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View Diary: Another Revolution in Agriculture Underway? (87 comments)

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  •  Maybe 9 billion of us will have enough to eat? (2+ / 0-)
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    HamdenRice, OhioNatureMom

    I think the latest UN estimate is that world population will top out a bit above nine billion in about 2040 -- and with every revision, the predicted top is lower and sooner.  

    About ten years ago I read that the world started growing enough food for everyone to get all the calories they need some time in the 1960's; and we started growing enough protein in the 1990's.  (Not that everyone got enough; that would have required perfect distribution.)

    If the UN estimates are correct, we needed one more 'green revolution' to grow enough for everyone.
    This may be a big part of that repeat green revolution.  

    Dayenu, dayenu.

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 06:37:17 AM PST

    •  Thanks for mentioning this (3+ / 0-)
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      OhioNatureMom, david78209, mimi

      You are correct that we already grow enough food to feed everyone. India grows enough food to feed all Indians and exports food.

      As the Nobel Prize winning Anglo-Indian economist Amartya Sen (the first progressive after a long string of conservatives) famously wrote famine is not a problem of there not being enough food; famine is a problem of some people not having enough income to purchase the food that is available.

      Contrary to what the Malthusians continue to predict, we are on target for global population to top out somewhere between 9 billion and 12 billion. Given current technology, there is no doubt that we can grow enough food for everyone (the main threat being global warming, not land scarcity). The big question is whether the economic system will allow everyone, no matter how poor, to have enough income or entitlements to purchase the food that will be available.

      The main benefit of increased yields at this point isn't that it helps us grow "enough" food; it's that it helps us grow ever cheaper food, and higher quality food, so poorer and poorer people can afford to buy better and better food.

      •  "Land Grabbing" - Foreign Investors (2+ / 0-)
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        HamdenRice, xaxnar

        buy or lease vast amounts of farmland in the Third World (and not only there, but increasingly in Germany as well - mostly for biogas production out of corn). There is no real concern about providing enough "healthy food" to the local population, but to increase profits alone.

        This graphic appeared in an article of "Der Spiegel" today:


        Isn't it "interesting" that 74% Gabon's farmland is owned by Singapore and the Ukraine for 66% by the US?

        I can't imagine that international corporations like to use SRI methods which are certainly difficult to mechanize on a large scale. In addition it's not only the international corporations in agri-business that have no incentives to engage in such farming methods, but biogas producers as well. They want their corn not to feed people's stomaches, but car's tanks. They want the land to themselves and get the highest profits out of their corn fields in the fastest manner.

        No way they would deal with "horse shit" to fertilize the soil....

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