Population And Food The United Nations projects that the global population, currently at 6 billion, will peak at about 10 billion in the next century and then stabilize or even decline.(popindex.Princeton.edu) A question immediately following the statement, can the Earth feed that many people? It is understood that even if food crops increase sufficiently, other renewable resources, including many fisheries and forests, are already under pressure. Our food production doubled from 1961 to 1994, but there are still people who go hungry. (popindex.Princeton.edu) This is because the human population has increased more rapidly than the food production. One of the well-known economists Thomas Robert Malthus claimed that there was an imbalance between population growth and our ability to produce food. In his famous work, An Essay on the Principle of Population, his principle of population was based on three main points: population cannot increase without the means of subsistence; population invariable increases when the means of subsistence are available; and the superior power of population cannot be checked without producing misery or vice. When taking into account Malthuss principle of population it is evident that his fundamental analysis of population has been proven right. Since the earths resources are finite, when human population increases, it affects human beings. Will there be a problem if population keeps increasing? Rapid population growth and the technical development of society have led to difficulties for farmers worldwide to maintain this dual compatibility.
In fact, today farmers face demands for a high productivity as well as environmentally sound, sustainable farming practices. Some economists believe human beings have the ability to produce enough food to feed all the people in the world, but according to Malthuss theory, this cannot happen. When the number of people keeps increasing while the amount of available food stays the same or even declines, human beings will face a scarcity of resources and overpopulation in the world. This is what happening right now. According to a well known biologist-Paul R.
Ehrlich, who said The amount of food available restrains the size of any animal population, unless space, disease, predators, or some other factor sets lower limits(Ehrlich, 66). What he means is that food production is an element that control our population growth, this is because people cannot survive without food. When his idea is observed, it is evident that his idea is similar to Malthuss principle of population. Malthus stated, there is an imbalance between our ability to produce food and our ability to produce children.(Malthus 80) He said human beings are far better at making babies than are at finding food for survival. This problem, exists in all past and present societies, and must also exist in any future society as well. Therefore Malthus and Paul both agreed that the population could not increase without an increase of food. Without an excessive population, the worlds fertile land can produce enough food, or even excess food. There will be a sufficient amount of natural resources reserve of human beings.
Therefore the faster the population increases; the more resources will be used. When population keeps increasing, earth environment will be put into greater danger, the overexploitation of natural resources will continue and poverty will rise in most of the world countries. It is because more people consume more food and more resources to keep their needs. As a result, if there is not enough food, human population will decline. Malthus stated, the power of population to grow was indefinitely greater than the power of the earth to produce subsistence. (Malthus, 70) He also said that there was a difference between population growth and food supply. (msumusik.mursuky.edu/~felwell/http/malthus/index) The difference is that the population increases by a geometric progression but the amount of subsistence increases by arithmetic progression. When Malthus wrote his principle in 1798, he already predicted that in the future, the population would exceed the amount of food.
This is because population grows according to the geometric progression (1, 2, 4, 8, 16.), and the means of subsistence grows according to the arithmetic progression (1, 2, 3, 4.) When our population exceeds the amount of food, people who cannot get food will experience hunger. As the human numbers increase, deterioration of water quality and destruction of animal and plant communities increase too. Water pollution has been partly caused by population growth. Humans consumed, stored and diverted water and used it to carry away wastes without regard to health or ecological consequences. Therefore, overpopulation not just threatens food supply, but also water supply.
As human numbers continue to rise, they create needs for land for purposes other than the production of food. Among these are urbanization and transportation. Each of these sectors claims cropland in almost every country. When the world population is examined, it is found that human population is increasing rapidly. Population growth has expanded greatly over the last 500 years, as larger numbers of people needed more food supplies and commodities from natural resources and agricultural activities, more and more people occupied bigger land spaces in big urban areas.
Population growth in todays world, therefore, plays a vital role to changes in the land. It is also found that 90% of the world population growth is occurring in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In the United States, the natural increase is about 0.6 percent a year, while the total population growth is around 1%.(fao.org.docrep/meeting/) The reason why developing countries like Africa and Latin America have a higher population growth because the majority of their population still under a low standard of living. The quality of life reached by traditional farming systems is low compared with that of modem western agricultural systems – short life span, low level of education, and absence of social services, etc. They need more children to work on the farm and earn extra income.
Children are also born for the security of their parent age, as life expectancy is high. According to the1998 report of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United, studies have shown that overall, developing countries experienced higher output growth over 1994 to1998 than the developed countries. The developing countries having experienced an increase in per capital food production represent 77% of the developing country population.(fao.org.docrep/meeting/X1729) However, some developing country regions like Africa South of Sahara, has suffered a decline in per capital terms over the 1994 to 1998 because of high rates of population growth. (fao.org/docrep/meeting/X1729e.htm#P874159) Even though Africa has increased food production, their population grows faster than their food production. The most productive and progressive agricultural systems are those of the industrialized countries, with slow or no population growth. While in many developing countries, agricultural production is kept with the rapid grow of population. What happened in Africa proves Malthus theory is correct.
He stated that there is a difference between the population growth and the food supply, population increases in geometric progression, and food supply increases in arithmetic progression. As a result, people in Africa starve because they have such a high population. Rwanda has about 5.9 million people in 1995, has produce …