World has less than 10 weeks of food stocks left
THERE is less than 10 weeks supply of food in stock on the planet as extreme weather has reduced global food production in recent years despite soaring demand.
Seventy percent more food will be needed by 2050, but it must be produced without a devastating surge in greenhouse gas emissions, World Bank expert Dr Juergen Voegele told the Agricultural Science Association conference in Naas.
"If we continue with a 'business as usual' strategy, agriculture will account for 70pc of global carbon emissions by 2050 compared to 25pc at present. This is a devastating prospect," he said.
"Huge innovation in farming is needed to combat climate change such as using algae which can combine dirty water with sunlight to produce up to 1,000 times more biomass per hectare than any other crop."
However Ireland's grassland-based system gave it a big advantage.
"Ireland is way ahead of the curve in terms of its sustainability systems in agriculture. So there's no question in my mind that the prospects for Irish agriculture are very good," said Mr Voegele who is director of agricultural global practice at the World Bank.
Rising world population will drive food demand over coming years but volatility will discourage farm investment.
"Over the past 15 years, extreme weather conditions in different parts of the world have reduced global food production by around 3pc. There is now less than 10 weeks supply of food in stock on the planet," he said.