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'To what extent should we rely on technology to secure an adequate global food supply?'

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Introduction

GEOGRAPHY COURSEWORK 'To what extent should we rely on technology to secure an adequate global food supply?' Abstract: Mechanisation and other technologies have made headway in trying to ensure an adequate global food supply. The fact remains that people still suffer from the effects of famine and malnutrition. With this in mind it is imperative that new technologies are considered in places where food supply falls short of demand. Genetically modified crops are one way in which technology may be used to increase food supply. It is controversial and its potential will be examined. The Green Revolution was once heralded as the answer to third world famine; has it lived up to expectation? Technology is an ongoing development used to improve production and other uses both economically and socially. Technology is used in all food and farming, since modernisation has really started to develop. More and more machinery is being used to increase yields and productivity, improving the wealth of companies and other farmers. The Green Revolution and Genetically Modified Crops are two technologies, which have led to increases in food supplies. Both technologies have made an impact in the countries where they have been implemented or tested. Two case studies will be used to give an understanding of the impact of the Green Revolution in India, these being Punjab and Haryana, whilst the USA gives an indication of the GM crops debate. ...read more.

Middle

The one implication, which is a concern, is Human population growth. There is no doubt that India has a population problem. According to Malthusian theory, population will outstrip food supply. This can be applied to India as it has experienced a high rate of population growth as shown in the graph below. "www.ask.com/indiapopulation" Malthus identified that food supplies will increase arithmetically whilst population increases geometrically, thus resulting in a food crisis. Negative checks in the population such as the Bengal famine in 1943 would keep population in check. The situation in India, before the Green Revolution supports the theory of Malthus. However, since then, the implementation of the Green Revolution in India has allowed food production to increase supporting the ideas of Boserup whereby the use of technology would allow food production to support a growing population. However, if India's population continues to grow, beyond the capabilities of the Green Revolution and use of technology, Malthusian's theory will once again be prevalent. I have assessed the implications and negative issues of the Green Revolution. The table below highlights the successes. AREA EVIDENCE OF SUCCESS Punjab * After the Green revolution, Punjab witnesses a 183% crop intensity increase, greatly improving their food production output. * Punjab is now the leading state in the field of mechanised and modern farming technology. ...read more.

Conclusion

* Haryana is now 4th largest supplier of wheat in India. Technology has enabled small states to become competitive in commercial farming. * No pesticides or chemicals required. Other food production is not affected by pesticides, so food supplies increase. * Productivity of food has risen by 68% across the whole of India. * 140,000 tons are maize produced annually, in North America and Canada; triple the amount before introduction of GM Crops. Although the table clearly highlights that technology is a significant factor in securing global food supplies, there still exists an economic barrier in the world, which prevents certain countries in using technology to aid food production. I think we can rely on technology to secure global food production providing the produce is distributed throughout the world. However, it cannot be unnoticed that the use of technology will incur negative environmental impacts for the future, which is a decision that future decision makers will need to consider when implementing the use of technology to improve food supplies. I do not believe that this will be a priority for some governments where starvation is a real issue, but if sustainability of the environment is not considered, future agricultural production will decline and the food supply uncertainty will continue. Word count: 1558 ...read more.

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