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
Plants need protection
Progress through innovation

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. So only 0.5 percent of the Earth’s surface can be used for growing food crops.

Did you know?
Merely 3 percent of the Earth’s
surface is used as arable land.

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. 

The time it takes for a new crop protection product to reach the market, from laboratory testing to registration, is about 11 years.
Source: Phillips Mc Dougall 2016

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 development of a new crop protection product costs US$ 286 million on average.
Source: Phillips Mc Dougall 2016

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 dialogue.

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