The population will continue to grow at high speed well into the future. Today, there are more than 7 billion people in the world, and by 2050 the number will increase to 9 billion. This means we will need significantly more food in the future, but the Earth’s resources are limited. How can we manage to feed so many people healthily while at the same time preserving nature?
Our cover story clearly shows that there are no easy answers to this question. Obviously, using more and more space for agriculture would be the wrong approach, as this would come at the expense of the natural habitats of animals and plants. Instead, it is necessary to increase the productivity of the existing space sustainably, while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This means farmers have to find intelligent cultivation methods. To do that, they especially need support from experts in science and business, whose ideas and innovations can help to make sustainable agriculture possible.
Digitalization offers great opportunities here. Intelligent use of data will enable farmers toselect the right type of crop, to fertilize it efficiently, and to protect it against pests and disease. The aim is to achieve reliably high yields with the lowest possible use of resources.
For BASF, our mission is clear. We are using solutions from the world of chemistry tocontribute to boosting agricultural yields. This applies especially to emerging markets and developing countries – the regions where many people are suffering from hunger, and where population growth is strongest. Failed harvests there have grave consequences. Scientists around the world, including those at BASF, are working on creative and sustainable ideas. I am confident that we will achieve progress. The prerequisite is a society that is open to new technologies. This latest issue of Creating Chemistry shows how we can work together to improve living conditions for millions of people.
I wish you an enjoyable read!
Martin Brudermüller, PhD
Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors and Chief Technology Officer, BASF SE