How will this diverse sustainable food landscape look like in the future? “Cities will interweave agriculture with an urban landscape: rooftop gardens, livestock breeding in open places, greenhouses that provide residential areas of food and green energy in the same time, … In large scale agriculture further innovative models of production will we implemented while minimizing and mitigating impact on environment: smart irrigation, the use of bio pesticides or cover crops for healthier soils, the use of insects as animal fed and so on. In the end, ecosystems should be closed.”
Fresco sees a large potential for further research on algae and biogenetics. "Algae is a food of the future. Besides the positive health effect of algae consumption (full of omega 3 and proteins), it is also a source of natural oils and enzyms, applicable in chemical industry. Methods to grow algae on a large scale are being developed, but are far from perfect. Besides food production, agriculture could also gain a new function in society in the search for substitutes of fossil fuels. At last, there are interesting progresses in the areas of biogenetics and breeding techniques which needs to be further examined.”
The largest production improvements should however be seen in regions where population growth will explode: Sub-Saharan Africa. There is a lot of potential for productivity gains by applying already known technology, inputs or better soil management. “Today, only 4% of African soils is irrigated, compared to 40% in China." By improving distribution and storage infrastructure, 25% of the production which is now wasted at harvest, could be saved.
Smallholders in developing countries need to be linked to inclusive markets and better inputs. To achieve this, governments and institutions like the World Bank need to invest in the agricultural sector as a whole – not only in production. “It’s absurd that cacao is exported from Africa, to be processed into chocolate in Europe, and in the end is re-imported into Africa”