Tags: agricultural investments, biofuel, climate change, family farms, food crises, food production, global warming, Smallholder-farmers
Recent unforeseen developments in world geography and expected demographic realities lead almost everyone to ask each other: “when will we be experiencing food crises?” Lately increasing climate change stories come to the point: S. Arabia has decided to stop up 2015 to grow one of the main crop (wheat) due to drought. On the other hand cultivated land area is not changing significantly but number of people fed per hectare will be almost tripled from the year 1960 to 2020 (Figure).
Global warming is not the only threat for tomorrow’s food crisis. Wealth increase causes change of patterns on consumption and rise demand for food. Crops for biofuel and non food products will need additional land. So far smallholder-farming shrinks considerably, who will fill in the lack of growing food, feed and biofuel plants?
Smallholder-farmers are going to give up farming and migrate to the cities steadily, but it has been accelerated in recent years. Additionally, some experts claiming that, lately up to 50 million “environmental refugees” will have to leave their lands due to the dramatically negative effects of climate change. http://www.ifpri.org/blog/challenging-en…). This occurs intensively in developing countries whereas the values of cultivated land in some of EU countries are doubled within one decade.
In all countries there are numbers of potential private or institutional investors, seeking a secure instrument for their own future. It is not secret that, agriculture is one of the most attractive instruments for investing. Otherwise over 200 million hectare cultivated land wouldn’t be handed over within last decade.
With the shrink of small farming communities, the amount of non-cultivated agricultural lands has been increasing. Small farming communities and unknown potential investors are the two that need to be matched for the future of our tomorrow’s food security.
European’s young potential private or institutional investors may not be aware of such alternative investment options. Thinking European successful agricultural investors in Asia, Africa and L. America and their role of being a school for local producers, we have to reactivate this for tomorrow’s food as well. So later, local farmers with gained experience guaranty the further agricultural production.
Let’s go through an example: Turkish young farmers are immigrating to the cities and almost one tenth of Turkish cultivated lands are simply left and waiting for cultivation. However increasing demand for organic products is one of other opportunities for Turkey, because soils are more suitable for organic agriculture compared to EU countries. Greenhouse and hydroponic farming are applicable throughout the country and are expandable. Existing 5,5 million hectare irrigable area will be 8,5 hectare in future. The export value of agricultural products is over $ 17 billion, but on the other hand, Turkey is importing almost $14 billion agricultural goods. Just only in the year 2010 the import of some fruit like walnut and almond was almost $270 million. Just in the year 2010 import of some fruit like walnut and almond was almost 270 million $US, as if their cultivation is not possible almost in every corner in Turkey. Many alternatives of existing production systems are promising further competitive investments like dwarf apple orchards, vineyard etc. Production of new culture plants from subtopic like kiwi and avocado seems to be quite promising. Such products have been accepted by local consumers rapidly number of foreign investors has been doubled within last few years in fishing sector. New regulations for ethanol and biodiesel from local agricultural products will facilitate new production area, like MISCANTUS. Animal husbandry needs reforms to compete with the world market, but with family farms it doesn’t seems financially realistic due to not being able to reach to optimum herd size.
More or less every developing economy is in the same situation. Some of EU countries farming system are not differing either. There are numbers of impressive investment area in land, waiting investors to food production. We should support farming with all economic, social and scientific aspects to keep it for sustainable food production. To achieve this target we should increase public awareness.