How to Feed a Growing Population

Topics: Agriculture, Food security, World population Pages: 8 (2775 words) Published: April 12, 2013
How to Provide Food for A Growing Population
According to the United Nations Secretary-General, 17,000 kids are dying everyday due to hunger. However, the world today has more people who are overweight than people who are undernourished (Popkin, 2007). This shows the imbalance in our distribution of food and resources, as well as a system that promotes injustice in scarcity. Scarcity is an economic problem that arises because people have unlimited wants that never seems to end, but we have limited resources to begin with. Furthermore, the World Food Summit of 1996 defined food security as existing “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life” (WHO, 2011). The challenge to achieve food security has become greater than ever as scientists predict a growing population that demands two times the current production by 2050 for 9 billion people to be fed (Godfray, 2010). Continued population and consumption growth means that global demand for food will increase for at least another 40 years. There are, however, some arguments on the underlying causes of food insecurity and different opinions on how to achieve global food security in a sustainable way. Some people propose using more effective production methods, while some prefer a fair distribution of food. As the world population is expected to grow, we can have enough food to feed everyone by improving productivity, interventions in institutional policies, and encouraging collaborations of experts from different fields. The challenge to satisfy the food needs in 2050 can be met by improving productivity through introducing more sustainable and efficient food production methods. The principle of sustainability implies the use of resources at a rate that does not exceed the capacity of the earth to replenish them (Beddington, 2011). A more sustainable food production system that uses better local crops for production and reduces loses will help to provide good quality food for a wider range of people with minimum resources (Hubert et al., 2010). In other words, people will have access to more food when productivity is increased by sustainable production methods. Godfray (2011) states that there is a huge difference in crop and livestock productivity according to regions that are based on capacity of resources accessible to individual farmers. This means that farmers who live at different places have different productivity levels. The yield gap could be due to lack of knowledge or access to technology and resources. Thus, in the attempt to provide food in a way that maximizes our limited resources, these issues need to be first dealt with. Better training for farmers and access to financial support could make a difference in boosting yields. Furthermore, the current agricultural technology will not be able to meet the production challenges ahead (Abah, 2010). Hence, we also need to look into developing new strategies and innovative methods of production that benefit all by making use of the limited land and water supply and at the same time, not posing harm to our environment. In addressing global food insecurity problems, Dr. Nick Austin states, “agricultural science can be a catalyst for lifting many of the world’s estimated 1.4 billion poor people from poverty” (as cited in Siddique, 2010). This means that research and development in agricultural science can drive global food production and provide food security to the poor. Moreover, science has always been playing a major role in feeding the world. For instance, throughout the Green Revolution after World War II, new varieties of crops that were created through breeding and research increased production level significantly (Evenson & Golli, 2003). As demonstrated by the successful Green Revolution, formulating new and innovative ideas of planting crops to increase productivity has a promising future of solving global food insecurity problems that we...
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