Collaboration will help feed a hungry world

Oct 6, 2011

CDFA secretary Karen Ross and public relations executive Kerry Tucker suggested in an op-ed published yesterday in AgAlert that the best way to meet future international opportunities and challenges in agriculture is with a collaborative and harmonious industry.

The article included information about anticipated global demographic changes from the UC Agricultural Issues Center. According to the AIC, China will more than triple its per capita income by 2030, from $2,802 to $10,718. This kind of wealth tends to result in first-step dietary adjustments that include more consumption of meat, dairy products, fruits, vegetables and nuts.

India's numbers start smaller, from $965 per capita last year to $3,309 in 2030, but its population will continue to grow by 1 percent per year long after China's population peaks in about 2030, according to Daniel Sumner, director of the AIC. As a result, India's population will stay young and energetic for years to come, with a growth rate that could soon overtake China.

Because California farmers and ranchers are located in one of only five regions on earth capable of large-scale production of Mediterranean specialty crops, they are well positioned to prosper in the changing international marketplace.

However, say Ross and Tucker, tension between proponents of large- and small-scale production can get in the way of the cooperation required to meet the food demands of the future.

"Regardless of size or farming practices, we need a continuum of farms and ranches operating as productively as possible while protecting our precious natural resources and the environment. There is truly a place for all in California agriculture," they said.

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Dan Sumner said India's population will continue to grow long after China's population peaks.

By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist