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Unit 7: Agriculture // Section 10: Food for the Future

Although the world produces enough total calories to feed all of its inhabitants today, more than 800 million people are undernourished, mainly in Africa and Asia (footnote 20). Food insecurity can have many causes, including poverty, wars, and diseases such as HIV/AIDS. However, in some areas soils and water supplies are so degraded that agricultural systems cannot produce enough food to meet human needs.

As the human population climbs towards its estimated peak of 10 billion, the environmental impacts of feeding so many people will increase. But this challenge also offers an opportunity: by making agriculture increasingly sustainable, we can meet the goal of feeding the world's population while reducing associated environmental problems such as water pollution. Reorienting agricultural systems is a complex task because the technical challenges are intertwined with social and economic issues such as land tenure and availability of foreign aid for developing countries. The magnitude of future agricultural effects on the environment will be influenced by many factors, including:

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