Course code MP04
Course title Agro-Ecology, the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050
Institution Mines ParisTech
Course address MINES Paristech, 60 boulevard St-Michel, 75272 Paris Cedex 06,
Minimum year of study 4th year
Minimum level of English Good
Minimum level of French None
Key words Food security, certification and labels, overexploitation of resources, innovations, land use challenge, deforestation, agro-forestry, agro-ecology.....
Language English
Professor responsible Cathy Descamps-Large, Clément Chesnot (co-founder of Moringa Agroforestry Fund)
Telephone +33 1 64 69 48 78
Participating professors

Patrick Caron (President of the High Level Panel of experts for Food Security and Nutrition FAO/CIRAD)

Tamara Ben Ari (Senior Scientist INRA)

Scott Poynton (Founder of the Forest Trust)

Number of places Minimum: , Maximum: 35, Reserved for local students: 20
Objectives The challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050. The module will present and discuss the challenges and concrete & innovative solutions developed by entrepreneurs & key players.

Continuing population and consumption growth will mean that the global demand for food will increase for at least another 40 years. Growing competition for land, water, and energy, in addition to the overexploitation of fisheries, will affect our ability to produce food, as will the urgent requirement to reduce the impact of the food system on the environment.

The effects of climate change are a further threat to food security[i]. Growing consumptions of food & timber products will add pressure on agricultural markets and the global need for producing land. This pressure is already leading to massive deforestation in the tropics (15 million ha per year representing a ¼ of France) destroying unique biodiverse ecosystems, emitting ~15% of the global GhG emissions and threatening the livelihoods of hundred millions of local communities (among other negative impacts…). We need to rethink our production and consumption models. The intensive agriculture scheme of the so called “green revolution” cannot be pursued as it leads to the destruction of soils, water and biodiversity resources.


Solutions exists. Over 2 billion ha of degraded lands are available worldwide and could be mobilized. Producing more on fewer land and protect the environment : the agro-ecology promise is being more and more promoted by farmers, entrepreneurs , NGOs, governments, industrials, research institutes, and even investors, becoming one of the pillar of the Paris Agreement for Climate Change.

[i] Food security: the challenge of feeding 9 billion people. Godfray & al., 2010. Science

Programme to be followed

From deforestation, land we use and new trends to Agro-forestry : how reconciling ecology and economy, impact investment, the need to develop innovative production schemes. 

Agriculture and environment

Food security -  a complex challenge for the future, global food supply and demand in the context of climate change

Agro ecology from founding concepts to implementation

Certifications, labels and going "beyond certification" towrads alternative models - case study in the palm oil sector

Case study and debate


Prerequisites none
Course exam Mini-project and debate