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Feeding The Third World

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Feeding The Third World Millions of people today, despite technological advances enabling fish and meat production and crop yields to soar, are still living in hunger. It is estimated that nearly 30% of the world's population suffer from some form of malnutrition, and the majority of these people live in Developing Countries. Intensive and Subsistence Farming both present possible solutions to dealing with world hunger and ending the suffering of the Third World. Intensive Agriculture, also known as Factory or Battery Farming, involves land being farmed in order to achieve the greatest yield possible with the use of inorganic fertilisers and pesticides because it is used to supply large companies and distributors. Monoculture Intensive Farming focuses on Monoculture; large areas where the same crop is grown on the same land year after year. Farmers generally specialise in growing one to three types of crops, with land being cleared once a year before the crop is planted. Factory farming also concentrates on one form of husbandry, e.g. dairy, cattle, or pig breeding. By doing so; Farmers make better use of their equipment. Organisations such as supermarkets benefit by having fewer farms to negotiate purchases with. These points mean that intensive farms are on the whole economical and resourceful. In monoculture areas, most hedges, walls and fences are removed which profits farms by; Creating more space for the growth of crops that increases their yield (per unit area). Reducing labour costs since there is no need to care for hedges. Removing the shade created by taller hedges, so they no longer limit the (primary) productivity of the crops. Making it simpler and quicker to move larger farm machines. Eradicating possible pest habitats. The principal of monoculture is that as long as soil and climatic conditions are sustained throughout a field, each plant will grow to the same height and ripen at the same time, simplifying mechanical harvesting of the crops and making it straightforward to manage. ...read more.


However, according to the Law of Diminishing Returns, applying too much fertiliser can decrease the growth of the crop. It is important to avoid over application because inorganic fertilisers are expensive and the value of the increased crop yield (yield return) must be greater than the cost of the fertiliser application. Nitrate and ammonium ions are highly soluble and pose a risk of (nutrient loss due to) leaching (: drainage of nutrients dissolved in water through the soil). Inorganic fertilisers can result in lower organic matter in the soil that supports fewer soil organisms and creates a poorer soil structure. Other disadvantages associated with intensive agriculture are; Intensive farming emphasizes high volume and profit which often means that animals bred on the farms are kept confined to reduce their energy, hence mass loss, and to reduce the costs associated with maintaining free range animals (that aren't confined). The use of cages restricts the natural behaviour of animals. Furthermore, extreme confinement and increased levels of production intensify the opportunity for contaminants, such as E coli and Salmonella in meat and poultry that can cause human illness. Antibiotics and hormones are given to promote growth and to try to stop diseases that occur from raising animals in such confined spaces. This low-level use of antibiotics for extended periods of time spreads the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to other animals and humans. There are many doubts about the use of genetically engineered food in intensive farming. Via cross-pollination, genetically engineered material could be transferred to other crops and wild plants. Once released it is impossible to 'clean up' any unforeseen consequences. No one yet knows what effect GE crops will have on the ecological balance or the health of humans. Subsistence Farming is also known as Extensive, one form of which is Organic Farming. Subsistence farming involves land being farmed with very few, or no inputs of chemicals, and is increasing in popularity today as consumers are becoming more aware of the disadvantages, and dangers, of intensive agriculture. ...read more.


Protects plants with a similar vulnerability to diseases by disrupting disease cycles or life cycle of crop pests, thereby there is less chance of pests or diseases becoming set up. Subsistence farming also sometimes uses non-synthetic substances like sulphur, and biological pest controls. Pest, weed and disease control are achieved through the choice of crop varieties, timing of cultivations and manipulating the environment to encourage natural predators. If involving animals grazing the land over winter, the nutrients of the soil are being used then returned in the form of animal manure, there is a reduced risk of leaching the soil's organic compounds. Most organic systems have dairy, beef and sheep enterprises. Pigs and poultry are managed extensively under an organic system, with outdoor access. Conventional medicines are used where necessary to prevent prolonged illness or suffering of animals and the use of homeopathy is encouraged. Conclusion I believe that the more sustainable and realistic form of agriculture that should be employed to help Third World Countries is Subsistence Farming. Intensive farming is currently the most widespread form of commercial farming, being labour intensive and producing high yields per hectare, on average, 20% greater than organic yields. However, the ecological benefits of subsistence farming far outweigh those of intensive. Organic farms require smaller inputs of energy, fertiliser and particularly agrochemicals. This is because organic soils contain a greater variety of organisms, such as microbes that are essential for the cycling of nutrients, and fungi that contribute to the more stable physical soil structure. The greater abundance of insects, including pest consuming spiders and beetles, in addition to the above mentioned factors means that organic agriculture works more efficiently than intensive farming systems, producing more for each unit energy. Sustainable agriculture produces diverse forms of high quality foods, fibers and medicines, that would present more benefit to people in Developing Countries by providing them with a wider range and choice of nutrition, than two or three intensively grown crops. It also uses locally available renewable resources, appropriate and affordable technologies and minimizes the use of external and purchased inputs, which is essential for Developing Countries. ...read more.

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