Saturday, May 03, 2008

Global trends in agriculture - part I

World agriculture is in dire straits.. The cost of foodgrains is increasing day by day. There is scarcity of food grains all over the world. It is estimated that by 2020, we will be burning 400 tonnes of foodgrains a year for producing biofuel !!

It is high time we seriously thought of the crisis about to grip this world.

There are some threats and trends which are being observed in the world agriculture scenario. It makes sense to understand these threats and trends completely and figure out ways to circumvent the damaging effects of these trends.

The first threat is definitely the threat of feeding an increasing world population from the limited arable land on this earth. By 2050, we will need to feed almost 9 billion people in this world, up from the present 6 billion. With less land, less water and less nutrients staring at us on the face, we should be doubling the crop output across the world.
Rapid industrialisation happening in major countries of the world is the second threat - When this rapid indutrialisation happens in two of the most populous countries of the world, one can imagine the problems it can result in. The other day I was totally taken aback with a statement from the US Secretary of State, Ms. Rice that the present food shortage of the world is the result of the changed food habits of the people in India and China. Changing food prefereneces, higher purchasing power, demand for better quality food, can all put greater strain on the countries exporting food grains.

The third threat is the pressure on global water resources, environment and natural resources - With increasing urbanisation and industrialisation, the global water resources ar being diverted from the environment and farmlands. The threatend species of flora and fauna who share this planet earth with us are strained to having to live in reduced land mass and with lesser resources.

The fourth trend is th growing demand of biofuels resulting in foodgrains getting diverted to the more profitable biofuels industry, leading to food shortages and increases in food prices.

Threat of climate change on productivity of land : with the global climate chnging presure is on the existing land mass to produce more. With climate changes adversely affecting us, land productivity is decreasing.

(to be continued..)

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