By Jabeen Ahmad, 2021-2024 FFAR Fellow
Food insecurity is a concern now and in the future. Globally, the United Nations estimates that about 690 million people are food insecure. By the year 2050, the world population is expected to reach nine billion people, requiring food supplies to double. While the demand for food grows, fertile, arable land is decreasing and extreme weather events are increasing, making the task of feeding everyone more difficult. With climate change, the problem is further exacerbated as pest and pathogen ranges expand and habitable zones for crops change. Plants need to be stronger and hardier. At the same time, we need to implement more sustainable crop management practices that lessen chemical inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. The challenge seems intractable.