The European Alliance on Agricultural knowledge for Development

The future of food and agriculture: Trends and challengesFood and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Rome, 2016
180 pages 

22 February 2017. This FAO report sheds some light on the nature of the challenges that agriculture and food systems are facing now and throughout the 21st century, and provides some insights as to what is at
stake and what needs to be done. What emerges is that “business as usual” is no longer an option but calls for major transformations in agricultural systems, in rural economies and in how we manage our natural resources.

The report was undertaken for the quadrennial review of the FAO Strategic Framework and in preparation for the Organization’s Medium-Term Plan 2018-2021.

The purpose of this report is not to present a menu of solutions, but rather to increase understanding of the nature of the challenges that agriculture and food systems are facing now and will be facing into the 21st century. The analysis presented here of global trends and challenges provides further insights into what is at stake and what needs to be done. 

It assesses 15 Trends that will shape the future of food and the livelihoods of those depending on food and agricultural systems. Most of the trends are strongly interdependent and, combined, inform a set of 10 Challenges to achieving food security and nutrition for all and making agriculture sustainable. These challenges are presented in the final section of this report.
  1. Sustainably improving agricultural productivity to meet increasing demand 
  2. Ensuring a sustainable natural resource base 
  3. Addressing climate change and intensification of natural hazards 
  4. Eradicating extreme poverty and reducing inequality 
  5. Ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition 
  6. Making food systems more efficient, inclusive and resilient 
  7. Improving income earning opportunities in rural areas and addressing the root causes of migration 
  8. Building resilience to protracted crises, disasters and conflicts 
  9. Preventing transboundary and emerging agriculture and food system threats 
  10. Addressing the need for coherent and effective national and international governance