Trade in Farm Products

Turning to the food importing regions, with the possible exception of Latin America, they will all be significantly more dependent upon imports to meet their 2020 food requirements (in both absolute and proportional terms) than was the case in 1990. The Middle East could be importing half its total cereal supplies. The volume of demand stemming from the Far East (particularly China) will certainly be very large-amounting to perhaps 13 to 23 per cent of its total consumption. But it seems likely that South Asia will be much less reliant upon imports than the Far East.

It is our expectation that most countries in most regions will be able to finance most of their imports. But this may not be true for subSaharan Africa-which by 2020 may need to import a quarter or more of its total cereal supplies simply to sustain its current levels of per capita consumption. It is worth remarking that this broad forecast envisages that roughly two-thirds of the increase in global cereal production in the period to 2020 will occur in the predominantly developing, food importing, world regions themselves.

Thus, for example, when people ask ‘Who will feed China? ’ the answer is plain: ‘Mostly, the Chinese’. But so far as export capacity is concerned, it is obvious that the two most developed regions (essentially North America and Europe) enjoy the best of any prevailing ‘comparative advantage’-given their supplies of cropland, their agricultural systems and their associated industries. The issue then arises as to the basis, and extent, of these future transfers. Some sub-Saharan countries will be able to finance imports.

But it seems probable that other countries will become more dependent upon supplies of food aid provided mainly for humanitarian reasons. Perhaps bargains will be struck whereby environmental conservation (and other) programs are instigated partly in exchange for food. But there must be a chance that food transfers into the region will not expand at the envisaged rate, and, therefore, that sub-Saharan Africa’s already meagre levels of per capita food consumption will decline.

Then there is the issue of the total volume of human hunger in 2020, i. e. the number of undernourished people there will be. The foregoing broad forecast anticipates that average levels of food availability will remain approximately constant in sub-Saharan Africa and the two most developed world regions, but that there will be modest rises in per capita consumption in the Middle East, South Asia, Latin America and the Far East.

However, without addressing the knotty issue of future trends in income (and therefore food) distribution, it is impossible to say whether there will be fewer (or more) undernourished people alive in 2020 than was the case in 1990. Looking at sub-Saharan Africa, the Far East and South Asia, there are already signs that many poor people are worse off in terms of their food availability and food security-precisely because of recent measures of economic ‘liberalization’. One problem with evaluating food issues is that many different criteria can be employed.

Thus average levels of per capita food consumption can increase simultaneously with the numbers of hungry people. Or to give another example, in terms of its future import requirements South Asia’s prospects may appear to be significantly better than those of the Far East-because the former region will probably import considerably less food. But these ‘better’ prospects will partly result from much lower average levels of future food consumption. Another important proviso relates to variability.

These are the two world regions which are most dependent upon rainfed agriculture. And in both cases the basic explanation for the rising trend is more frequent drought. These disturbing developments may continue; or, at least, they may not retreat. For sub-Saharan Africa this could constitute yet another deteriorating circumstance. The most significant effect of more drought in North America/ Oceania may operate through greater international grain price volatility-in a world in which many poor countries are increasingly dependent upon cereal imports (Kutzner, 1991).

This said, it should be recalled that in most world regions there are no signs of a trend towards greater harvest variability (despite the fact that it is sometimes contended that rising yields are inherently less stable). This point of reassurance applies to the world’s second potential major food exporting bloc of Europe/ FSU. So one’s views as to how much of a problem heightened harvest variability may be in the next few decades must be mixed. We certainly cannot entirely preclude a repeat of the ENSO-inspired droughts which occurred in 1972-74. But humanity’s capacity to deal with any future crisis should also be somewhat improved.

Only in sub-Saharan Africa do we find credible evidence that cereal (and to a lesser extent food) output has failed to keep abreast of population growth, partly because of the speed and volume of that growth itself (Basu, 1984). But …

Attempting any global assessment immediately raises questions as to how the world should be divided up. There are obvious limitations in treating humanity as a single unit. The seven world regions derive directly from the standard United Nations regional classification …

As of 2014, an epidemic of Ebola virus disease is ongoing in West Africa. The epidemic began in Guinea in December 2013. It then spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal. In the United States, an initial case has …

Despite the advances in medicine and science and technology, infectious diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites continue to plague the world with diseases and disabilities. They are the cause of death and disability worldwide. The majority of havoc …

David from Healtheappointments:

Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out