By 2080, the population could rise to more than 10 billion, according to projections from the United Nations. How can so many people be provided for, while climate change is also affecting agricultural performance? CNN’s economics column asked leading agricultural experts.

40 percent of the food produced in the world is wasted. A lot of things have already been left in the field, and then supply chains can count on huge losses. Many foods arrive on store shelves in such a state that they are not edible, according to the WWF report.

How can this change? For example, by coating foods with edible plant extracts, which extends their life, suggests Richard Munson, who recently published a book, 25 Ways to Reinvent Food. The American company Apeel has already created such a cap that is tasteless, odorless, invisible and edible. The purpose of the wrapper is for the food to retain its water content and isolate it from oxygen. In this way, fruits and vegetables such as oranges and avocados can wait twice as long on the shelves. In India, they have already produced vegetable wrap that keeps food fresh for longer.

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Climate change is dramatically deteriorating the quality of farmland: 1 billion hectares – which is larger than the entire area of ​​China – are already too salty to be suitable for farming. All of this results from water scarcity which is a growing concern globally. This is particularly true in the Middle East. What do they do about it? Tarifa Al Zaabi, who heads a research institute in Dubai, says they are experimenting with plants that produce crops even on such poor soils. Many new palm species have been produced that can survive and bear fruit even in such saline soils. The other solution is subsurface irrigation – confirms the director of the research institute in Dubai.

There is a great variety of farmland in the world, but in many places farmers do not take local characteristics into account. That’s why a Canadian professor recommends that farmers plan exactly what and how much to produce. What should be done about it? Using drones to accurately survey the terrain and create a digital network of farmland – suggests Professor Chandra Madramoto of Montreal’s McGill University.

In this way, carbon emissions from agriculture can be reduced, water resources can be conserved, and chemical pollution can be prevented from increasing.

In Dubai, the aforementioned research institute is already monitoring date palm plantations with drones.

Hundred times the return

Insects on the table! In many parts of the world it is already part of the menu: in Africa, Asia and Latin America, beetles have long been an important source of protein. This should also be introduced in other parts of the world, because in this way the demand for water in agriculture and the use of chemicals can be reduced. Insects can fit into small spaces and disappear even without light, explains Munson, who recommends the publication Global Insect Breeding in his book.

Professor Chandra Madramoto of McGill University in Montreal urges a complex approach. According to him, one of the main problems is that different ecosystems are only examined separately and they also affect each other. So, for example, forests can create good opportunities for agriculture as well. In the same way, food can also be produced in urban areas – even on the balcony. Food can be grown on rooftops and wastewater used for irrigation. On the borders of cities, vertical farming can open: in large warehouses, food can be produced on several levels, one above the other.

LED lights allow agricultural production to take place within the building. Moreover, these farms can be highly automated. These farms do not use pesticides and reduce water consumption by 95%. “They produce hundreds of times as much yield in the same floor space,” Munson asserts, adding, “On vertical farms, you can produce food constantly. Fresh vegetables and fruits can get to nearby stores and restaurants. Plus, they create jobs in a run-down neighborhood.” agricultural expert Monson told CNN Economics.

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