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Visualizing a Rapidly Changing Global Diet

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Visualizing a Rapidly Changing Global Diet

Visualizing a Rapidly Changing Global Diet

By 2050, there will be two billion more mouths to feed than today.

The increase in food supply required to feed this many people is difficult to fathom, but even that would just be scratching the surface of our future food needs.

Today’s infographic, which comes from Raconteur, makes it clear that the challenge of feeding the global population is actually magnitudes greater. The global diet is changing rapidly in both size and composition, especially in developing countries in Africa and Asia.

The Global Diet

Right now, the average person consumes close to 3,000 calories per day – with the lion’s share coming from grains such as wheat, corn, or rice.

FoodAvg. Daily Calories per Person (Global, 2011)% of Diet
Grain1,29645.2%
Sugar & Fat57019.9%
Produce32711.4%
Meat2729.5%
Dairy & Eggs2358.2%
Other1705.9%
Total Diet2,870100%

However, the amount of food consumed by each person is growing around the world.

Between 2015 and 2030, it’s estimated that on a global basis, each person will be consuming an extra 110 calories per day.

Meat as a Staple

Increasing wealth and rising populations are key drivers for meat consumption in developing countries.

In China, which is already the world’s largest pork market, consumption of beef is expected to nearly double in the period between 2000 and 2026. In Sub-Saharan Africa, numbers are similar.

While beef is already extremely popular in many high-income economies, it is not the most sustainable food to produce. Beef needs more water and land per pound than almost any other protein source – but that’s not stopping people around the world in developing economies from eating it in greater amounts.

Meanwhile, in India, about one-third of the population is vegetarian – yet the country is turning into a major driver of new meat demand.

Since 2009, India’s annual disposable income has improved by 95 percent and meat consumption has increased by nearly 50 percent during the same time period.

– Anastasia Alieva, Head of Fresh Food Research at Euromonitor International

Outside the Box

To meet new demand for food, scientists are starting to think outside the box.

For an in-depth look at new technology envisioned for food production – including automated vertical farms, aquaponics, in vitro meats, and artificial animal products – make sure to visit the following infographic on the future of food.

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Agriculture

Here’s Why the Amazon is So Important for Global Food Security

The Amazon rainforest plays a critical role in supporting crop growth by stabilizing the climate and balancing water cycles.

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Amazons flying river cycle
The following content is sponsored by Brazil Potash

Why is the Amazon Rainforest Important for Food Security?

The Amazon rainforest is home to 400 billion trees and covers 6.7 million square kilometers, but the ‘Earth’s lungs’, as it is commonly referred to, is so much more than that.

Aside from being a key carbon sink, it also plays a critical role in supporting crop growth by stabilizing the climate and balancing water cycles.

In this infographic, our sponsor Brazil Potash looks at how the Amazon regulates rainfall and temperature and how crop yields can be optimized. Let’s dive in.

Rainfall as a Primary Water Source

Flying rivers” are air currents that carry enormous amounts of water vapor over thousands of kilometers. These airborne rivers are responsible for influencing regional and global weather patterns, including rainfall. 

The Amazon flying river cycle begins with water evaporating from the Atlantic Ocean. Wind currents then transport these vapors across the continent, exchanging moisture with the Amazon rainforest through evapotranspiration. Finally, these aerial rivers distribute the moisture as rain.

The trees in the Amazon rainforest release around 20 billion tonnes of water into the atmosphere daily—this is more water than the Mississippi River discharges in 13 months.

Because only around 6% of cropland in Brazil is irrigated, the region relies heavily on this rainfall as a primary water source to support crop growth that feeds both local and global communities.

Temperature Regulation

The Amazon also absorbs billions of tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year through photosynthesis. By absorbing this CO2, it helps regulate temperatures and lessen the effects of climate change.

According to NASA research, the cumulative effects of climate change, accelerated by deforestation, may result in the loss of up to 11 million hectares of agricultural land in Brazil by the 2030s. 

The continued sustainable production of Brazil’s crops is essential to food security, but deforestation can harm these efforts.

How to Grow More With Less

Brazil hosts the largest section of the Amazon rainforest at around 60%. The country is also one of the world’s largest exporters of agricultural goods. 

It’s essential for global food security and for climate change that crop yields in Brazil are increased in areas already allocated for agriculture, instead of clearing new areas in the Amazon rainforest. 

A recent study highlights a significant yield gap in Brazil’s primary export, soybeans. 

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A yield gap is the difference between actual crop yield and potential crop yield.

RegionYieldYield Gap
Cerrado62%38%
Amazon69%31%
Atlantic Forest76%24%
Pampa92%8%

The following steps proposed could optimize land usage:

  1. Increase crop yields: This can be done in part by optimizing and increasing fertilizer use. Local fertilizer suppliers are essential to this by providing affordable and accessible fertilizer year-round.
  2. Double Crop: Continuing to grow a second crop of corn on soybean fields between seasons to optimize land usage. Additional fertilizer is essential to maintain the soil’s nutrients after harvests.
  3. Raise cattle on smaller pastures: By streamlining the space provided for cattle, additional cropland can be added to support food for both people and livestock.

The Role of Brazil Potash

Brazil Potash aims to support the preservation of the Amazon rainforest by working with farmers to increase crop yields and improve the quality and quantity of food grown, without the need for land expansion.

By keeping farmers informed of fertilizer’s benefits and supporting a more stable supply of local fertilizer, Brazil Potash will continue supporting farming communities for generations to come.

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Click here to learn more about sustainable crop growth in the Amazon and Brazil Potash.

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