How are we going to feed 8 billion people?
There is a great scarcity of suitable food production space. For optimum production and growth plants have specific requirements of their growing environment. The ideal mix of water, light, nutrition, CO2 and temperature is only available to a limited extent in real life nature and only in some parts of the year. Globally only some of the climate zones are suitable for plant production whereas the world population and the relating demand for food is increasing.
Raw materials are also scarce and there is a large burden on the environment. The market continuously asks for higher requirements of the production process. Besides being tasty and healthy, products must come from a ‘good home’. Ornamental horticulture and food production must be more sustainable, with a minimum use of raw materials/inputs and without disturbing the environment. An increasing conscience of corporate social responsibility is forcing the sector to further reduce energy and water consumption. The CO2 emissions per unit product must be drastically reduced just as the use of crop protection products, light emissions for assimilation lighting and the burden on the environment caused by transport and other logistic matters.
Plantlab and its partners believe in the unique advantages of the concept. ‘Just-in-time’ means optimum coordination between demand and supply. ‘Local for local’ means the cost of transport of food over the world is reduced as well as related CO2 emissions because the extreme long transportation routes can be diminished. Meanwhile there are more than 300 cities in the world with over 1 million inhabitants, all dependent on fresh food that sometimes come from thousands of kilometers away and is on the road for days! This leaves the question: ‘How fresh is my food that I eat?’. Developing countries struggle with too much sunlight and a shortage of water, a combination that provides perspective for the application of solar panels in combination with multilayered nurseries with LED lighting. Further, all over the world there is a growing need for “food” instead of “filling” because however bizarre at various levels, malnutrition is an increasing problem in both Western and developing countries.
The details do not speak for themselves. Sources from many angles provide facts that can’t be ignored:
“Food Economics and Consumer Choice: Why agriculture needs technology to help meet a growing demand for safe, nutritious and affordable food” (pdf). ‘This seminal paper provides facts, figures and rationale to demonstrate why a growing global population needs to have access to the best technologies in order to be able to feed the world not only today, but in the future.’
How Can We Feed the World? Presentation
Our conclusion is: humanity cannot continue with the emphasis on traditional methods of growing crops. The scarcity of water will have a large say in this. With Plantlab we can make a contribution by providing researchers worldwide with the latest research facilities for plant production and by developing Plant Production Units and knowledge in order to produce high-quality food in the short and long term.
Our greatest drive is the need to do something about the worldwide and fundamental problem of malnutrition. We want and can make a contribution with our products and services. The World Health Organization and all kinds of other organizations indicate how the change will have to take place. There is an inspiring and serving role set aside in this agricultural reform for us.