By year 2020, the global population is expected to reach the 8 billion mark, by 2050 the 9 billion mark [UN Medium Projections]. In other words, world population grows by 80 million people every year. Result: continuous and sharp rise of food consumption and demand.
Significantly increasing urbanization and the rising overall income in highly populated countries (particularly in South East Asia) with substantial parts of the populations emerging out of subsistence levels has resulted in a drift towards a more protein based diet. However, it takes 21 times more farmland to produce the same amount of meat as it does rice.
For example, China already today consumes 25% of the global meat produced; meat consumption alone is expected to rise by 60% until 2020 [McKinsey Global Institute, Nov 2011].
More than five million hectares of arable land (net) are being lost per year due to urbanization, climate change and lack of water for irrigation. Also, farmland is increasingly used to produce commodities for bio-fuel production, which consumes 6% of global grain produced [FAO].