256 | IAASTD Global Report

Key Messages

1. Agriculture will need to respond to several key changes in driving forces in the next decades. Key drivers   include   an   increasing   global   population, changes in dietary and in trade patterns, land com­petition, increases in agricultural labor productivity, climate change and demands for agriculture to pro­vide ecosystem services. A driver is any natural or hu­man-induced factor that directly or indirectly influences the future of agriculture. Categories of indirect drivers include changes in demographic, economic, sociopolitical, scientific and technological, cultural and religious and biogeophysi-cal change. Important direct drivers include changes in food consumption patterns, natural resource management, land use change, climate change, energy and labor.

2. A range of recent global assessments provides in­formation on plausible future developments regard­ing agricultural production systems and their driving forces; however, no assessment has explicitly focused on the future role of AKST. Global assessments provided by, among others, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization AT 2015/2030, and the Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture have explored plausible future developments in agriculture. These assessments have made use of different approaches to address future agricultural changes, and usu­ally are based either on detailed projections or scenario anal­yses. These approaches do not aim to predict the future— rather they provide a framework to explore key interlink-ages between different drivers and resulting changes. In that context, one should also realize that assessment is limited by the ranges of key scenario inputs that are considered. For instance, while crop prices have increased abruptly over the last few years (driven by among other an expansion of bio-fuel production and rapid increases in food demand) these have not been considered in most existing assessments yet.

3. Existing assessments expect increases in global population over the next 50 years (about 2-3 billion people), ongoing urbanization, and changing life pat­terns to lead to a strongly increasing demand for food and pressure on the agricultural system. Increasing in­come implies changes in diet (from carbohydrates to protein based, thus the livestock revolution), and in the manner of food preparation. These changes are expected to affect food consumption patterns and increase demand for non-home based preparation of food. Demand for food is also very likely to be affected by the demographic changes, e.g., the ageing population of many developed countries. Urbaniza­tion is projected to continue and to lead to a decline in the percentage of the population depending on agriculture for income, changes in food systems and additional pressures on arable land.

4. Most existing assessments project that internation­al trade in agricultural commodities will increase and often predict developing countries as an aggregate will become net importers. There are many reasons for increasing agricultural trade, such as increasing demand for


food, increasing interregional relationships and commodity specialization—possibly facilitated by trade liberalization. As a result, increases in agricultural trade are reported in the majority of existing scenarios, even while many assessments have used contrasting assumptions with respect to ongoing globalization for the scenarios that were developed. Global­ization and liberalization will affect countries and groups within countries in different ways. While agricultural trade among developing countries is likely to increase, as a group they may become net importers of agricultural commodi­ties with a possibility of further widening agricultural trade deficits.  Conversely, industrialized countries tend to  be­come net beneficiaries of trade arrangements as they are expected to face less pressure to reduce their support for agriculture.

5. Existing assessments highlight the importance of democratization, decentralization and other socio­political developments in shaping agricultural policy choices. While these factors are hard to quantify, assump­tions underlying different scenarios are partly built around them  (e.g., increasing international governance).  Several scenarios expect participation of local farmer groups in agricultural policy formulation to increase. Most scenarios also assume that governance effectiveness is also expected to increase over time and this can reduce corruption, per­ceived to be prevalent in developing economies. But improv­ing states' capacities in governance and effectiveness in pol­icy implementation is a long term process, and impacts are still uncertain. Key options discussed in these assessments include building "soft" infrastructure, such as networks, or­ganizations, cooperatives, in order to produce social capital that may reduce conflicts at all governance levels; facilitat­ing common-pool agricultural resource management; and enhancing access of farmer groups to markets.

6. Existing assessments project a combination of in­tensification of agricultural production and expansion of cultivated land to meet increasing demands for food, feed, fiber and fuel. A major uncertainty in the scenarios presented in these assessments results from the degree of extensification versus intensification in agricultural produc­tion. Roughly 70-80% of the extra production is projected to stem from intensification. Major expansion of agricul­tural land is projected to take place in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and East Asia (excluding China). New de­velopments in AKST are expected to focus on increases in efficiency in the entire food production chain.

7. Existing assessments indicate a major increase in bioenergy production; in the medium term this might lead to a tradeoff between energy security and food security, especially for the poor. Several scenarios, in particular those that emphasize climate policy and energy-security, indicate that agriculture may become an impor­tant producer of bioenergy. They, however, also highlight that bioenergy production can become a major use of land, possibly increasing, even in the long-term, food prices and decreasing biodiversity. Bioenergy production based on the conversion of cellulose to fuel ethanol or other hydrocar­bons will impact food security and biodiversity less than