors should be working together better on defining the true scale of future needs, said De Athayde. Their interests are already closely interlinked, given that one-third of all cereals used worldwide go into the manufacturing of animal feeds. There are vital questions that everyone should address, not the least of which is whether there will be enough grain supplies to support considerably larger livestock production in 2050 and where those grains could be produced.