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Global Crop Yields Fail to Keep Pace with Demand

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It wasn’t but last week that we featured a SciDev.Net article on our Wall of Fame.  However, this article in the same publication by Cecilia Rosen, really does miserably fail to see the big picture.  Certainly, with limited resources and arable land we are facing a global food and agricultural crisis, but what this article completely avoids is the root of the problem: an unsustainable level of population growth.

“The world is not increasing yields of major crops quickly enough to meet future food demands from an expanding population.”  This thinking is completely backward.  It should read that the expanding population is growing too quickly for a sustainable and feasible level of food production.  The cause and symptom must be understood here so that the appropriate issue can be addressed.

She goes on to say that main crops “must increase between 60 and 110 per cent by 2050 to satisfy projected food consumption.”  These numbers, which come from research published in PLOS ONE, are admittedly way beyond the current pace of improvement in yields, which has already tapped out many resources is some areas.

However, the biggest fallacy in the article is two of the hollow solutions that are suggested.  “Investment in agricultural research” and “clearing more land for agriculture.”  Both of these are temporary fixes at best, and would most likely have irreparable environmental impacts that go far beyond the agricultural crisis.

Perhaps if there was a boost in investments toward education, family planning, and empowering women we might actually solve not just this problem, but many other issues that are threatening our human rights and environment today.  When you read the article please scroll down to the comments though.  At least the readers are thinking.

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Guest Saturday, 06 February 2016

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