The rise in food production is set to slow over the next 30 years, but will still rise faster than the increase in population, according to a report from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation.

The FAO’s new technical interim report “Agriculture: Towards 2015/2030” predicts that annual growth rate of world agriculture will decline from the 2.1 per cent registered in the last two decades, to 1.6 per cent in the period to 2015 and to 1.3 per cent up to 2030.

However, this will still continue to outstrip world population growth of 1.2 per cent up to 2015 and 0.8 percent in the period to 2030, claimed the FAO.

It also predicted that in 2015, there could still be about 580 million people “suffering from chronic under-nourishment.”

The report forecast that cereals will dominate food supplies, accounting for about half of daily calorie intakes, with global production projected to increase by almost one billion tonnes by 2030, from the current level of 1.84 billion tonnes. Around half of this extra production will be for food and 44 per cent will be fed to animals. “Developing countries will become increasingly dependent on imports of cereals. Their net cereal imports are expected to rise from 107 million tonnes in 1995/97 to 270 million in 2030,” said the FAO.