FUTURE OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION IN ASIA

The population on the continent of Asia continues to grow while agricultural production remains constant. Farming systems in Asia must grow to meet this demand. Historically lower production results in undernourishment and stunted growth in children. While the rates of undernourishment continue to fall, demand for food continues to rise and other nations are filling the gap. Asia is the fastest growing region in the world, in terms of population and economic growth.

Booming Population is Asia

The continent of Asia comprises 30% of the world’s land mass and holds 60% of the world’s population. Approximately 4.559 Billion people are estimated to live in Asia today and that number is growing. The population in Asia tripled over the past 50 years, from 1.5 Billion people in 1960 to 4.6 Billion today. The growth in population is slowing but is still increasing at a rate close to 1% every year. The population in Asia is going to reach a population of 5.3 Billion people by 2050. The population density is 379 people per square mile.

Utilizing Current Resources

Most of the landmass of Asia is not utilized for farming due to unfavorable climate and soil conditions. Deltas in river valleys are the best growing areas because of their proximity to water sources. Farmers in Asia continue to use traditional farming practices and technology, despite the growing population. Gravity water flow is the main source of irrigation. This system greatly restricts access to water and has inherent inefficiencies (water loss, contamination, et cetera). Technological advances are being made to improve production efficiency and crop yield. Also, access to a reliable water supply is a crucial next step for farming systems in Asia. Watering infrastructure is a key step to improving the productivity of farmland around the continent.

While many farming practices are antiquated, many tech companies are looking to address the productivity issues of farms of every size. Innovations founded in Asia strive to increase the productivity of farmers at every level of production. Agrostar in India connects farmers with best practices and provides them with a marketplace for both supplies and their crops. i-Grow from Indonesia connects investors to farmers, allowing them to support specific farms while diversifying their commodity portfolio through a mobile app. Pundi X from Singapore is a point-of-sale technology for farmers.

Looking to the Future

The rates of undernourishment fell by 50% since the 1960s, but the projected demand for food is projected to increase by 70% by 2050. Technological advances are working towards increasing farmer’s productivity and accessibility of agricultural products. Agricultural production growth in Asia is outpacing the growth in the rest of the World, but will the growth be enough to feed the growing population?

 

Joseph Sturtz

Tulane MBA Student ’19

Global Business Projects-India