Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Feeding the World

Poor Gwynne Dyer someone should tell him that the world is overpopulated and we're all going to die nonsense has been out of style for some time. Unfortunately he wrote a panic piece just two months ago:
We are still living off the proceeds of the Green Revolution, but that hit diminishing returns twenty years ago. Now we live in a finely balanced situation where world food supply just about meets demand, with noreserve to cover further population growth. But the population will grow anyway, and the world's existing grain supply for human consumption isbeing eroded by three different factors: meat, heat and biofuels.
Hmm. Obviously Mr Dyer has no connection to anyone actually involved in agriculture. Farmers have been struggling with low commodity prices for the better part of a decade because of over supply.

Agriculture Canada has just released a discussion paper on this topic. One interesting observation from this is, "Since the 1950s, global food production has increased 250%, outpacing a global population increase of 135% over the same period."

The US government still pays land owners not to grow crops on marginal land as a means to limit supply.

Finally the "Green Revolution," which introduced modern farming techniques to developing countries, may be dwarfed by the GMO revolution, where genetically modified crops can be designed specifically for biofuels or increased yields or other desirable traits. Human innovation has proven itself, feeding the world will not be a problem, with demographic trends in many countries on a massive downward spiral, the question is not will there be enough food, but will there be enough people.


Michael said...

Good post. In the past, it was said that the world would only ever be able to support a population of around 200 million. needless to say thats wrong, given we have upwards of 6 billion. Our technology will always mean we can meet demand. The issue, as you say, is the lack of babies. Countries like Italy, Russia and Germany are in special trouble.

I have a new post over at my blog if you want to check it out. It's about how moonbats make excuses for communism.



Patrick O'Neil said...


Thanks for the note. I just spent a few minutes catching up on Western World Politics. I'm glad you've had more time to write. Work and preparations for Christmas can be demanding.

Merry Christmas,