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Geospatial technologies help in ensuring food security

Around 805 million people in the world suffer from chronic undernourishment. That’s about one in nine people of the 7.3 billion global population. Almost all the hungry people — 791 million — live in developing countries. That is representing 13.5% of the population of developing counties. There are 11 million people undernourished in developed countries.

That is United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization data for you.

This number is likely to increase as the population grows to 9 billion people by 2050. To feed the world, food production must double, even as agrarian land is being drastically reduced. And then there are unpredictable rains, increased droughts and natural disasters, high input prices, and the depletion of natural resources. Food security in such a scenario becomes overcoming an increasingly challenging agricultural context.

The ever-increasing global population and increased demand for food and industrial needs has put tremendous pressure on the planet’s resources like land and water. Dry areas occupy about 41% of the Earth‘s land area, and are home to 2.5 billion people and 1.5 billion livestock while have limited natural resources and face serious environmental constraints that are likely to worsen as a result of climate change, according to the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA). ICARDA is one of the research centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

Agriculture plays the most important role in providing food security. Better and accurate agricultural information is the cornerstone in understanding current trends and status that determine food security from local to global scales. As open-access policies for sharing geospatial information and technology become an integral part of solving the food security equation, geospatial technologies such as remote sensing, GNSS and GIS have progressed rapidly in the last couple of decades, and will keep expanding to provide powerful tools in almost every aspect of food security, including research, development and aid delivery programs, policy, and outreach.