Food Resources

Food Resources

Intended
Learning Outcomes

At the end of this session, students will be able to

• Explain food Resources

• Discuss the world food problems

• Describe the changes in land use by agriculture grazing

• Explain the effects of modern agriculture

• Discuss fertilizer/ pesticide problems

• Discuss water logging and salinity

Contents

• Food Resources

• World food problems

• Changes in land use by agriculture grazing

• Effects of modern agriculture

• Fertilizer/ pesticide problems

• Water logging and salinity

Food
Resources

• Today our food comes almost entirely from agriculture,
animal husbandry and fishing

• Although India is self-sufficient in food production, it
is only because of modern patterns of agriculture that are unsustainable and
which pollute our environment with excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides

• Most of our large farms grow single crops (monoculture),
If this crop is hit by pest, the entire crop can be devastated, leaving the
farmer with no income during the year

• Many studies have shown that one can use alternatives to
inorganic fertilizers and pesticides, this is known as Integrated Crop
Management

World food
problems

• In many developing countries where populations are
expanding rapidly, the production of food is unable to keep pace with the
growing demand

• Countries are unable to produce more food or do not have
the financial means to import it

• India is one of the countries that have been able to
produce enough food by cultivating a large proportion of its arable land
through irrigation

• However many of the technologies we have used to achieve
this are now being questioned

• Our fertile soils are being exploited faster than they can
recuperate

• Forests, grasslands and wetlands have been converted to
agricultural use, which has led to serious ecological questions

• Our fish resources, both marine and inland, show evidence
of exhaustion

• There are great disparities in the availability of nutritious
food. Some communities such as tribal people still face serious food problems
leading to malnutrition especially among women and children

• Women play an extremely vital role in food production as
well as cooking the meal and feeding children

• In India there is a shortage of cultivable productive
land, Thus farm sizes are too small to support a family on farm produce alone

• Poor environmental agricultural practices such as slash
and burn, shifting cultivation or ‘rab’ (woodash) cultivation degrade forests

• Globally 5 to 7 million hectares of farmland is degraded
each year

• Loss of nutrients and overuse of agricultural chemicals
are major factors in land degradation

• Water scarcity is an important aspect of poor agricultural
outputs

Food
Security

• Estimated that 18 million people worldwide, most of whom
are children, die each year due to starvation or malnutrition, and many others
suffer a variety of dietary deficiencies

• Earth can only supply a limited amount of food, thus food
security is closely linked with population control through the family welfare
program

• It is also linked to the availability of water for farming

• Food security is only possible if food is equitably
distributed to all

• A major concern is the support needed for small

Fisheries

• Fish is an important protein food in many parts of the
world

• Modern fishing technologies using mechanized trawlers and
small meshed nets lead directly to overexploitation, which is not sustainable

• The worst hit are the small traditional fishermen who are
no match for organized trawlers

Loss of
Genetic diversity

• There are 50,000 known edible plants documented worldwide,
of these only 15 varieties produce 90% of the world’s food

• Modern agricultural practices have resulted in a serious
loss of genetic variability of crops

• Creates a risk to our food security, as farmers can loose
all their produce due to a rapidly spreading disease

• The most effective method to introduce desirable traits
into crops is by using characteristics found in the wild relatives of crop
plants

• As the wilderness shrinks, these varieties are rapidly
disappearing

• Once they are lost, their desirable characteristics cannot
be introduced when found necessary in future

• Collections in germplasm, seed banks and tissue culture
facilities, are other possible ways to prevent extinction but are extremely
expensive

• Scientists  now  believe 
that  the  world 
will  soon  need 
a  second  green revolution to meet our future demands
of food based on a new ethic of land and water management that must be based on
values which include environmental sensitivity, equity, biodiversity
conservation of cultivars and insitu preservation of wild relatives of crop
plants

• Pollution of water sources, land degradation and
desertification must be rapidly reversed

• Adopting soil conservation measures, using appropriate
farming techniques, especially on hill slopes, enhancing the soil with organic
matter, rotating crops and managing watersheds at the micro level are a key to
agricultural production to meet future needs

• Most importantly food supply is closely linked to the
effectiveness of population control programs worldwide

• The world needs better and sustainable methods of food
production which is an important aspect of land use management

Alternate
food sources

• Food  can  be 
innovatively  produced  if 
we  break  out 
of  the  current agricultural patterns

• This includes working on new avenues to produce food, such
as using forests for their multiple non-wood fores products, which can be used
for food if harvested sustainably

• This includes fruit, mushrooms, sap, gum, etc. this takes
time, as people must develop a taste for these new foods

• Medicines, both traditional and modern, can be harvested
sustainably from forests

• Popularising this crop could add to food availability from
marginal lands

• Several crops can be grown in urban settings, including
vegetables and fruit which can be grown on waste household water and fertilizers
from vermicomposting pits

• Several foods can be popularized from yet unused seafood
products such as seaweed as long as this is done at sustainable levels

• Educating women about nutrition, who are more closely
involved with feeding the family, is an important aspect of supporting the food
needs of many developing countries

• Integrated Pest Management includes preserving pest
predators, using pest resistant seed varieties and reducing the use of chemical
fertilizers

Summary

• Today our food comes almost entirely from agriculture,
animal husbandry and fishing

• Countries are unable to produce more food or do not have
the financial means to import it

• Forests, grasslands and wetlands have been converted to
agricultural use, which has led to serious ecological questions

• Popularising this crop could add to food availability from
marginal lands

• The world needs better and sustainable methods of food
production which is an important aspect of land use management

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