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The Looming World Food Crisis

Opportunities in the Food Ecosystem of the Developing World

September 19, 2018 @ 11:30 am - 1:15 pm

By the middle of the 21st century, the world population will increase 30% to more than 9 billion. Food production will need to increase 70% to meet increased demands. The numbers do not add-up how we are going to realistically meet the increased demand for food. Forecast increases in crop productivity from biotechnology, genetics, agronomics and horticulture will not be sufficient to meet food demand, and resource limitations will constrain the global food system. For the first time in human history, food production will be limited on a global scale by the availability of land, water, and energy. Food issues could become as politically destabilizing after 2050 as energy issues are today.

More efficient technologies and crops will need to be developed to address this challenge – and equally important, better ways of applying these technologies locally for farmers. Simply put: technologies are not reaching enough smallholder farmers. There are a host of technological opportunities to increase efficiencies along the value-chain from farm to consumer – via digital information delivery, the cloud, “uberized services”, mechanization, precision agriculture, controlled environment agriculture, solar electric, blockchain, nanotechnololgy, biotechnology (microbiome, gene editing, alternative proteins), 3D food printing, high-value climate-resistant seed, etc.

A greater emphasis is needed in niche, high-value, animal protein and horticultural crops which create jobs and economic opportunities for urban, peri-urban and rural communities – enables more profitable, intensive farming of small tracts of land in urban areas; many of these small holder entrepreneurs are women, i.e. women dominate the tomato industry in Ghana. Better information delivery (extension), reducing high crop losses and improving the value-chain from farm to fork are critical.

Fred Davies grew up working on farms during the summers as a teenager in central New Jersey, but never looked at agriculture as a career. After college, he spent a year traveling the world (backpacking and hitchhiking) with a good friend who was a horticulturist. He saw the international niche opportunities of high value horticultural crops (vegetables, fruits, flowering plants) – and went on to pursue graduate degrees at Rutgers and the University of Florida.

Fred Davies is a Regents Professor emeritus, Dept. of Horticultural Sciences, faculty of Molecular and Environmental Plant Sciences, and AgriLife Research Faculty Fellow at Texas A&M University. He is a Senior Borlaug Fellow in Horticulture at the TAMU Borlaug Institute of International Agriculture. In 2013-14, he was a Senior Science Advisor (Jefferson Science Fellow) at USAID, Bureau of Food Security / Office of Agricultural Research & Policy, Washington, D.C. He continues to advise USAID on food security, agriculture and horticulture – most recently serving as the team lead, evaluating USAID plant seed programs in West Africa. He has over 40 years experience in research, evaluation, teaching, industry outreach and consultancies in horticulture, agriculture, plant propagation and seed programs in more than 25 countries.

He received a B.A. and M.S. from Rutgers University, and a PhD in Horticultural Sciences, Plant Physiology and Tropical Agriculture from the University of Florida. He has been a Visiting Scientist at the USDA Horticultural Crops Laboratory (Oregon), CINVESTAV Plant Biology Institute (Mexico) and International Potato Center (Peru). He has also been a Visiting Professor at Oregon State University, Monterrey Tech. Univ. (Mexico), National Agrarian University of Peru, and Bogor Agricultural University [IPB (Indonesia)]. As an expert in international horticulture, agriculture and food security – he has been a Guggenheim Fellow and Senior Fulbright Fellow to Peru, Mexico, and Indonesia. He is past-president of American Society for Horticultural Sciences (ASHS) and International Plant Propagators Society (IPPS). He is a Fellow of the ASHS and IPPS. His research has been supported by NASA, National Science Foundation, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, other agencies, and industry. His co-authored book on Plant Propagation is the standard text of the field, and is used worldwide by academia and industry.


Here is an article that Dr. Fred Davies and Dr. Banning Garrett wrote on technology and urban food ecosystems:



The buffet luncheon will open at 11:30 AM. Dr. Davies will speak and take questions from the audience from Noon to 1:00 PM. The price for the luncheon is $40 for members, $50 for non-members and $35 for students and military personnel in uniform with a discount of $10 for early registration that ends at midnight, the morning of Monday of this event.


You may also pay at the door with cash, check or credit card.

To avoid the ticketing fee, and take advantage of the discount, you may send a check to the World Affairs Council of South Texas, 4409 Sue Circle, Texas 78410. Please make sure your checks arrive prior to Saturday, August 18.

For other information, please contact: Dr. Anantha Babbili, WACST President, at 361.563.5177 or at [email protected]



PowerPoint Presentation PDF


Event Photos:

Photos Courtesy of Noblest Photography


September 19, 2018
11:30 am - 1:15 pm
$35 – $50


Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz International Center
402 Harbor Dr.
Corpus Christi, TX 78401 United States
+ Google Map
(361) 879-0125


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