Prediction Agriculture and the Global Food Gap in the 21st Century
Mark Cooper, CEO Zenrun42, Inc.
The crop production research community faces a fundamental dilemma. The environmental and societal risks from the global food-gap are long-term problems that require near-term action. I define the global food-gap as the difference between the demands of the global population for food with the required nutritional properties and the capacity of agriculture to produce the required food in the needed places at the required time. For the 21st Century, there are clearly temporal and spatial dimensions. Surpluses in one region can compensate for shortfalls in other regions through international trade. Current predictions based on rates of population growth and rates of genetic improvement for our major crops suggest there are likely to be periods of the 21st Century where the global food-gap will challenge us. Given these risks what steps can the global research community take today to strategically manage the global food gap and the associated risks? Prediction methods applied to agricultural research priorities offer some new tools that will complement and increase the scale of our research capabilities. I will discuss new opportunities emerging in the field of prediction agriculture.