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Feed The World

We’ve never been better able to feed the world | The Times

Matt Ridley

Forget scare stories about rising population and record food prices, we can now grow more crops on less land
The person who tips the world population above seven billion may be born this year. The world food price index hit a record high last month, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation. Bad harvests in Russia and Australia, combined with rising oil prices, have begun to cause shortages, export bans and even riots. Does starvation loom?
No. Never has the world looked less likely to starve. Never have our grandchildren looked more likely to feed well. Never has famine been less widespread. Never has the estimated future peak of the world’s population been lower.

Matt Ridley normally puts his paywalled articles up on his own site so keep an eye out for this one. UPDATE Now Here Or for a more pessimistic view you can turn to the Telegraph

How can we feed 9 billion? - Telegraph The world’s population is set to soar in the coming decades – but food supplies are already under pressure. Meanwhile, Britain and Europe have turned their backs on a great agricultural revolution, Clive Aslet writes .... a report by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers this week says that the world's infrastructure is alarmingly stressed ..If the food supply is wobbling now, most people prefer not to think about what it could be like in 2050. By then, there will be another 2.5 billion open mouths, as the global population bursts its corset and balloons outwards by 70 per cent. Will they have anything to eat? Can agriculture almost double its capacity? If everybody on the planet farmed as we do in Europe, the answer would probably be no. Europe has been scaremonger-in-chief over climate change, but when faced by the more immediate and quantifiable challenge represented by population growth, its response is a Gallic shrug.


Am I missing something, or is another 2.5 billion on top of 7 billion actually an increase of 36%?

I'm pretty much with Ross McEwan on the Telegraph view.

Wikipedia today gives the world human population as 6.89 billion. Increasing that by 30.6% gets us to 9 billion. However, the referenced article claims a 70% increase, and in the next-but-one sentence, calls this 'almost doubling'.

Best regards

There is a wide gulf betweeen what we can do and what we are doing. Does anyone believe that the wheat farms in Russia were farmed using best methods by knowledgable farmers with good equipment. I have no doubt that even given the weather conditions in Russia that the crop could have been doubled and perhaps quadrupled if they had 21st century farming methodology and equipment. Today Russia is rolling in cash from their oil revenues. They are choosing to rebuild their awesome military power instead of modernizing their food production system. You could fill an encyclopedia sized book with examples where a little education and equipment would double the crop harvest size.

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