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World population growth and the food supply



World population growth and the food supply



Ren Kou Yan Jiu 4): 41-3, 24



The general trend in the last several hundred years has been that the speed of growth in the food supply exceeds the speed of the population growth. For the time being, 2 major problems still exist. The 1st problem is that food production is still influenced by natural conditions. For example, abnormal weather conditions may cause regional food shortages. The 2nd problem is the imbalance of food consumption by the world population. This phenomenon exists between different social classes as well as between developed and developing countries. According to statistics released by the World Bank, 1 billion suffer from malnutrition today and most of them are in developing countries. In developed countries, about half of their increase in the food supply is for feed grains, and those countries follow the policy of reducing farm land for the purpose of maintaing stabl e grain prices. Up to the present time, grain prices have been unstable, and this has become a rather heavy economic burden for numerous developing countries. Many developing countries are trying to increase grain production by increasing their arable land and promoting their cultivating techniques. However, these countries are facing the problems of finding and adequate water supply, fertilizer, and pesticides. In addition, a rapid population growth in these countries has offset their endeavors in agriculture. In recent years, these counties have realized the necessity of birth control. The world population growth rate has decreased from 2% to about 1.7% in 1981. Birth control and an increase in the food supply will bring new hope to the world's problems of overpopulation and food supply.

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