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Unit 3 Economic Issues. Food and Agricultural Issues. The Nature of Hunger. Famine: short term shortage of food caused by temporary failure of food production or food distribution that leads to starvation. famine is a result of: Natural Causes – drought (food production)

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Unit 3 economic issues

Unit 3 Economic Issues

Food and Agricultural Issues

The nature of hunger
The Nature of Hunger

  • Famine: short term shortage of food caused by temporary failure of food production or food distribution that leads to starvation.

    famine is a result of:

    • Natural Causes – drought (food production)

    • Human Causes – civil war (food distribution)

  • Starvation: extreme hunger that occurs over an extended period of time.

    lack of nutrients -> loss of energy -> body breaks down own tissue -> body mass declines

Unit 3 economic issues

  • Malnutrition: medical condition of poor health caused by a diet that includes too much, or too little, of one or more essential nutrients.

    • Both under nutrition (over 50 diseases) and over nutrition (obesity, high blood pressure) can contribute to a shorter life expectancy and poorer quality of life.

    • Figure 10-1 on page 147

    • Figure 10-2 on page 148

Unit 3 economic issues

  • Chronic Hunger: more than 850 million people world wide cannot grow or buy enough food and are undernourished. Seasonal hunger is when hunger occurs at a specific time of year due to agricultural or weather cycles.

    • Figure 10-3 on page 149

The geography of hunger
The Geography of Hunger

  • The Global Hunger Index ranks countries on three key indicators of hunger and shows the severity of hunger in countries around the world.

  • The three indicators are:

    • Portion of people who are food-energy deficient

    • Prevalence of underweight children under the age of 5

    • Under 5 mortality rate

  • See Figure 10-4 on page 149

  • http://www.ifpri.org/PUBS/ib/ib47/ib47map.asp

The nature of agriculture
The Nature of Agriculture

  • Few places have the perfect conditions for agricultural success:

    • Long growing season

    • Right amount of moisture

    • Rich soils

    • Level land

    • Right mix of biological conditions

Unit 3 economic issues

Types of agriculture
Types of Agriculture been able to make adjustments.

  • Subsistence farming is most common in the Periphery and some parts of the New Core.

    • Meets the immediate food needs of their families

    • Produce many products on small acreages

    • Any surplus is sold or traded to meet other family needs

Unit 3 economic issues

  • Cash-Crop farming been able to make adjustments.

    • produce only 1 or 2 products on large farms

    • Produce sold on open world and local markets

    • Farmers may not consume the products they produce

Intensive farming
Intensive Farming been able to make adjustments.

  • small amount of land

  • Large amount of labor and machinery

  • high inputs of fertilizer, pesticides, and water

  • High yield

  • Examples: fruit and vegetable farms, hog factory farms, feedlots

Extensive farming
Extensive Farming been able to make adjustments.

  • Relatively large amount of land

  • Limited amount of labor

  • Smaller inputs of fertilizers, pesticides, and water

  • Lower yields

  • Examples: wheat farms, ranching, mixed farms

The green revolution
The Green Revolution been able to make adjustments.

  • Began in 1943 when the Rockefeller Foundation set up an agricultural research station in Mexico.

  • Dr. Norman Borlaug and his colleagues wanted to develop high-yield varieties of wheat to increase food production in Mexico and the developing world.

  • The new wheat crops…

    • Are smaller, focus energy on growing seeds

    • Respond better to fertilizer, pesticides, and irrigation

    • Grow faster

  • The success of the research project lead research to develop high-yield varieties of rice.

Successes of the green revolution
Successes of the Green Revolution been able to make adjustments.

  • The Green Revolution reduced food-supply problems.

  • Developing countries were able to use more of their limited resources to develop social and economic programs.

  • The Green Revolution helped countries in the New Core and Periphery work through demographic transition.

Unit 3 economic issues

Concerns about the green revolution
Concerns About the Green Revolution 170% on the same amount of land.

  • The Green Revolution has boosted the world’s food production but there are still some concerns:

    • Costly - many poor farmers on small plots cannot afford fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation.

    • Loss of Genetic Diversity- if only 1 or 2 High Yield Varieties are planted and wiped out, the food supply is threatened.

    • Not Environmentally Sustainable– yield from HYV’s has dropped significantly in a few decades and the decrease in soil fertility cannot be made up entirely by adding chemical fertilizers.

Unit 3 economic issues

  • Self-Interest 170% on the same amount of land.- the creation of Western-style agriculture opened huge new markets for companies from the developed world.

  • Narrow Focus (land)- initially research was focused on areas with fertile soils and reliable rainfall. It did little to help the 71% of the continent that consists of arid and semi-arid areas.

  • Mechanization - increased mechanization reduced the number of agricultural jobs in developing countries.

Unit 3 economic issues

  • Narrow focus 170% on the same amount of land.(crops) – Focus on wheat, rice and maize. Did little to help poor countries with millet, sorghum, cassava and yams as the main staples.

Food production issues
Food Production Issues 170% on the same amount of land.

  • Dr. Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work but stated that the Green Revolution was only a “temporary success” and that it would only provide “breathing space” until population growth came under control.

  • Recently the world’s population has increased annually at 2.2%. Food production has increased at only 1.3%. The amount of good farm land is finite.

  • The Green Revolution peaked in the mid ‘80’s. Since then world production of wheat has steadily declined.

Biotechnology and farming
Biotechnology and Farming 170% on the same amount of land.

  • Swiss scientists spent more than 10 years and $150 million US to produce new varieties of rice that will provide sufficient amounts of vitamin A and iron.

  • Biotechnologists move desirable genes from one organism to another; plant to plant, animal to animal, and even from plant to animal and visa-versa.

  • This is not the same as selective or cross breeding.

Unit 3 economic issues

  • The new species created are called 170% on the same amount of land.genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

  • GMOs were created to resist certain herbicides, and to resist certain insects.

  • In 2006 there were 102 million hectares GMO crops grown in the world by 10.3 million farmers in 22 countries.

What s the benefit of gmos
What’s the Benefit of GMOs? 170% on the same amount of land.



  • Scientists took a gene from plants that were resistant to broad-spectrum herbicides and introduced it into soybeans and other crops.

  • The new crops could be sprayed with herbicides only as needed.

  • This cuts down on the amount of chemicals entering the environment.

  • Scientists took a gene from a soil bacteria, modified it, and introduced it into the plant.

  • The new plant releases a toxin to kill specific insects and yet is harmless to other insects, people and animals who eat the plant or it’s fruit.

  • This has reduced the amount of insecticides dramatically.

Concerns about biotechnology
Concerns about biotechnology 170% on the same amount of land.

  • Despite the impressive benefits to GMOs, they remain a very controversial topic and there are many concerns.

  • Super bugs– modified crops may result in the creation of pesticide resistant insects. These insects will flourish without competition for food.

Unit 3 economic issues

  • Super weeds 170% on the same amount of land.– herbicide resistant plants could develop in the same way as “super bugs”.

  • Who Owns what?- Charitable groups funded the Green Revolution to benefit the poor, but private companies are carrying out most GMO research.

Unit 3 economic issues

  • Terminator Technology 1 170% on the same amount of land.– plants genetically modified to produce sterile seeds. Seed companies make huge $ if a farmer is forced to buy new seed every year.

  • Terminator Technology 2- Critics fear that if it escapes into the gene pool the results could be catastrophic. Supporters feel that is impossible as the terminator gene cannot reproduce.

Unit 3 economic issues

  • Health Problems??? 170% on the same amount of land.– Not enough research has been done to prove the safety of transgenic food products; health problems could be an issue in the future.

  • Labeling– 70% of the products we buy at a supermarket contain genetically engineered food, but in North America, we don’t know it. Polls show that 85% of Canadians support mandatory labeling of GMOs

Other agricultural concerns
Other Agricultural concerns 170% on the same amount of land.

Loss of genetic diversity
Loss of Genetic Diversity 170% on the same amount of land.

  • When farmers stop raising the old varieties in favor of the new, the seeds and animal breeding lines are lost forever.

  • Some estimate 75% of crop diversity was lost last century.

  • This is obviously a major concern.

Land reform
Land 170% on the same amount of land.Reform

  • Land reform is the re-distribution of land from large landowners to small landowners, landless farm workers and sharecroppers.

  • Not the norm in most developing countries as it is very popular with the poor and very unpopular with the rich landowners.

  • Land ownership issues often result in conflict.

Role of women in agriculture
Role of Women in Agriculture 170% on the same amount of land.

  • In areas where food shortages are worst, women are responsible for most of the food production, but they have very little control, if any.

  • If women are empowered, the food supply in developing countries will increase.

Agricultural support policies
Agricultural Support Policies 170% on the same amount of land.

  • Designed by governments to protect the country’s agricultural economy by placing taxes and tariffs on imported goods or subsidizing certain domestic products.

  • The poor Periphery countries suffer the most from subsidies in Old Core Countries. They just can’t compete.

  • In 2004, US cotton farmers collected $4.9 billion in subsidies. They exported ¾ of their crop and controlled 40% of the world trade.

Monoculture 170% on the same amount of land.

  • Monoculture is a single crop being planted over a large area.

  • Monoculture …

    • depletes the soil of nutrients which increases the need for fertilizers.

    • relies heavily on pesticides.

    • reduces genetic diversity.

    • contributes to habitat destruction.

Corporate farming
Corporate Farming 170% on the same amount of land.

  • Corporate farming is the large-scale production of food on farms owned by corporations.

  • The term economies of scale means that an increase in the size of the operation causes a decrease in the cost of production.

  • Large-scale corporate farming is putting the smaller family farms out of business.

  • Vertical Integration is when a company operates at all stages of an economic activity, from producing a good to retailing it.

Unit 3 economic issues

  • Factory farms 170% on the same amount of land. are large-scale operations that produce high outputs at the lowest cost.

  • Processing of animals is on an assembly line basis

  • Animals are raised indoors and are fed and watered with quantities exactly measured to produce the greatest weight gain in the shortest time.

  • Factory Farm

The search for sustainable agriculture
The Search for Sustainable Agriculture 170% on the same amount of land.

  • Organic Farming is farming in which no herbicides, pesticides, antibiotics, or genetically modified products are used.

  • The distance food travels from field to table is referred to as food miles. This distance has a negative impact on the environment because of the use of and emissions of fossil fuels.