Just last week in NZ, William Rolleston (who is expected to be the next president of Federated Farmers) told us that we are morally obliged to embrace genetically modified food because of this "feed the world" problem.
It seems that this whole line of argument is rubbish. Either these people haven't looked at the data or they are engaging in some kind of big lie strategy. The following chart shows FAO data on world food balances for the most recent 20 years available.
|World Food Production Per Capita Per Day (Source:FAO)|
The FAO's minimum recommended food intake is 1800KCal/person/day. Food needs vary with age and gender so the total requirement depends on the age profile of the population. To make the chart I used the Australian guidance which is 2079 KCal/day on average. If that is a reasonable figure, we can use it to calculate how many people the world could have fed with the food actually produced. That's the purple line in the chart.
Conclusion: the world can already feed 9 billion people. If there is a problem here, it is not a shortage of food.