Soon after the second world war food as well as fiber productivity increased worldwide due to the introduction of new farming technologies, mechanization, specialization as well as government intervention. However, despite these positive changes as well as reduced risk in food shortage globally the costs of adopting the aforementioned factors was considerably high. Topsoil degradation, economic as well as social conditions in rural societies, increased production costs, in addition to underground water contamination posed the biggest threat in reference to agricultural sustainability after the war (Zollitsch, 495). This consequently reduced the intensity of farm production to a level, which would help future generations; nonetheless, over the same period, the global population has increased exponentially and with global climatic changes, there is a significant threat for the world having food shortage in the near future. With such changes the defining question remains, if the current production can feed the future population and if the current farming practices can do this more so sustainably.
Global Food Crisis.
The Second World War saw an increase in the use of technology as well as machinery by the end of the war. The primary forces involved in WW2 had made considerable movements in the manufacturing industry and after the war; these efforts were directed towards agriculture (Considine and Glenn, 1003). Consequently, with such an increase in assets employed in framing production increased considerably. However, almost a century later the world is facing a food crisis. It is stated that the increase in food supply after the world war was greatly supported by the increase in machinery; for instance, factories that made tanks soon changed their view to manufacturing tractors, combine harvesters as well as other heavy farming machineries. In addition to this, the use of chemicals and work force was also introduced in large amounts significantly causing a boom in farming. On the other hand, farming gradually became expensive and the use of chemicals similarly resulted in increasing liabilities in producing high farming produce. It was later decided that for future generations to gain from the land agriculture would have to be more sustainable. This move reduced farming produce; however, at the time there was no sign of a food crisis. With a sprawling world population, being highlighted today and an increase in unpredictable weather changes on a global level, it is evident that the current population is in a significant struggle to match farming production and need.
According to a 2014 report published by the United Nations World Food Program an estimated 795 million individuals of the total global population are suffering from food malnutrition. In reference to this statistic, one out of every nine individuals in the world do not acquire the required amount of food that would allow them to live healthy lives (Andrew, Lynn, and Troy, 43). In addition to this, the WFP states that of the total number that was mentioned earlier 700 million individuals come from developing nations. From this information, it can be explained that currently the total global food production is not sufficient to feed the global population.
When referring to the topic of agriculture feeding the future population, the topic presented by Thomas Malthus becomes highly relevant. Malthus stated that without proper control, the population growth would rise at a rate faster than food production and eventually the food crisis in the future would be a reality. The current population trajectory suggests that from 2016 to 2030 an equivalent of a city of a million individuals would need to be built in developing nations after every week in order to make sure people live in an urban setting (Wolfgang, Warren, and Sergei, 126). The need for this is to free more land for farming as farmers will need to produce more food per unit of land, Agrochemicals as well as water. Additionally, more complication in the form of climate change, shifting nutritional needs as well as the increasing scarcity of other physical production measures suggest that the process of increasing production is not expected to be simple. Currently agriculture is on the verge of a paradigm shift and this is a significant factor in determining how the future generation will solve the current food crisis (Gurbir and Navreet, 39).
It is projected that by 2050 the global population will have an additional 2.3 billion individuals in addition to the 7 billion, with the highest increase in population expected to happen in developing countries. The alarming fact about this projection is that these areas are currently known to have significant cases of communities suffering from food insecurity, extreme poverty and consequently malnutrition (Andrew, Lynn, and Troy, 125). With such predictions being highlighted by different individuals from dissimilar school of thoughts; it would suggest that for over 90 percent of the future generation to be well fed, there will be a need to increase agricultural production by over eight times over the next 40 years than the past half century. This raises the concern of sustainability.
Sustainable agriculture if a form of farming that is set on correlating with the ecosystem forming a steady relationship between organisms as well as the environment (Raman, 12). This form of agriculture incorporates three main objectives, namely economic health, economic value as well as social and economic equity among different farming regions (Gurbir and Navreet, 45). However, In reference to the above mentioned issue of food crisis the idea of sustainable agriculture may be more based on one particular objective which is the increase of production without adversely affecting the environment. In other words, the current agricultural trajectory requires the same results of farming production after the Second World War; however, with reduced economical as well as ecological costs. In order to achieve these the following issues have to be addressed (Gilbert, 189).
Fuel efficiency in respect to agricultural sustainability refers to the percentage use of energy outputs in the entire farming process in contrast to the fossil fuel inputs. A reduction in the use of fossil fuels in the creation of biofuel as well as a decrease in chemical use in farming would increase fuel efficiency (Bundschuh and Guangnan, 132). Additionally, the development of fuel-efficient combustion engines similarly decreases farming costs considering such practices such as cultivation that use tractors and other processes that use heavy machinery are a significant part of farming. In an example, Lund (54) states that the use of diesel engines in farming input guarantee reduction in farming costs.
Since the early 1980s, when the threat of a food crisis in the future will became more probable the use of diesel engines have been a focus of improving fuel efficiency and increasing agricultural sustainability. A particular consideration when considering fuel efficiency in farming one has to understand that a high amount of the cost is accounted for by the use of machinery, which have internal combustion units that are based on power and not cost cutting (Janaun and Naoko, 1312). However, due to sustainability issues a new kind of diesel engines have been developed with an improved thermal efficiency of 20% from what is expected from normal power units that usually have 37% efficiency. For the future to have more fuel efficient and high performance machinery, more has to be done to improve the engines; nonetheless the current technology is promising (1314).
Agriculture is one of the most significant contributors to global warming as its production of greenhouse gasses (GHG) surpasses that of vehicles and trains combined (Diesendorf, 16). GHG emissions are reported to be present in all stages of the food system: Pohekar and Ramachandran (116) states that the generation of the gasses are either expensed directly from the food production as well as in the production of nitrogen fertilizers or distribution of foodstuffs. It is estimated that direct agricultural production consumes up to560 GW or 17.7 EJ, which is 4% of the world’s fossil energy. In addition to these gasses such as methane, nitrogen oxide as well as phosphorus oxide is produced in other agricultural procedures, making this a high GHG emitter considering beyond far gates other gasses are exhausted in transport, preparation as well as storage. On the other hand, emissions from livestock manures as well as fisheries are somewhat modest majorly being associated with vessels and feeds. With such numbers highlighted, it is clear that an increase in food production to feed the future generation would mean increased GHG emissions. Today, such emissions are being reduced with the introduction of bio-fuels that reduce exhaust emissions from farm machinery, the introduction of highly productive natural manures as well as manures, and gas storage technology has seen the reduction such emissions. The amount of dangerous gasses emitted in the farming process producing one ton of cereals is currently cut down by about 50% (Lund, 67). However, not all farmers have adapted to these new technologies. For future agricultural practices to be efficient while maximizing production a higher number of farmers will be required to change their technologies, suggesting a safer way of reaching high production with minimal environmental damage.
The concept of bio-diversity has always been set to explain the use of farming methods that are positive to the ecosystem (MacRae, 12). This being mentioned the idea of biodiversity has been set to finding natural ways of increasing food production. However, as stated by a research team from MIT shows that with increasing climate change as well as nutrient requirement, it is complex to employ the normal processes of biodiversity. Consequently, these would suggest the use of genetically modified crops, which are more adaptable to climate change as well as rich in nutrients that are highly in demand for future generations. The research team at MTI states that most of the GM food being developed currently to be used in areas of limited crop production this subsequently is based on increasing production in areas where biodiversity is inefficient. For example, Monsanto Company one of the four leading companies in GM food development has developed a grain of maize seed that grows under conditions of minimal rain and matures faster while providing the nutrients as the ordinary maize seeds used today in sub-Saharan Africa.
The use of GPS as well as other weather monitoring was not used after the world war since the weather patterns were more predictable than what the world experiences today. Approximately 35% of the reduced production of crops seen today in areas of high production is because of unpredictable weather patterns globally (Raman, Saroja, 134). The use of GPS systems as well as satellites orbiting the globe the chances of growing the right crop in reference to weather conditions reduces seed wastage and aids in ground preparation.
In conclusion, over the years the globe has consistently been affected by a lack of food production that would be used to feeding the global population. During the early 1980, the population of the world as well as other factors showed that the future generations would have a problem in reference to food security. The 2008 price shift similarly highlighted in this issue. Thomas Malthus theory is currently a reality with a high population of individuals not having enough food to keep them healthy. There is a need for farmers throughout the world to increase the production of crops in order to feed the future. Several issues have already been addressed currently to make sure this is possible. Fuel efficiency in the development of better combustion fuels as well as bio-fuel will enable high produce with limited use of fuel. In addition to this, the reprocessing of GHG into other uses for instance methane used as fuel have controlled emissions. In addition to this, the improvement of GM crops as well as the precision agriculture suggests that the future generations have a high probability of being well taken care of by agricultural yields.
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