Key issue 4 why does agriculture vary among regions
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Key Issue #4: Why does agriculture vary among regions?. Environmental Factors- Climate dictates what can be grown Middle East- pastoral nomads Africa- Shifting Cultivation China- Differences within the country U.S.- differences among growing and Cattle farming

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Key issue 4 why does agriculture vary among regions
Key Issue #4: Why does agriculture vary among regions?

  • Environmental Factors-

    • Climate dictates what can be grown

      • Middle East- pastoral nomads

      • Africa- Shifting Cultivation

      • China- Differences within the country

      • U.S.- differences among growing and Cattle farming

    • Religious and other environmental factors vary

      • Pork in Muslim countries

      • Wine in non Christian states

Economic issues
Economic Issues

  • Ester Boserup- population growth encourages subsistence farmers to consider new farming techniques to feed the people

    • Can be achieved in two ways:

      1. Land is left Fallow for shorter periods

      • Forest Fallow- Land is farmed for 2 years and left for 20

      • Bush Fallow- field is cleared and used for 7 and left for 10

      • Short Fallow- used for 2 and left for 2

      • Annual Cropping- used for a couple of months and then left for a couple; planting of roots and legumes

      • Multi-cropping- fields are used several times a year and never left fallow

        2. Adopting new farm methods

      • Plows, manure, terracing, labor, machinery

      • Problem is LDCs don’t always have $ to obtain these new technologies

Subsistence farming international trade
Subsistence Farming & International Trade

  • Many LDCs have to import machinery, fertilizer, high-yield seeds, etc. from developed countries

  • LDCs must produce something they can sell to developed countries to get funds to obtain these technologies

  • MDC will pay higher prices for crops that are out of season or cannot be grown in their climates (ex. coffee & tea)

  • More land used for cash crops = less land used for domestic consumption

  • $ raised from cash crops goes to feed people who grow them

Africa s food struggle
Africa’s Food Struggle

  • Threat of famine: Horn of Africa & the Sahel

  • Farmers overplant & herd size increases with rapid pop. Growth

  • Overgrazing, deforestation, desertification occur due to overuse of land and increased herd size

  • To keep food affordable the gov’t keeps ag. prices low, creating little profit for farmers

  • No incentive for increased production due to little profit

Drug crops usually distributed by ldc why
Drug crops- Usually distributed by LDC, Why?

  • Coca leaf- predominantly found in South America; Columbia, Peru and Bolivia

  • Marijuana- Mexico

  • Opium- Asia; Afghanistan (90%), India, Myanmar, Laos

  • Cocaine & Heroin are 2 leading dangerous drugs

    • Cocaine used most widely in USA

    • Heroin used most widely in Europe

Food prices worldwide
Food Prices Worldwide

  • 21st century food prices have more than doubled

  • Consequently agricultural land prices have increased as well

  • UN attributes record high prices to 4 factors:

    • Poor weather

    • Higher demand (ex. India & China)

    • Smaller growth in productivity

    • Use of crops as biofuels

Luckiest Nut

Challenges for farmers in developed countries
Challenges for Farmers in Developed Countries

Access to markets

Distance from the farm to the market influences what is produced


Suffer low incomes b/c they can produce more than what is needed

New seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, equipment, etc. have enabled farmers to obtain greater yield per area of land

Ex. # of dairy cows decreased but milk output increased

Demand is stagnant in MDC b/c low pop. growth

U s gov t polices
U.S Gov’t polices

  • Plant fallow crops like clover to restore nutrients & keep soil erosion down

  • Gov’t pays farmers when certain commodity prices are low

    • Set a target price & pay farmers the difference btw. the price they receive at market and the target price

    • Gov’t buys surplus production and sells or donates to foreign countries

    • Developed regions like N. America & Europe are encouraged to produce less, while LDCs struggle to increase food production to match increasing pop.

Von thunen model for agriculture
Von Thunen Model for Agriculture

  • The basic premise of von Thünen’s model is that the more perishable and difficult to ship something, the closer it will be to the market.

  • introduced in The Isolated State by Johann Heinrich Von Thünen in 1826 to help explain the importance of proximity to market in the choice of crops on commercial farms. A rough schematic is reproduced below:

The application of von thunen today
The Application of Von Thunen Today

Even though the Von Thunen model was created in a time before factories, highways, and even railroads, it is still an important model in geography.

The Von Thunen model is an excellent illustration of the balance between land cost and transportation costs.

As one gets closer to a city, the price of land increases.

The farmers of the “Isolated State” balance the cost of transportation, land, and profit and produce the most cost-effective product for market.

Of course, in the real world, things don't happen as they would in a model.

The green revolution in agriculture
The GreenRevolutionin Agriculture

Key issue 4 why does agriculture vary among regions

  • Green Revolution

    • The term green revolution refers to the development and adoption of high yielding cereal grains in the less developed world during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Very large short term gains in grain output have allowed food supplies to grow faster than populations, until very recently.

Key issue 4 why does agriculture vary among regions

  • Gains were made by:

    • Dwarf varieties: plants are bred to allocate more of their photosynthetic output to grain and less to vegetative parts.

    • Planting in closer rows, allowed by herbicides, increases yields.

    • Bred to be less sensitive to day length, thus double-cropping is more plausible.

    • Very sensitive to inputs of fertilizer and water.

Key issue 4 why does agriculture vary among regions

  • Biotechnology

    • Potential Benefits of Genetic Engineering of Crops

    • Increased Yields

    • Increased Nutritional Value in Some Staple Crops (e.g., Vitamin A added to Rice)

    • Strong Political Resistance in Europe and Among Environmentalists Worldwide

    • Concerns about Long Term Safety and Risks

Key issue 4 why does agriculture vary among regions

Agricultural revolutions
Agricultural Revolutions

Technology allows much greater production (surplus) with less human labor, but often has high social and environmental costs.

  • Metal plows, Reapers, Cotton Gin

  • Tractors (Internal Combustion Engine)‏

  • Combines

  • Chemical Pesticides/Fertilizers

  • Hybrid Crops

  • Genetically-modified Crops

Sustainable agriculture
Sustainable Agriculture

  • Sustainable agriculture- the ag practice that preserves and enhances environmental quality.

  • Three methods are used: more sensitive land management, limited use of chemicals, & integrated crop and livestock

    • Ridge tillage- the system of planting crops on ridge tops to lower production costs and conserve soil quality

    • Better integration of crops and livestock.

    • Limited or no herbicides to control weeds

Ethical issues
Ethical Issues

  • Starvation of many prevented, but extra food may lead to higher birth rates.

  • Life expectancy in less developed countries increased by 10 years in less than two decades (43 in 1950’s to 53 in 1970’s).

  • Dependency on core countries increased; rich-poor gap increased.

  • Wealthy farmers and multinational companies do well, small farmers become wage labourers or unemployed – dependent.

  • More at risk? More people malnourished/starving today than in 1950 (but lower as a percentage).

  • U.S. spends $10,000,000,000 year on farm subsidies, damaging farmers and markets in LDCs.

Why do people starve
Why do people starve?

  • Drought/desertification

  • Warfare

    • The army marches on its stomach

  • Food preferences/ cultural practices

    • India

  • Delivery systems

  • Issue of credit

  • Politics

    • North Korea

Key issue 4 why does agriculture vary among regions

Agricultural ‘Success’?

“Our incredible successes as a species are largely derived from this choice, but the biggest threats to our existence stem from the same decision.” Jared Diamond, 1999

  • Emergence of new human diseases from animal diseases (i.e. smallpox, measles)‏

    • Dense urban populations allow spread/persistence of disease

  • Lower standard of living for many people.

    • Archaeological evidence of serious mal-nourishment among early farmers.

    • Many modern impoverished and malnourished farmers.

    • Famine virtually non-existent in hunter-gatherer societies.

  • Increased susceptibility to plant blights and increased dependence on complex economic systems.

  • Environmental degradation

    • topsoil loss (75% in U.S.), desertification, eutrophication, PCBs in fish, DDT and other pesticides

Future challenges
Future Challenges

  • World Population Expected to Increase to 10-12 Billion Before Stabilizing

  • Food Production Already Exerting Extreme Environmental Pressures

    • 25% of All Greenhouse Gas Release in U.S. is from Agriculture. That’s more than all transport.

    • Much Soil is Already Badly Damaged

  • Developed Countries Still Undermining 3rd World Agriculture with Subsidies and Taxes

Key issue 4 why does agriculture vary among regions

The environment

Soil Erosion

Less then 2% left in the USA


Debt for nature swap

Key issue 4 why does agriculture vary among regions

Key issue 4 why does agriculture vary among regions

  • If money was not an issue how would you fix world hunger?

    • Please be specific

  • Would starvation on the planet be a Malthusian theory or Neo-Malthusian theory please defend your answer

  • Explain how core countries push periphery countries into illegal activity

    • How would you prevent this from happening

  • Do you agree with GMOs why or why not please defend your answer

Key issue 4 why does agriculture vary among regions