Relationship between population and food supply

Food Supply and Population |

relationship between population and food supply

Nevertheless, per caput food production actually declined in 51 developing countries while rising in only 43 between and Among the . Understanding the relationship between food increases and population increases is proposed as a necessary first step in addressing this global problem. Thanks to Russell Hopfenberg, Ph.D. of Duke University, for the following essay which discusses Dr. Hopfenberg's thesis on the relationship of.

Does population growth affect food production? Does this effect vary across regions? Scholars have proposed food insecurity as one of the threats that society will endure during this century.

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Global population has grown exponentially. Current numbers are estimated around 6,, World Bank, and are expected to rise 9. However, world cereal yields and agriculture production have declined since Harris and Kennedy, According to FAO, per capita food production declined in 51 developing countries, while rising in only 43 between and Sadik, This study examines the relationship between agriculture growth and population growth rates in countries around the world. In particular, this paper seeks to identify the difference in the relationship between population growth and agricultural growth among the following regions: The paper begins by reviewing the current literature relevant to the Malthusian theory of scarcity and agriculture production.

It continues by developing a theoretical framework in which I suggest that population growth is increasing at a higher rate than agriculture production.

Food Security in an Insecure World - Future of Food

I test this hypothesis by analyzing agriculture production, population growth and economic development data from all countries from to The paper concludes with a discussion of the results of the regression on agriculture production and a summary of future research needs. Decreased food production in less developed countries, increases in the price of food, and growing production of bio-fuels are responsible for current rates of food scarcity.

Global warming, crop diversity loss and urban sprawl also affect agriculture production.

The Relationship between Population Growth and Food Supply | marinaecology

Kendall and Pimentel note that current per capita grain production seems to be decreasing worldwide. Kendall and Pimentel, They concluded that if production continues at its current rate, per capita crop production will decline by While Neo-Malthusian scholars such as Paul Elhrich believe that the only way to avoid this catastrophe is by restraining population growth, others such as Rusell Hopfenberg assert that we must curb food production to limit population growth.

Despite his predictions, Erhlich recognized that the some societal shifts have occurred that indicated that at least some populations were slowing their growth. For instance, fertility rates in most developed nations have dropped to less than replacement levels and the Green Revolution had a larger impact than expected Ehrlich, Scholars as Rusell Hopfenberg have supported this hypothesis. He estimated future population numbers by using past food productions numbers, which were similar to those estimated by FAO.

According to Hopfenberg, Malthus and Darwin understood that in the absence of limitations of resources — such space and food — populations will grow exponentially. If resources are limited, the growth rate will begin to decline as the population reaches the maximum that the environment can support. Population will continue to decline until equilibrium is reached.

Food Security and Population Growth in the 21st Century

Currently, African nations such as Liberia 4. Nevertheless, grain production has declined 12 percent in the last two decades Dyson, The total amount of land used to grow crops in Latin America has increased by 11 percent sincewhich represents the largest increase of croplands in the world Gonzalez Land availability is a determinant factor for agriculture production.

relationship between population and food supply

Although the area of arable land is expected to increase by million hectares bythe agricultural productivity of this land will be below current levels Kendall and Pimentel, Boongarts proposes that less developed nations could meet demand if new economic and technological policies enacted to support sustainable agriculture, but not under the current agriculture production model.

Agriculture has three main variables that need to be studied: Since population and production are long term problems, distribution problems should be addressed immediately. Trade has become a controversial response to solve distribution problems. Scholars argue that trade allows regions with agricultural surpluses to transfer their excess food to regions with agriculture deficits, thus bringing an equilibrium to global production.

Developed countries have high levels of food exports, while less developed countries import most of their food supply. Their results showed that greater democracy is associated with lower agricultural efficiency, which implies that an interest group is taking control over agricultural process Lio and Liu, The consensus among scholars suggests that economic growth directly affects agriculture production.

Jenkins and Scalan argue that an increase in economic growth—measured as increases in GDP—has a positive relationship with the daily intake of calories of children in developing countries.

relationship between population and food supply

This suggests that development structures and economic policies affect food supply more than increases in agricultural production. McDonald argues that regions with higher population will present a negative relationship with agriculture production.

Developing regions will present higher population growth rates and lower agriculture production growth rates and developed nations will present an inverse relationship Pimentel, An increase in population growth will decrease agriculture production.

[World population growth and the food supply].

What has happened is that people have diversified the foods they consume, purchasing more fruits, vegetables, and milk, but reducing their consumption of legumes, which are nutritionally rather valuable. Food production in South Asia has benefited from high-yielding varieties of wheat and rice, but there has been little change in the cultivation of traditional coarse cereals.

Consequently, the per capita availability of these latter food crops, which tend to be more nutritious, has fallen. The nutritional status of South Asia's population is generally dismal. In India, for example, nearly half of all children under age three are estimated to be underweight, and a similar proportion of adult women are anemic. However, such health and nutritional problems are often not seen as problematic by the people themselves: Virtually all Indian households report that they have "two square meals a day.

South Asia's population could well increase by million in the first half of the twenty-first century. Average levels of food consumption may well rise, but this demographic growth, and recent trends in food demand and production, do not augur well for a major decrease in the total number of under-nourished people. Sub-Saharan Africa —Widespread Undernourishment, Grim Prognosis In major world regions the food situation is probably grimmest in sub-Saharan Africa, where FAO estimates that in the period from to about one-third of the total population was undernourished.

The region's estimated per capita daily calorie supply for the years to suggests scant improvement compared to the to period. This is the world's poorest region and it has experienced the fastest demographic growth, with populations often doubling in less than 25 years. African farmers have been unable to raise their food crop yields at similar rates.

In fact, average cereal yields rose very little in the decades around the turn of the century. Consequently, total food output has been increased largely through processes of extensification—increasing the harvested area. Traditional fallow periods have been reduced often leading to losses in soil fertility and the area of cropland has been increased by converting tracts of bushland and forest to cultivation.

These developments have sometimes occurred in conditions of sociopolitical instability, and where governments have neglected the agricultural sector. Moreover, until the early s global agricultural research tended to be focused on crops like rice and wheat, which are not widely grown in sub-Saharan Africa. There is no doubt that given appropriate levels of investment this region's agricultural potential is considerable.

But most analysts envisage that in the first decades of the twenty-first century average levels of per capita food production and consumption will not rise by much. With the likelihood of considerable future population growth the total number of undernourished people may well increase.

Adding to this bleak outlook, the region may continue to experience food crises and famines—often with warfare acting as an important contributory cause. The Developed World—Obesity, Overproduction, Farm Subsidies In considering the world's more developed regions, the situation is clearly very different.

In most developed countries the number of people who are undernourished is tiny although the economic disruption following the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union in the s caused real hunger at times. However, in the developed world obesity—linked to overeating and sedentary lifestyles—is often a serious and growing problem one, it must be said, which is also increasing in many urban areas of the developing world.

Recent decades have seen considerable competition in the agricultural sector, particularly between the United States and the European Union. Both these major food-producing blocs have experienced difficulties in trying to reduce the subsidies they pay their farmers, yet at the same time agricultural yields have continued to rise, often at a brisk pace. Consequently, the overproduction of food in relation to the volume of effective demand the ability of people or nations to pay for it has been, and continues to be, a serious problem.

A consequence is that the prices of many foods, including important cereal crops like wheat and maize i. This benefits the developing countries that import these crops—for example, those in the Middle East.

But these same low prices are harmful to agricultural producers and exporters in other countries, including some of the poorest developing countries. Summary—Progress and Problems In summary, progress in feeding the growing world population has been mixed. For most regions the situation has improved; although even in China, where progress has been marked, there remain tens of millions of people who lack the purchasing power to buy sufficient quantities of food.

The record of South Asia, however, is best described as patchy; and for sub-Saharan Africa it is bad.

relationship between population and food supply

There is no doubt that the knowledge, crop varieties, and technologies to significantly raise per capita food supplies in these two regions exist. But the socioeconomic and political conditions for their successful utilization have often been lacking. Moreover, population growth in both regions has probably made the task of raising average levels of food availability per person harder than it would otherwise have been.

This situation appears likely to continue into the early decades of the twenty-first century. There will be significant progress in raising average levels of food consumption in most regions, but with South Asia and, still more, sub-Saharan Africa lagging behind.

In general, population growth in the developing world will continue to be the main factor contributing to the growth of world cereal demand; and some of this growth in demand will be met by increased production from farmers in more developed regions, especially in North America.

Cereals—Indicator of Diet Quality This brief account of food and population can appropriately conclude with a comment on cereals, the most important component of the human diet. Cereals make up about half of all direct human caloric intake as bread or cooked rice, for exampleand perhaps two-thirds if account is taken of the large quantities of cereals that are fed to animals to produce meat, milk, and eggs.