It is hard to imagine life without food – in fact, it is impossible. And although many people don't recognize it, there is big business behind getting food from the farm to your kitchen table. The agribusiness sector is a broad industry covering the entire business of food production ranging from planting to the distribution and selling of the end product. New technologies and global trends are changing the way these businesses operate. The Agribusiness Blog Series will cover many of these topics including organic farming, new sales methods, and the new uses of agriculture products.
There are currently many overlapping global trends that are causing the prices of many grains to sky rocket. At the center of this price increase is the explosive growth of the world population combined with the increasing wealth in emerging markets. This is not only increasing the number of consumers demanding grains, but also increasing the amount of grains demanded per person. Furthermore, as citizens become wealthier, they tend to demand more protein which requires massive amounts of grains for feeding.
The industry’s main response to this spike in demand has been to create large commercial farms and use genetically modified seeds to increase efficiencies and overall crop yield. However, there has been a backlash against these mega-farms by people who think they are hurting independent farmers and the new seeds could be harmful to your health. Although this may be true, the world is running out of arable land which means the demand must be made up through increasing yields. Barron reports, “The world will have 9.1 billion people by 2050, up from 6.8 billion in 2009… By 2050, the organization [U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization] forecasts, the world will have only 5% more arable land than it did at the start of this decade.”
Agribusiness is clearly a very important and exciting industry. If you would like to learn more on the topic make sure to check into the globalEDGE blog this week for more in-depth information!