Words of Wisdom:

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing. Abraham Lincoln" - The_god_damned

Economist

  • Date Submitted: 08/29/2013 04:53 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 69.1 
  • Words: 553
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Anything for dinner?
Some of this public and political attention
has been sporadic, but it is justied. An era
of cheap food has come to an end. A com-
binati
on of factorsri
si
ng demand i
n Indi
a
and China, a dietary shift away from cere-
als towards meat and vegetables, the in-
creasing use of maize as a fuel, and devel-
opments outside agriculture, such as the
fall in the dollarhave brought to a close a
period starting in the early 1970s in which
the real price of staple crops (rice, wheat
and maize) fell year after year.  
This has come as a shock. By the 1990s
most agr
i
cultural problems seemed to
have been solved. Yields were rising, pests
appeared under control and fert
i
l
i
sers
were replenishing tired soil. The exciting
areas of research in life sciences were no
longer plants but things like
HIV/AIDS
.
The end of the era of cheap food has co-
inci
ded with growing concern about the
prospects of feedi
ng the world. Around the
turn of 2011-12 the global populati
on i
s fore-
cast to rise to 7 billion, stirring Malthusian
fears. The pr
ce r
ses have once aga
n
plunged into poverty millions of people
who spend more than half their income
on food. The numbers of those below the
poverty level of $1.25 a day
, whi
ch had
been falling consistently in the 1990s, rose
sharply in 2007-08. That seems to suggest
that the world cannot even feed its current
population, let alone the 9 bi
lli
on expected
by 2050. Adding further to the concerns is
climate change, of whi
ch agri
culture i
s
both cause and victim. So how will the
world cope in the next four decades?
That question forms the backbone of
this special report. The answer to it cannot
be a strai
ghtforward techni
cal or bi
ologi
cal
one because food i
s basi
c to li
fe. In the
Maya creati
on myth, the rst humans were
made of maize dough. In the slang of Ma-
rathi, a language of west central India, the
man on the street
s...

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