BBC World News Horizons explores how technology is being used to combat food shortage

The huge question for the world is how can a globally interconnected society of seven billion people – that soon will be eight, could be nine or ten during this century – live together [and] enjoy prosperity that is properly shared."Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director, The Earth Institute
Date: 14.05.2013     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 17.56
Category: BBC World News
In the seventh episode of the series, Adam Shaw travels to New York City to meet Professor Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute and a Special Advisor on Poverty and Hunger to the United Nations, to explore the issue of global food security.

By 2050, the global population is expected to rise to over nine billion, with food production having to increase by 70 per cent in order to provide everyone on the planet with acceptable levels of nutrition. Adam and Professor Jeffrey Sachs discuss new ways in which technology can be used to ensure a smarter, more productive approach to farming.

Professor Sachs says: “The global food supply is under stress. We need a dramatic reorientation towards sustainable technologies in food. The planet is very crowded. This is putting tremendous stresses on the planet in many ways. The huge question for the world is how can a globally interconnected society of seven billion people – that soon will be eight, could be nine or 10 during this century – live together [and] enjoy prosperity that is properly shared.”

In the UK, Adam visits Surrey Satellite Technology, a company that uses advanced technology to build and operate affordable satellites. On-board cameras are being used to give farmers unprecedented levels of information on the health of their crops (detail that would be invisible from the ground) allowing efficient targeting of soil nutrients and irrigation to increase crop yields.

Surrey Satellites is also now working with Nigeria’s National Space Research and Development Agency (NASDRA) to help government agencies reduce the impact of possible natural disasters.

Later, Adam heads to North Wyke Farm in Devon which houses a unique outdoor laboratory designed to discover new ways of farming which are sustainable, productive and minimise environmental impact.

Finally, presenter James Chau travels to China’s largest city, Shanghai, where the Chinese Government has set itself the target of growing 95 per cent of the city’s vegetables in the local area. They’ve got some way to go but have made a start by controlling production in the area, protecting cultivated land and building a ring of farms that account for a third of Shanghai’s urban area.

Broadcasting on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 May 2013. The Horizons series, sponsored by DuPont, airs weekly on Saturdays at 01:30 and 08:30, Sundays at 14:30 and 20:30 (all times GMT).

The sponsorship arrangement was facilitated by BBC Advertising, which sells advertising and sponsorship solutions on behalf of BBC World News and bbc.com.

Further information, online videos and behind the scenes content can be found at bbc.com/horizonsbusiness (non-UK only) or follow Horizons on Facebook: facebook.com/horizonsTVseries and/or on twitter at @horizonsbiz.

JC