It is now estimated that the World population will increase by 40% by 2050, reaching 9.7 billion people (1). This rise will be particularly strong in Africa and Asia (+ 30%).
World population size in 2030 and 2050 (predictions). Source : Gilles Pison. Population & Sociétés. Bulletin mensuel d’information de l’Institut national d’études démographiques. Numéro 503. Septembre 2013.
At the same time, the available farm workforce is expected to decrease, with 70% of the World population living in urban areas in 2050 (currently up to 49%). The rising standard of living and the effects of dietary transition under way in emerging countries must also be taken into account. Highly populous countries, like China, are about to consume a much richer and more diverse food.
Crowd in a street of Hong-Kong. 27th December 2005. Source: Hamedog.
All these assessments challenge many experts on the issues of changing agricultural production. According to the FAO (http://www.fao.org), the food production will have to increase by 70% in 2050. About 3 billion tons of cereals and 463 million tons of meat will be required to satisfy the world demand by 2050, compared to the current consumption of 2 billion tons of cereals and 228 million tons of meat.
Obviously, the food performance of agriculture and industries is a major challenge of our century. It must be put into perspective with the environmental (water quality, energy consumption, greenhouse gases emissions, biodiversity, land use), economic and societal issues related to farming production.
PerfAlim is an on-line calculator of the food performance of farms and territories. It is nowadays proposed with three main objectives:
- To inform stakeholders about the food performance level of their farm, that is to say the capacity to meet the nutritional needs of the population in Energy and Proteins, with representative and homogeneous data, based on simple and transparent hypotheses.
- To assist stakeholders in the arbitration of strategic choices to lead their farm system, by integrating a food performance indicator into their general performance indicators panel.
- To communicate to the general public about the genuine function of agriculture: feeding people. Food performance offers a slight different perception of agriculture than the one that only takes into account the impact on the environment.
Food performance display for the Grignon farm (2012): “with my farm I feed 6 470 people per year”.
Integration of the food performance in the monitoring indicators of a farm was initiated in the PerfAgro P3 model (http://www.cereopa.com/fr/actions/perfagro.html) developed in 2008 by the CEREOPA. This decision support tool aims to identify the optimal solutions for the farms, in terms of economic margin, food and environmental performance, by exploring possible options for choice of production (nature of business and technical methods of production).
This triple approach of the performance of a farm is studied in the project Grignon Positive Energy (GE +). This project, initiated in 2005, and led at the AgroParisTech experimental farm of Grignon, deals with the important issue of possible and desirable adjustments of food sector (production and transformation) to meet the Energy crisis and the Global warming climate challenges, while maintaining a high productivity target. The Grignon Positive Energy project is structured in two main workpackages: a technical one, aiming at exploring innovative solutions to improve the environmental performance of farms, and an educational one, aiming at designing efficient tools to communicate and to educate the general public about the environmental and societal issues of agriculture.
The Grignon farm (Yvelines, France)