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How to feed 8 billion people? The future of agriculture – Dr Jim Mazurkiewicz

What will agricultural cultivation look like in a few years’ perspective?

Economics dictates change and this has been happening since man started cultivating plants and domesticating livestock over 10,000 years ago.  Through advancement in technology, genetics, and scientific breakthroughs, we will become more efficient, but more importantly, we will continue to improve the quality and nutrient density of our foods by “Advancing Health through Agriculture”. In the past 30 years for example, corn farmers in the U.S.  have cut erosion by 67%, reduced irrigation by 53%, decreased land use per bushel by 30%, lowered energy use per bushel by 43%, lessened greenhouse gas emissions by 36% and increased production by 101%. (Field to Market Report). Today’s US farmers produce 262% more food with 2% fewer inputs compared to 1950. ( However, the U.S> is losing about 175 acres of farmland every hour of every day to urban development in our most productive areas of the country.  Original settlements throughout the world have a similar problem as people originally settled where there was water, good soil, and materials for housing. Today, we have an ageing and declining farming population around the world, in the U.S. the average age of our farmers is 58 years of age.  In the 19th century, 97% of the U.S. population lived on farms, today it is less than 2%. 

The environment is changing and according to NASA, climate change occurs because of changes in the Earth’s solar orbit (August 30, 20219 by Ethan Huff). The environment of the Earth has been continually changing for 4.5 billion years! However, this is not to say we are not polluting our environment (land, water, and air) and this needs to be taken into serious consideration and regulated to keep our environment clean and healthy. 

Sources:, Field to Market Report and

What changes may await us in the coming years, what, from the field of science, is being developed, researched the most now?

This is what Texas A&M University is focusing on:
For decades, the public has suffered from a” one-size-fits-all” approach to dietary guidance. However, people respond differently to diets, and this is especially true when dealing with diet-related chronic disease. Blanket
dietary advice impacts public health and the entire agriculture-food-health value chain. When consumers change food purchasing habits as a result of dietary advice, it ripples through the food chain, affecting the economic interests of producers. Other forces, like climate variability and loss of productive land, are also challenging agricultural producers’ abilities to maintain sustainable, economically healthy agricultural production. The global pandemic exacerbated food inequities, diet-related chronic disease, and other health concerns. The Institute of Health through Agriculture (IHA) will lead the transformation of our food systems to focus on health outcomes.

The IHA with its ARS unit will focus on three key objectives to support this transformation:

  • Develop a better understanding of the relationship among animal and plant agricultural production and management, the environment, nutrient quality and content and human health.
  • Develop innovative strategies to advance precision agriculture and nutrition and link and analyze large and diverse datasets using cutting-edge data science/data engineering approaches, such as AI and machine learning.
  • More clearly define the requirements for and the role of human nutrition in public health, focusing on subgroups and underserved populations and determining how precision nutrition can help meet these requirements and improve human health.


Do you see the growing population as a problem for agriculture and food provision in the world? Could we be at risk of famine?

Let’s take a closer look at the population growth data between 2000 and 2018:

Total World Population: 2000 – 6.1 billion; 2018 – 7.6 billion; 2022 – 8 billion Pew Research Center

North America – 2000 to 2018: 20.5% growth

South America – 2000 to 2018: 22.6% growth

Europe – 2000 to 2018: 2.1% growth

Africa – 2000 to 2018: 56.6% growth

Asia – 2000 to 2028: 21. % growth

Australia – 2000 to 2018: 30% growth

China and India, the two most populous countries on Earth, are home to almost 3 billion people. Combine them with a few surrounding counties and you have 4.32 billion, almost half of the world’s population. With this said, less than 3% of the earth has ideal soil and growing conditions to produce food for a growing population. We will continue to feed a growing population, agriculture producers are using science, innovation, and technology to grow more food on the same amount of land. With new technologies and continued research, we will continue to produce, but we will be forced to cultivate and use less productive soils and alternative growing mediums to help feed the world. 

Africa is one of the new horizons for future production and we continue to investments by China and other countries buying land in this continent. 

Sources: and  

Will the latest technologies be able to replace farmers?

Technologies and new research will not replace the farmer, but agriculture production and management will certainly change.  However, people will always be needed to lead and manage people, robotics, and new technology in agriculture production.  Artificial Intelligence has allowed farmers to be more efficient and focus more on improving agriculture efficiency, yields and quality of the product.   New technologies have changed farming, but computers and machines cannot do what humans can do.

What is, in your opinion, Poland’s position in the world when it comes to agriculture?

Poland is one of the bread baskets of Europe and is positioned to continue be a major producer in Europe and on the world stage. According to Atradius Collections, food and beverages is one of Poland’s strongest industries, and value-added output was expected to grow by more than 5% in 2022, but high energy prices may have affected the margins some. 

According to the Country report: Poland “Global Food Security index 2022”:

Poland’s overall performance in the index has improved 7 points since 2012, moving from a “moderate” classification to “good” over the past 11 years, driven by progress across all the four pillars. 

In the Quality and Safety pillar, Poland’s score has improved by 6.2 points, owing to a 52.4-point rise in 3.2) Nutritional standards. Affordability, Poland’s strongest-performing pillar, has seen an increase of 3.8 points, due to better management of food prices. Increased policy commitment to manage sustainability challenges and disaster risks has led to the most significant increase, of 17.2 points, in Sustainability and Adaptation. This can be seen in a 49-point score increase in 4.5) Political commitment to adaptation and a 47.1-point increase in 4.6) Disaster risk management, driven by increased risk management co-ordination between local and national governments, financial commitments to climate-related development and the implementation of environmental-economic accounting.”

Country report: Poland “Global Food Security index 2022” – Snapshot: Poland 2012-22 food security environment.

The report also showed strengths and areas for improvement. These include:


  • 2.7) Sufficiency of supply: Poland ranks 11th overall on sufficiency of supply, with a “very good” score of 93.4 that is 31.5 points above average. Poland’s food supply adequacy has experienced a consistent increase across the 11-year GFSI reporting period. 
  • 3.2) Nutritional standards: Poland ranks joint 1st in this indicator, with a score that is 36.3 points above average. Over the 11-year GFSI reporting period, the country has experienced a score improvement of 52.4 points. Since 2016 the country has consistently maintained the maximum scores for all sub-indicators, including national dietary guidelines, a national nutrition plan, nutrition labelling and nutrition monitoring. 
  • 4.5) Political commitment to adaptation: Poland ranks joint 1st in this indicator, scoring 96.3. The country has consistently received very high scores on this indicator since 2012.

Areas of Improvement

  • 2.9) Food security and access policy commitments: Poland ranks joint 80th overall in this indicator and maintains a score of 0. The country scores 0 owing to the lack of a food security strategy and agency. 
  • 3.5) Food safety: Poland scores 74 for its food safety. The country has experienced 47-place rankings drop since 2012, although its score is only 2.3 points below global average. This drop is due to a decline in food safety mechanisms. Poland previously had a score of 40 in this sub-indicator, but its score drops to 0 this year. 
  • 2.4) Volatility of agricultural production: Poland ranks joint 78th and scores 7.5 points below the global average on this indicator. The country’s agricultural production has been increasingly volatile since 2014.

In closing, my opinions are based on science and research in current times and not on emotions or perceptions.  Mankind must move forward to feed a growing population with advances in research and technology.  I am confident that science and research will prevail as it has been doing for over 10,000 years in expanding life expectancy, better health, and fewer diet related diseases.  There is nothing more dangerous than false and negative propaganda. The decisions we make must be based on the best research-based information we have at the time. In addition, we must continue to support research and technology to unlock the mysteries yet unknown. 

Man has always been afraid of what he/she does not know/understand, but we must have the courage to continue through sound science and research.  There are more people on the earth today and we are living longer than our ancestors did 50,000 years ago (even just 150 years ago). In my opinion, this is directly because of the advancements in science and research.  


Dr Jim Mazurkiewicz

Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz (Ma-zur-kay-veech) is the Leadership Program Director for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and Texas A&M University Professor in the Department of Agriculture Leadership, Education & Communications. Dr. Mazurkiewicz is responsible for the Governor Dolph Briscoe Jr. Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership (TALL) Program, the San Antonio Livestock Exposition – Leadership Extension (SALE-LE) Program and International Extension Programs. He has been in this position since April 1, 1998, and County Extension Agent for 20 years in Guadalupe, Knox, Ector and Brazos Counties prior.

Joanna Rancew
Member of Coopernicus Team and Computer Science and Engineering Master's Student at Politecnico di Milano. Graduate of the Warsaw University of Technology in Biomedical Engineering with a specialization in Biomedical Informatics. You are welcome to read more our articles in Coopernicus Knowledge or on Joanna's Medium:
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