Recent long-term demographic projections suggest a fast deceleration of global population growth and the eventual peaking of world population later in this century at about 9.2 billion, roughly 50 percent above the present level. Some low-income and food-insecure countries, however, have projected populations in 2050 that are multiples of present ones. In some of these countries agriculture must play a leading role in their development efforts because they have high economic dependence on that sector. For those among them that have scarce agricultural resources, a prima facie case can be made that the high population growth rates projected may not be compatible with the development potential offered by such resources. Their demographic projections may need to be revisited, taking into account such inadequate potential. The global demographic slowdown notwithstanding, the “population explosion”-related issues pertaining to food and agriculture will not become irrelevant but will be become increasingly localized.
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Document Type: Research Article
Consultant and former Chief, Economic and Social Policy Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy
June 1, 2005