Facing the challenge of food scarcity: Can we raise grain yields fast enough?
After a half-century of global surpluses of wheat, rice, corn, and other grains, it is easy to be complacent about the food prospect for the twenty-first century. We have come to take for granted the supply of grain that provides half of humanity’s food energy when consumed directly and a good portion of the remainder when consumed indirectly in the form of livestock products.
KeywordsRice Yield Irrigate Area Wheat Yield Land Productivity International Rice Research Institute
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.Grain data from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Production, Supply, and Distribution, electronic database, Washington DC, updated February 1997; USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Grain: World Agricultural Production (Washington, DC: April 1997); 1950–59 grain data from USDA, “World Grain Database,” unpublished printout, Washington, DC, 1991.Google Scholar
- 2.Kazakstan data from FAO, The State of Food and Agriculture 1995, FAO Agricultural Series No. 28 (Rome 1995).Google Scholar
- 3.Brazil’s grain data from USDA, FAS, Grain: World Markets and Trade, (Washington, DC: April 1997).Google Scholar
- 4.U. S. Bureau of the Census, International Data Base, Suitland, MD, 15 May 1996.Google Scholar
- 5.800 million figure from World Bank, Food Security for the World, statement prepared for the World Food Summit by the World Bank, 12 November 1996.Google Scholar
- 6.Oceanic fish catch from U. N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Yearbook of Fishiery Statistics: Catches and Landings (Rome: 1967–91).Google Scholar
- 7.Lester R. Brown, Increasing World Food Output: Problems and Prospects, Foreign Agriculture Economic Report No. 25 (Washington, DC: USDA, ERS, April 1965).Google Scholar
- 8.Lester R. Brown, Seeds of Change (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970).Google Scholar
- 9.Mary Cabrera, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines letter to Worldwatch, 26 February 1997.Google Scholar
- 10.Donald O. Mitchell and Merlinda D. Ingco, International Economics Department, The World Food Outlook (Washington, DC: World Bank, 1993).Google Scholar
- 11.Fredrick W. Crook and Hunter Colby, The Future of China’s Grain Market, USDA, ERS, Agriculture Information bulletin Number 730, October 1996.Google Scholar
- 12.Gurdev S. Khush, “Modern Varieties-Their Real Contribution to Food Supply and Equity” Geo Journal, March 1995.Google Scholar
- 13.Information on idled cropland from K. F. Isherwood and K. G. Soh, “Short Term Prospects for World Agriculture and Fertilizer Use,” presented at 21st Enlarged Council Meetong, International Fertilizer Industry Association, Paris, 15–17 November 1995, and from USDA, FAS, World Agricultural Production (Washington, DC: October 1995).Google Scholar
- 14.Thomas R. Sinclair, “Limits to Crop Yield?” in Physiology and Determination of Crop Yield, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America, Madison, Wisconsin, 1994.Google Scholar