The Environmental Food Crisis
Annual production increase 1965-2008 (%)
The three primary factors that affected recent increases in world crop production are (FAO, 2003; 2006): FOOD FROM CROPS Increased cropland and rangeland area (15% contribu- tion in 1961–1999); Increased yield per unit area (78% contribution); and Greater cropping intensity (7% percent contribution). The use of fertilizers accounts for approximately 50% of the yield increase, and greater irrigation for another sub- stantial part (FAO, 2003). Current FAO projections in food demand suggest that cereal demand will increase by almost 50% towards 2050 (FAO, 2003; 2006). This can either be obtained by increasing yields, continued expan- sion of cropland by conversion of natural habitats, or by optimizing food or feed energy efficiency from production to consumption. 1) 2) 3) Trends in crop production and in these three factors are illustrated in Figures 7, 8 and 9.
Yield growth Area increase
Figure 7: Production increase in yield and area (1965–2008) of several key crops. Yield increases have generally exceeded areal increases. (Source: World Bank, 2009).
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