World`s Population and Food Supply

World’s Population
and Food Supply
AGST 3000
Agriculture, Society
and the Natural World
I. World Population Increases
A. Currently 6 billion people in the world
B. 8000 BC 5 million people in the world
1. It took 9500 years for the population to get to 500 million
(from 8000 BC to 1500 AD to multiply by 10)
2. Between 1600 and 1856 world population doubled
(1 billion in 200 years)
3. From 1856 – 1930 population doubled again
(2 billion in 80 years)
4. From 1930 – 1975 population doubled again
(4 billion in 45 years)
• The world’s population surpassed six billion in
October, 1999 (6.2 today), and grows by
nearly 80 million per year (approximately the
population of Germany).
• Ninety-seven percent of all population growth
is occurring in the poorest parts of the world.
• By 2015, 23 cities will have more than 10
million inhabitants; 19 of them will be in
developing countries.
II. World Food Needs
A. Population and income are the
major factors in determining food
1. World food demand is growing at a
rate of 2% per year – 1.8% of this
because of population increase and
.2% because of rising incomes
Imbalanced consumption vs. population
 20% of the global population consumes
70% of its material resources and
possesses 80% of the wealth. Source:
World Wildlife Fund
 The majority of this 20% in centered in
Canada, USA, Saudi Arabia, Australia,
and Japan. Source: World Wildlife Fund
2. Difference in specific countries
a. Poorest countries (Africa, Asia, and Latin
America) 2.5% increase in demand, but only a
1.9% increase in supply.
b. These countries typically depend on US,
Canadian and Australian grain supplies.
c. The US produces:
32% of all international trade in wheat,
68% of all coarse grains (corn and sorghum),
and 17% of all rice
3. Food production is not the problem –
is food distribution the problem?
inadequate infrastructure – roads, communication, fuel
lack of access to scientific knowledge (research and
extension service non-existent)
government interference in market forces – wars, political
turmoil, changing government structure, corruption.
-remember Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Haiti
But recent study suggests that distribution of food might
not be the problem…instead an unequal distribution of
wealth…why do you think this might be true?
Food issues around the World
 In 75 nations, per capita food production has
declined over the past 15 years. (UN Development
Program, Human Development Report 1998.)
 Among the larger countries where shrinking
cropland per person threatens future food
security are Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Pakistan, all
countries with weak family planning programs.
 For example, as Nigeria's population goes from
111 million today to a projected 244 million in
2050, its grainland per person will shrink from
0.15 hectares to 0.07 hectares.
Food issues around the World continued…
 Pakistan's projected growth from 146 million
today to 345 million by 2050 will shrink its
grainland per person from 0.08 hectares at
present to 0.03 hectares, an area scarcely the size
of a tennis court.
 Countries where grainland per person has shrunk
to 0.03 hectares, such as Japan, South Korea,
and Taiwan, each import some 70 percent of their
 More than three-quarters of a billion people suffer
from malnutrition.
Food issues around the World continued…
 Between 1945 and 1990 food production and
other human activities degraded nearly three
billion acres of vegetated land, an area equal
to China and India combined.
 Two thirds of the most degraded land is in
Africa and Asia.
 Source: World Watch Institute, March 1999
Increasing the World’s Food
A. Crop Yields
1. Great disparity between countries
a. Wheat Production:
Pakistan = 2.1 metric tons per hectare
Germany = 6.9 metric tons per hectare
b. Corn Production:
India = 1.6 metric tons per hectare
U.S. = 7.1 metric tons per hectare
c. How could production in these countries be
“Green Revolution” 1970’s
The introduction of high
yielding varieties of wheat
and rice in Asia doubled or
tripled yields… but with
environmental and social
Increasing the World’s Food Supply..How?
2. Genetic Manipulation: GMO’s
(Genetically Modified Organisms)
a. Increased yields
b. Decrease the need for pesticides
c. Neutracueticals
Environmental consequences
Increasing the World’s Food Supply..How?
3. Land Area
1. Land surface = 25% of the earth, the rest
is water, polar icecaps
2. Africa and South America have the
largest areas of potentially arable land.
a. Africa currently farms 20% of its
potentially arable land.
b. South America farms 10%
Increasing the World’s Food Supply..How?
Land Area …continued
The U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand have
about 1 billion more acres that could be farmed.
a. Land will only be farmed if it becomes
economical to do so
b. Water availability plays a large role in
determining farm land’s productive capacity
c. Ecosystem degradation and environmental
World population increased by 30% from 1975 –
1990, but land area used to support that population
increased only 3.6%
Food from the Sea
1. Aquatic products are a very important
food source in Japan, Norway, Spain,
Iceland, Portugal and Southeast Asia
2. However, fish make up only 1% of the
world’s caloric intake and only 6% of all
3. Long-term plans for “Farming the Sea”
will do little to solve world hunger
Increasing the World’s Food Supply..How?
History….Malthusian dilemma
1. Reverend Thomas R. Malthus, writing in
1798 gained fame for what he called the
“principle of population”
a. His concept was that food supplies could
only increase arithmetically but
populations would increase geometrically
b. Economic principle based on the “Law of
Diminishing Returns” – increasing labor
to a fixed amount of land
Malthusian dilemma … continued
c. 200 years later – both population and food
supplies have increased geometrically – Why?
Increasing land area for food production – after his
prediction (1798)…North America’s potential for
food production was not known
1920’s increase in mechanization
1960’s application of scientific principles to
agriculture (plant breeding, irrigation, plant
Looking into the Future
A. As economic growth occurs, populations transition
from agricultural (high fertility, large families, high
mortality) to industrial (the world’s richest countries
have stable or shrinking populations)
1. Fact – World birth rates are decreasing but the
population is increasing because people are living
B. Crucial question “How will food issues be dealt with
in the future?” Political leverage, Economic Control?
C. Developing uncultivated land i.e. Rainforests, tends
to lead to environmental degradation and loss of
species variability
D. Raising crop and livestock yields - technology
In Class Writing Assignment
 What factors would support the notion that man is doomed
on planet earth?
 What factors might change or what changes might occur
that would circumvent the above question?
 What should the people of developed nations do to help
stem starvation in under-developed areas of the world?
 Why is simply providing technology to under-developed
areas of the world not the right answer?
 Where do you see the greatest potential in solving the issue
of food shortages with a growing population on earth?