Flashcards in ECOSYSTEMS L4- Food Production Deck (23):
What was the Green Revolution?
Sparked agricultural improvements between 1940-60.
This involved the development of technologies such as fertilisers, pesticides and GM seeds.
Where was the Green Revolution successful?
Highly successful in Asia, but not Africa
Where does the problem of food production lie?
The World Bank and UN have shown that we produce enough calories for everybody.
BUT the problem is not in production- it is in the uneven distribution.
How many people remain chronically under-nourished worldwide?
Nearly 1 billion (UN)
What is the fuel vs food debate?
There is an increasing demand for biofuel to reduce dependancy on oil. This has been blames for the increase in food prices worldwide.
Example- the EU has a target of producing 10% of fuel from biofuels by 2020
What are the issues with food production?
1) Growing population
2) Water scarcity
3) Limited land
5) Climate change
6) Rising costs of fertilisers
7) Decline in soil fertility
How much food is wasted?
30-40% of perishable crops are lost after harvest in developing countries.
10-16% of the global harvest is lost to disease.
In the UK, 19% of food and drink is thrown away.
World hunger has been increasing since 1996.
925 million people are chronically undernourished.
800 million of which live in developing countries.
What is the contradiction in world hunger?
There are higher levels of obesity worldwide than undernourishment.
In 2008, 1.5 billion adults were classed as being overweight.
WHO have identified this as a global epidemic.
What are the potential solutions to lack of food?
2) Novel food production (insects or cultured meat)
What types of GMO exist? (Houses of Parliament, 2011)
1) Transgenic (genes from different species)
2) Cisgenic (genes from the same species)
What characteristics are produced in GM crops? (Houses of Parliament, 2011)
1) Insect resistance
2) Herbicide tolerance
3) Virus resistance
4) Drought resistance
5) Longer shelf life
6) Nutritional enhancement
Where are GM crops produced? (Houses of Parliament, 2011)
90% of production is found in the US, Brazil, Argentina, India and Canada
Only 1 GM crop is licensed for production in the EU- Amflora starch potato.
What are the arguments against GMO production? (Houses of Parliament, 2011)
1) Impacts on gene flows- mixing with non GM crops could potentially create unforeseen externalities
2) Environmental risks- monocultures are extremely vulnerable to disease etc.
3) The economic benefits are not always visible in comparison to non GM crops
4) Potential impacts on human health
What are the options for novel food production? (Houses of Parliament, 2015)
1) Edible insects
2) Cultures meat
How are edible insects an option for novel food production? (Houses of Parliament, 2015)
At least 1,900 species are safe for human consumption.
The protein and nutritional value of insects broadly resembles meat.
Insects are more efficient at turning feed into biomass.
Insect rearing produces less GHGs and ammonia per/kg
What are the arguments against insect production for food? (Houses of Parliament, 2015)
1) Current production lines in Europe are labour intensive- the development of technology is required to make the process more efficient
2) There is potential for carry-over of heavy metals from contaminated feed during rearing
3) There is a cultural view that insects are disgusting- this is deeply rooted in Western society
How is cultured meat an option for novel food production? (Houses of Parliament, 2015)
Analysis has suggested that lab grown meat could sustainable reduce energy, land and water use.
BUT, this requires more testing!
What are the arguments against cultured meat an option for novel food production? (Houses of Parliament, 2015)
1) Upscaling of the industry could theoretically be achieved, but it would require substantial investment
2) It is unclear whether consumers would buy cultured meat
What are the current concerns associated with agricultural production? (Hazell, 2008)
70% of diarrhoea cases are due to contaminated food
Agriculture is a hazardous occupation- 170,000 people die p/year
20,000 people die p/year as a result of pesticides
Deforestation and degradation are major concerns
Water depletion, soil degradation and climate change
Despite the green revolution, over 500 million people in Asia go hungry
Africa's agricultural production has stagnated over the last 20 years
What are the global drivers of agricultural change? (Hazell, 2008)
1) INTERNATIONAL TRADE
Agricultural trade has increased 10 fold since the 1960s
This has involved the liberalisation of markets which has created increased competition for agricultural commodities.
Now the markets are dominated by large trading companies- many developing countries cannot compete with the quality or prices of theses companies.
2) LOW PRICES
Due to the liberalisation of markets, prices have been driven down due to competition.
Simultaneously, OECD countries have subsidised their own production to make them more competitive on the global market- this has had a negative effect on local producers in LICs.
3) HIGH ENERGY PRICES
In mechanised farming systems, this may encourage more efficient practices.
BUT in developing countries, this could lead the further soil erosion, deforestation and solid fuel use.
What are the regional drivers of agricultural change? (Hazell, 2008)
1) INCOME AND URBANISATION
As income increases, farms become bigger, more commercial and specialised.
Many smaller farms disappear, whilst others may adopt a smaller niche.
2) SHIFT IN PUBLIC POLICY
SAPS introduced by the IMF in the 1980s meant that the state in developing countries was removed from providing direct market functions to farmers.
This was meant to create opportunities in the private sector.
BUT, the private sector has failed to fill this void which has made it difficult for small farmers (this makes up 80% of farms in Asia and Africa).