The Food and Agriculture Organization, agricultural production will need to grow globally by 70 percent between 2009 and 2050. According to the FAO

The latest UN estimates of population suggest that by 2050 the planet will be populated by 9.1 billion persons, up from the current population of 6.8 billion (2009). This represents a 34 percent increase over the 41 year period.

The latest FAO estimates also indicate, that agricultural production would need to grow globally by 70 percent over the same period (by almost 100 percent in developing countries) to feed this population, because of a shift in demand towards higher value products of lower caloric content and an increased use of crop output as feed to meet rising meat demand. Further, these predictions of additional output are likely to be a low estimate, as they do not take into account any increases in agricultural production to meet possible expansion in demand for biofuels.

The same FAO study calculates that the investments required in developing countries to support this expansion in agricultural output amount to an average annual net investment of US$83 billion (in 2009 US dollars).That figure does not include public goods like roads, large scale irrigation projects, electrification and others that are also needed. The global gap in what is required vis-à-vis current investment levels can be illustrated by comparing the required annual gross investment of US$209 billion (which includes the cost of renewing depreciating investments) with the result of a separate study that estimated that developing countries on average invested US$142 billion (in 2009 US dollars) annually in agriculture over the past decade. The required increase is thus about 50 percent.

Agfunder – a new equity-based crowdfunding platform was launched in September of this year to help address that funding shortfall. Through its platform, agriculture, ag tech and food processing startups with a lead investor can raise capital from accredited investors in the US. There may be an opportunity for Canadian-based food processing and ag tech companies to leverage Canadian R&D tax incentives to sweeten the pot for investors.