University College Dublin

UCD Institute of Food and Health

Feeding the world in 2050

About one billion citizens go to bed hungry each night with one child dying every 8 seconds directly from malnutrition. This failure to provide the basic right to food to one sixth of the world’s citizens is going to get worse. Firstly, the global population will rise by 50% by the year 2050 with an additional 3 billion new mouths to feed. Most of this growth in global population will take place in Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia where already we have the highest concentration of hunger. Moreover, by 2050, it is predicted that climate change will cause agricultural output to fall by as much as 25% in these regions which will be exacerbated by a serious shortage of water for agricultural output. Finally, with the growth of disposable income in countries such as China and India, the cost of basic commodities will rise dramatically, the effect of which has already started leading to reduced food security in many parts of the world. Allied to this, the rising demand for biofuels will divert arable land away from human food production. 

Solutions to these problems require global action, and to that extent, global food security must be given a high policy priority by both the Irish government and the European Union. Ireland has a proud tradition in the provision of aid to developing countries and has shown clear leadership in this area, most recently through the report of its Hunger Task Force.

UCD, uniquely among Irish universities, connects agriculture with the food chain right through to human nutrition and thus is in a strong position to take the lead in stimulating policy makers to consider the issue of global food security and the role which Ireland can play in that area. This symposium is intended to contribute to that process.