The Future of Agriculture and Food


The agricultural and food industry is facing huge challenges. It has to feed a rapidly growing world population while at the same time ensuring the best-possible conservation of our scarce natural resources. Increasingly extreme weather conditions such as droughts and flooding, limited arable land and changing dietary habits make this task even more demanding.

The majority of people affected by hunger live in rural areas of developing countries, for example in Asia or Africa. However, the factors that have a negative impact on food security are global rather than regional.

What Farmers Contribute

While agriculture plays a less important role economically in industrialized countries, it is one of the most important segments of the economy in developing countries. Smallholders play a key role in food production.

Worldwide, smallholders meet approximately 50 percent

of the demand for food; while in Asia
and Sub-Saharan Africa this figure
is approximately 80 percent.

Source: FAO 2014

For tomorrow’s agriculture, we need new approaches aimed at increasing both productivity and environmental protection.

The Future of food: the 5 big challenges
The world’s population is growing
Arable land is precious
Pflanzen brauchen Schutz
Progress through innovation
Digital fields

Arable Land Is Precious

The amount of arable land available for food production per person is limited and constantly decreasing. This is due to population growth, but also factors such as urbanization, erosion and desertification.

Did you know?
Merely 3 percent of the Earth’s
surface is used as arable land. Only
18 percent of that – or 0.5 percent
of the Earth’s surface – can be
used for growing food crops.

Enough Food for Everyone?

Strong population growth has led to an increased demand for food. By the middle of the century, the demand for agricultural products will be 50 percent higher on average than in 2013.

An increase of 112 percent is forecast for the Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia regions (Source: FAO 2017).

The World’s Population Is Growing - Consumption Needs Resources

There are already more than 7 billion people on Earth today, and this figure will rise to almost 10 billion by the middle of this century. This means that the demand for food will rise significantly.

The dietary habits of consumers in industrialized countries necessitate large amounts of resources and cause climate-damaging greenhouse gases. 

Hunger and abundance
Worldwide, 795 million people suffer from malnutrition.
Hunger is a major problem, particularly
in developing countries. The populations in industrialized nations, by contrast, are increasingly affected by obesity: in the period from 1980 to
2014, the number of obese adults* in these countries more than doubled to over 600 million.

Source: WHO 2016, Welthungerhilfe 2016
* Obesity: BMI of 30 or higher

For A World Without Hunger

Creating a Sustainable Future

Agriculture needs innovation: the challenges of tomorrow cannot be resolved with yesterday’s methods. Investment in research and development is more important than ever before, in order to make agriculture more efficient and also more sustainable at the same time. Digital solutions, crop protection and modern breeding methods will all play an important role in this process, as will targeted support for smallholders.

The time it takes for a new crop protection product to reach the market, from laboratory testing to registration, is about 11 years. The development costs amount to US$ 286 million on average.

Source: Phillips Mc Dougall 20160

Bayer has therefore commissioned the Handelsblatt Research Institute to produce this beneath highlighted brochure. It contains a wealth of information about nutrition and agriculture that was derived from acknowledged sources and may serve as the foundation for a constructive dialog.

Learn more facts and figures regarding the challenges of modern agriculture and our vision of creating a sustainable future.

Cover The Future of Agriculture and Food

The Future of Agriculture and Food
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„Fields of the World“

Explore the fascinating world of agriculture from the comfort of your own computer. Take a virtual tour of fields around the world, watching farmers at work, observing crop plants up close and experiencing the forces of nature.

Fields of the World

Global Challenges to Food Security

Join us: explore the challenges of feeding a growing world population and be inspired by the way we help farmers increase their productivity while preserving the environment for future generations.
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