Saturday, April 5, 2008

Global Grain Scarcity: Fatima Husain

Limited means, Unlimited Wants
By: Fatima Husain

For all the vegetarians (and crop pests) out there, bad news is about to hit very hard.

There has been a constant drop in the yield of agricultural products, bringing a worldwide shortage of food grains. This means, that in a few years time, Mother Nature will be struggling to provide agricultural products to even 1/3rd of the global population.

The factors responsible for this global “food crunch” are the constant change in peoples’ diets, global warming (climate change) and the ‘hunt’ for bio-fuels.

According to Britain’s largest opposition party, the Conservative, more people in India and China were switching towards the consumption of meat, which meant that farmers were turning towards rearing livestock and abandoning producing food grains, in order to fulfill the surging demand.

The Conservative Party continued that at the same time, the growing demand for bio-fuels was adding pressure to global agricultural production, because it required more arable land.

According to a British report, the per capita consumption of meat in China has risen from 20kg in the ‘80s to 50kg today.

Global warming and the change in the earth’s climate worldwide are causing a hindrance in the production and yield of crops.
Water tables in countries all around the globe are falling, which means the world will face a water crises and therefore food shortage.

The growing demand for bio-fuels by save-the-environment zealots has lead to an increase in the demand of food grains, such as rice and wheat to replace fossil fuels, leading to a growing worldwide shortage of these edibles around the world.
This shortage is clearly showing in the grocery bills, with an ever-increasing price of cereals, chances being the circumstances might worsen.

On the other hand, it seems that India has found a solution to this threatening problem. Sorghum or jowar, as it is known in the country, is brought forward as a ‘smart crop’ that is capable of producing both food and fuel.

According to William Dar, Director-General of the Hyderabad-based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), only a smart crop can help resolve the surging debate of global grains shortage.

The ICRISAT is looking forward to the Sorghum, a kind of grass used as India as fodder-plant and eaten in hilly and semi-arid areas.

The problem of food shortage, the factors leading to the crisis and the possible solutions – are still unsettled. But the fact remains; the world is on the verge of a grain shortage that will further destabilize the poor countries and increase the prices of food – the poor will become poorer and the rich, richer.
-References: आईएएनएस

( Fatima Hussain is a 2nd year media student with MAHE Manipal Dubai Campus, its great to start my blog with a guest columnist, she will be writing regularly in ideaminefield)


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