An additional billion tonnes of cereals per year is estimated to be required to feed the predicted population of 9 billion people in 2050. In addition to cereals for human consumption, increasing volumes of feed and forage crops will be required to feed animals that can provide the estimated additional 200 million tonnes of meat needed. To achieve this, arable land is expected to expand by around 70 million hectares, and farming will become more intensive with high demand for irrigation.
New crops and production systems that use water efficiently and improve crop yields are vital in meeting these demands. As well as high yields, new cultivars must deliver high nutritional quality and meet the requirements of the food industry in terms of health benefits, convenience and good processing qualities.
Arable production adds around $1 billion of value to the New Zealand economy each year. This production delivers essential raw materials worth around $5 billion to the wider food industry. The grain and seed sector is expected to grow at around 2.75% per annum and forage and feed supply for the dairy and livestock industry by 8% per annum. The industry is focused on innovation that delivers new products for both domestic use and export, and improving productivity and sustainability of farms.