Connecting Farm, City and Technology

A profound revolution in agriculture and food production is unfolding, just when we need one. With the global population expected to soar by more than two billion by 2050, and more than 800 million people worldwide undernourished today, the world needs to double food production — perhaps even triple production, according to John Deere’s Chairman and CEO and Council on Competitiveness Chairman Emeritus Samuel Allen.

But much of the world’s arable land is already in use, and the remaining land has serious soil and terrain constraints. Globally, agriculture accounts for 70 percent of water withdrawals, and consumes large amounts of energy, resources for which there are significant concerns about resource stress and sustainability. Moreover, we are seeing the largest wave of urban growth in history. Urban dwelling is expected to increase by 60 percent by 2050, from 4 billion to 6.3 billion people, almost two-thirds of the world’s population, with most of this growth taking place in the developing world.

Urban communities face the challenge of feeding their populations and connecting their food markets to sustainable agricultural production of high productivity, especially in the
developing world where population pressure is rising.

The Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils’ (GFCC) report, Connecting Farm, City and Technology to Transform Urban Food Ecosystems for the Developing World, shows how a mix of new technologies — from digital connectivity, sensors and the Internet of Things, to blockchain, biotechnology and renewable energy — can integrate to create sustainable food ecosystems for the world’s urban areas.