Until recently there was no world food problem. There were food problems for individual villages; more often for whole districts, suffering from flood or drought; occasionally for entire countries. But for most of the time most nations were able to meet their own essential food needs. Trade in food was mainly in luxuries: such as spices, sugar, tea and coffee. Even where trade in essential foodstuffs developed — as in the grain trade from the Baltic to Western Europe, or from south-west China to the east coast — it was relatively marginal in relation to the needs of the receiving areas. Because populations were only a fraction of their levels today, most countries, even with very low yields for each acre sown, were able to feed most of their population most of the time.


Sugar Depression Europe Shipping Income 


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© Evan Luard 1983

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