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Food Security: Challenges and Opportunities for Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Population growth, accelerated urbanization, and higher incomes are expected to increase food demand by about 70 percent by 2050—involving 1 billion extra tons of cereals and 200 million extra tons of meat (FAO 2009a). The region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia includes major food producing countries, particularly Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. These countries produce 15 percent of the world’s wheat and export almost as much as the USA and the EU. In this regard, the region could potentially play an important role in meeting the challenge of global food security. Yet, it has been underperforming. In contrast to most other regions in the world, yields in Eastern Europe and Central Asia have stagnated since the 1970s. Some estimates suggest that average yields could be increased by 75 percent and that an additional 13 million hectares (ha) of land could be brought into production (FAO 2008).
Vol. 9 No. 1, June 2012

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