Factors that determine world food needs are (1) population, (2) per capita market demand, and (3) income levels and distribution. Crops furnish the greatest share of the world's human food supply. Crop production projected to 1985 shows increase in wheat, rice, and maize, and limited increases in soybeans and dry beans. The outlook for animal products (meat, milk, eggs), though less predictable, indicates potential increases are possible through improved feed conversion and reproductive efficiency.
Limiting factors in future food output include environmental, economic, and industrial forces such as land, energy, and technological development.
For 1985, worldwide human food production from crops and animals is projected to balance reasonably well with required gross amounts at present levels and patterns of consumption. Calories are projected to be in shorter supply than protein. Imbalances will occur among regions, with critical deficits expected to occure in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. North America and Oceania show projected surpluses of both calories and protein.
Beyond 1985, the food situation is more difficult to assess. Key factors are world population increase and the amount and quality of the world's undeveloped arable land. The more intensive the food system becomes, the more vulnerable it will be to the less controllable parameters such as genetic failures, diseases, global weather disturbances, and sudden crucial input shortages. It behooves both developed and developing countries to provide a margin of safety through technological development and food reserves.
world food needs, food demand, population