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A bitter
reality which has confronted us is that food is essential for our nourishment
and growth but ironically it has become sparse from which various problems for
the survival of our specie stem have resulted. Lack of food has spearheaded
predicaments and complications like wars, famine and starvation coupled with
malnourished populace in parts of world like Somalia in Africa. There have been
numerous causes which have inflicted and afflicted the world with food
shortages. Arable land plays a very cardinal role in its share of these causes.
With the increasing global population there has also been a surge in food
demands. This inturn has supplemented the demand for land for utilizing it in
various manners like shelter etc.This problem still hasn’t got a lasting solution
that how to tackle these challenges along with managing land.

The current world population of 7.4 billion is projected to increase by
1 billion over the next 12 years and reach 9.6 billion by 2050.(i)This
means that world would have to feed 9 billion people by 2050yet the demand for
food will be 60% greater than it is today. Food prices have doubled causing 850
million people to go to bed hungry each night. (ii)Food security is
a big priority for all countries, whether developing or developed, as everybody
needs food. This is
a global challenge because it’s not just about food and feeding people but also
about practically all aspects of an economy and society. Africa is expected to
double its population from 1 billion to 2 billion till 2050. (iii)

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Land is the
basic requirement for the production of food. Today the world has 21% of arable
land available out of all the land we have. (iv)As a matter of fact,
not all the land used in agriculture produces food for human. This means that crop
produced is not always intended to feed people but for many other purposes,
such as feeding animals. For example, corn has the honor of being the largest
crop grown in the U.S., but as much as 40 percent of the corn U.S. farmers grown
is turned into corn ethanol, which is used as an oxygenate in the gasoline for
your car. More is used to feed livestock, and in the end only about 12 percent
of it ends up as corn chips or high fructose corn syrup. With this in mind it
cannot be specified that how many people are fed upon how much of land, for
much part of the food grown goes wasted.Americans end up throwing away a lot of
food — 26 percent of vegetables, 24 percent of fruits waiting to be eaten and,
overall, 14 percent of all the food we buy.(v)As much as 50% of all
food produced in the world ends up as waste every year according to figures
from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.(vi)This means managing
food and preventing it to end up as waste is another obstacle towards reaching
a better fed world.

The world
has lost a third of its arable land due to erosion or pollution in the past 40
years.New research has calculated that nearly 33% of the world’s adequate or
high-quality food-producing land has been lost at a rate that far outstrips the
pace of natural processes to replace diminished soil. (vii)The
growing population also contributes in the loss of arable land, as much of the
arable land gets consumed in by the building of new housing schemes at large
areas, result is less land availability. The luxurious accommodation services
with houses which occupy massive lands accommodate a family of four or slightly
more only, where it can benefit many by giving out crop from its fertile soil.
This large scale land consumption for accommodation purposes is absurd.

Moreover,
the climatic conditions throughout the world are not favorable for our fertile
soils, being another reason for arable land losses. Deserts actually make up
33%, or 1/3rd of the land’s surface area. (viii)

 

Cropland

Rangeland

Forest

Globally

Degrading land

20%

20-25%

42%

24%

(ix)

 

Together with that, fewer people are choosing farming as an occupation. In developed countries, less than 2%
of people grow crops or breed animals for food.  Meanwhile, food prices are rising, arable land continues to be lost to sprawl and soil
is being degraded by over-farming. Water scarcity is another impending
crisis;28% of agriculture lies in water-stressed regions. It takes roughly
1,500 liters of water to produce a kilogram of wheat, and about 16,000 liters
to produce a kilogram of beef. Food production is already responsible for 70%
of the world’s water consumption. 

Consider
India. Agriculture accounts for 18% of the economy’s output and 47% of its workforce.
India is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world. Yet
according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations,
some 194 million Indians are undernourished and lack the basic food
requirements, which is the largest number of hungry people in any single
country. An estimated 15.2% of the population of India is too malnourished to
lead a normal life. A third of the world’s malnourished children live in India.(x)If
such conditions can be seen in a big food producing country, the status of
developing poor countries is even worse.

Equally
important, famines today are threatening countries like Malawi, Mozambique, and
Swaziland, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Zambia, and Mauritania. Also, a civil war has led
to the same situation in Sudan and newly independent South Sudan which is
internally devastated with disputes and corruption. An estimated 221,000 tons
of food aid is required to meet the needs of populace of Angola, another
African nation (xi), and according to Medecins sans Frontieres at
least 1.5 million people are suffering from acute malnutrition in Angola.

The question
is will the world be able to overcome this crisis? Considering the present
situation, it seems almost impossible to do so. So would that mean that our
future generations will have to starve to death, just because of our
carelessness? Not really; if the world strives hard today it may be possible
for our coming generations to live a nutritious life.

Solutions
would not be easy to sort out; addressing this unparalleled confluence of
events will require extraordinary leadership. A solution can be to improve
yields per land occupied. The average African farmer uses one tenth as much
fertilizer as her westernized counterpart. She—most are female—applies little
or no pesticide or fungicide to her crops, and her soil has been so over tilled
that her annual yields are woefully puny.History repeatedly has shown that
better farming techniques can help alleviate shortages. Through the use of
technology, each farmer is able to feed 155 people today, compared to 1940,
when one farmer could feed only 19 people. Farmers use technologies such as
motorized equipment, modified housing for animals and biotechnology, which
allow for improvement in agriculture. Better technology has allowed farmers to
feed more people and now fewer people are requireworking on farms to feed their
families.(xii)

Biotechnology,
in the sense of rapid development of plant varieties, will play a central role
in feeding the world this century.In the short
term, farmers in the developed world are likely to be attracted by high prices
and try to grow more staple crops. In Europe, Brussels has abolished set-aside,
the practice of paying farmers to leave land fallow, and the signs are that
Europe’s farmers will grow 13 per cent more cereals this year. (xiii)

Accordingly, distributing land among its different needs and specifying
land only for agricultural purposes would ameliorate the conditions. Looking
back towards Pakistan’s green revolution between the years 1958 to 1969, under
the rule of Ayub Khan; such reforms were introduced regarding agricultural
lands that Pakistan’s annual revenue increased to 7% which was three times more
than India at that time. A law can be very affective towards a country’s
progress, be it agricultural progress. If countries enforce laws which
particularize land for cultivation, more food would be produced for people
within the country. Eventually, more food will be available for the rapidly
increasing population and there would be fewer imports which would further lead
to reduction in food prices.

The situation is there is less land left for
food cultivation, because of above mentioned reasons. Land reclamation could be a solution.
Hundreds of square kilometers are added onto China each year, as coastlines are
extended farther and farther out to sea. Massive amounts of land are being
reclaimed to build new cities, ports, resorts, and industrial zones. Hong Kong
has been reclaiming land since the 1860s. The surface area of Macau has been
increased 1,000 per cent with artificial land. In the current era, cities all
across China are creating new land to develop for urbanization initiatives –
and the profits are huge. Large-scale “land manufacturing” projects are
currently underway all the way up and down China’s 18,000km of coastline.(xiv)
Similar land reclamation projects along with these would contribute in
providing space for cultivation.

In addition, another way towards making land accessible for
farming maybe using the land we have in such a way that less could serve more
people. This could be a possibility if improved fertilizers and techniques be
used to improve the yield, so that less land could provide more food. Another
could be, building vertically rather than horizontally; this means more stories
could provide shelter to more people while occupying less land. If sites are
built horizontally it would consume much land than necessary; vertical
buildings would save us land, be it less, but it would be some improvement.
Every step counts.

The growth of supply needed for the future—about 2 percent annually—has
to come mainly from available farmland to avoid an overly negative impact on
fragile ecosystems. This requires finance, investments, innovation, and
knowledge to improve the yields at existing farmlands. The yield gap between
what’s needed and what’s being produced is still very high.(xv)

More advantageous solutions are only confined to attainment of global
unity and synergy and we must synergize for a fruitful future which will be
yielding merriments for every nation. The disparity and discrepancy between the
expected production and actual production is strong.

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