The Sir John Crawford Memorial Address has been presented since 1985, in honour of the distinguished Australian civil servant, educator and agriculturalist in whose name the Crawford Fund was established. Sir John Crawford was a remarkable Australian who contributed at the highest levels, and was a passionate supporter of international agricultural research for development. This talk draws attention to four current and interrelated trends that suggest the world will be rather different by 2025, only 13 years away. The four trends are: population growth; rapidly expanding urbanisation especially in Africa and Asia; changes in patterns of demand for food and energy by the increasingly large and prosperous ‘middle class’; and climate change. Beyond 2025, the prospects are frightening if the momentum of both population growth and greenhouse gas emissions (which, once in the atmosphere, continue to affect climate for 20 years) is not very soon brought under control. A range of solutions are available to improve agricultural production and therefore food security, but they need strong corresponding improvements in storage practices, pest and disease management, and new attitudes to wastage of food. Food supplies and food prices depend on the weather all over the world, and the extra billion people by 2025, living mostly in cities, will need food and energy. Effective action on the factors — including agricultural practices — that are driving climate change is now very urgently needed.


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