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Geography Essay : Can China Feed Itself

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ESSAY Can China Feed Itself? SOURCE 1: Geographical situation of China1 The geography of China stretches some 5,026 kilometers across the East Asian landmass bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, between North Korea and Vietnam in a changing configuration of broad plains, expansive deserts, and lofty mountain ranges, including vast areas of non-exploitable terrain. The eastern half of the country, the seacoast fringed with offshore islands, is a region of fertile lowlands, foothills and mountains, deserts, steppes, and subtropical areas. The western half of China is a region of sunken basins, rolling plateaus, and towering massifs, including a portion of the highest tableland on earth. China had an estimated population of 1,330,044,544 in July 2008 and is expected to increase in the coming years. Ruled by a communist government, its economy progressed a lot since it moved from a centrally planned economy to a more oriented market-economy toward the end of the 1970s. 2 Even though China is a country developing at a very fast rate and taking over the world's markets, there are several problems arising from this fast development. The issue that is going to be looked at is concerning the food situation in the country and the question "Can China feed itself?" ...read more.


An alternative to family planning is to give advantages to families accepting the "one child policy" or not having children at all. Stabilizing population is certainly the most important measure to be taken to ensure food security. The above discussion leads to the point where it becomes obvious that and increase in population will lead to an increase in demand as well as a decrease in supply (since cultivable land area decreases) for food assuming constant per capital calorie consumption and similar diet preferences. Just like in every country today, the amount of calories per capita daily consumed increases. It is therefore necessary to take this increase into account for the case of China. Not only will population growth affect food demand but also other demographic factors such as age. Indeed, younger people need higher food supplies that older ones. Changes within the population due to economic growth are also to be considered and could have a positive impact on the food demand. China used to rely a lot on agricultural work but because of this increasing economic modernization, more and more people are going to start working in cities and in offices requiring less physical capacities and therefore less food intake. Not only is population growth a problem linked to food crisis but so are the arable lands and soils. ...read more.


This impact on productivity hasn't been too important yet but will certainly Increase if urbanization and growth continues. What needs to be clarified before any answer can be given is the real sense of the question "Can China feed itself?" There are two different interpretations of the questions these being firstly, can China rely on its own production to feed its population, and secondly, will it need to rely on imports of food to be able to feed itself. According to all the arguments stated above, it seems impossible for China to control fertility and population growth rates as well as arable land area and therefore to feed itself with its own production The population will keep on increasing and the areas of available agricultural land will keep on decreasing since they are most likely to prefer urbanization meaning profits, to expensive agricultural work. To diminish these problems, an effective family planning program needs to be developed as well as strong environmental policies. According to these two factors, available land and population growth, China is a perfect example of the Malthusian theory. There is however a lot of other aspects of the questions such as water availability, technology, urbanization, diet etc. that could have been considered and that might have altered the answer to the question. ...read more.

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