Jeff Simmons, President of Elanco, says we're on a fast-track to a crisis and a global shortage of basic foods such as meat, milk and eggs.
"Today, we are meeting global egg demand by adding hens. On this path, hen numbers will need to double to more than 12.5 billion hens in order to meet consumer demand in 2050," he says.
Earlier this year Elanco rolled out "Enough: The fight for a good secure tomorrow." It's a report Simmons wrote that focuses on the realities and solutions available to achieve global food security. The report advocates for farmer access to innovative tools to feed a growing global population and save natural resources.
During his presentation at "Feeding the World 2014: Sustainable solutions for world crisis" hosted by The Economist, Simmons shared the main massage of the report. He explained that innovation, choice and trade will be the core solutions to tackle food security.
Simmons called upon the urgency to act and laid out some facts: The fastest part of the world's middle class growth will occur between today and 2020. This means billions of people demanding access to better diets, including an increased consumer demand for meat, milk and eggs in the next six years.
"But alternatives exist. We have – either available right now or in the pipeline – the technology that would enable us to meet consumer demand in 2050," Simmons says. "But we need to give farmers the ability to access and utilize this technology and ensure that proven innovation and farm practices which maintain health and productivity are available for use."
Also attending the conference was Aalt Dijkhuizen from Wageningen University and Research Centre in The Netherlands. He believes that rejecting technology and merely relying on farming practices of past generations won't work to feed tomorrow's population.
"Food security is an issue we can start to solve now. If we focus on the need, rely on a science-based approach and take leadership, we can create a food secure future - one in which 9 billion people have access to enough nutritious, affordable food," Simmons says.
For more information visit the Sensible Table website.