World population-food supply balance is becoming increasingly unstable, study finds

May 11, 2015
Credit: Jm Verastigue/public domain

Researchers report that as the world population increases and food demand has grown, globalization of trade has made the food supply more sensitive to environmental and market fluctuations. This leads to greater chances of food crises, particularly in nations where land and water resources are scarce and therefore food security strongly relies on imports.

The study assesses the supply available to more than 140 nations (with populations greater than 1 million) and demonstrates that is becoming increasingly susceptible to perturbations in demographic growth, as humanity places increasing pressure on use of limited land and .

"In the past few decades there has been an intensification of international food trade and an increase in the number of countries that depend on ," said Paolo D'Odorico, a professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and one of the study's authors. "On average, about one-fourth of the food we eat is available to us through international trade. This globalization of food may contribute to the spread of the effects of local shocks in food production throughout the world."

D'Odorico's paper is published this week in the online early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Food security, D'Odorico said, is typically defined as the availability of and access to a sufficient amount of food to meet the requirements of human societies at all places and all times.

"In order to have food security, food availability and accessibility need to be sustainable and resilient to perturbations associated with shocks in production and price spikes," he said. "We're finding that as the globalization of food increases, the coupled population/food system becomes more fragile and susceptible to conditions of crisis."

D'Odorico, doctoral student Joel Carr of U.Va. and colleagues at the University of Padova in Italy and the Swiss Federal Polytechnic of Lausanne used computer modeling to reconstruct the global network of food trade between 1986 and 2011 in conjunction with a population growth model, factoring in the constraints of through domestic production and trade, and examined the response of the system to perturbations.

They found that the coupled dynamics of population and access to food are becoming less resilient and increasingly prone to instability. Countries that strongly depend on trade for their appear to be more susceptible to instability and episodic than exporting countries. These findings are consistent with the food insecurity that has affected trade-dependent countries during recent food crises.

Previous studies by D'Odorico, who, in addition to his faculty position at U.Va., is a sabbatical fellow with the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center at the University of Maryland, have suggested that the coupling of population and food dynamics might be becoming increasingly unbalanced and that, because of trade dependency, exposure to is increasing. This finding provides further evidence that that indeed is happening, and already has happened and accelerated during the past two decades.

Explore further: Global food trade may not meet all future demand, study indicates

More information: Resilience and reactivity of global food security, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1507366112

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betterexists
1 / 5 (3) May 11, 2015
It is unfortunate that all food is fed to Pets. Too many pets.
ryggesogn2
2.6 / 5 (5) May 11, 2015
, globalization of trade


NO.

What has made food unstable are socialist govt actions that promote the use of food for fuel, and socialist central planning that punishes farmers.

BTW, if food is so scare, where are the advocates to abolish the cultivation of cannabis, poppies, coca, ...?
Or abolish organics and support and promote GMO?
ryggesogn2
4 / 5 (4) May 11, 2015
""Over half of the feedstock used for biogas production in Europe in 2012 came from agricultural crops; in particular maize," it says.

"This practice competes with food production and has already led to large scale land-use change in countries like Germany leading to so-called 'maize deserts'.

"Such industrial-scale maize monocultures are bad for wildlife and particularly prone to soil erosion and flooding.""
http://www.bbc.co..._twitter
howhot2
1 / 5 (1) May 11, 2015
Soylent Green ... It's going to happen.
MoonliteSonata
not rated yet May 12, 2015
The problem isn't world food shortages. Far from it. Unfortunately it's the same problem that's happened in certain geographic areas across the world for hundreds if not thousands of years.. their populations are greater than what that particular geographic area can sustain on its own. That isn't a world food shortage issue, it's a local demographic, social, and distributive issue that directly affects those areas that have not been able to sustain their populations without massive imports, and only affects the rest of the world in that somehow, nations able to generate surplus are being guilted for their fertile land, good management, and superior systems of production and distribution. Such obvious advantages over other nations either not able or not willing to care for the populations they already have, and many of their government leaders get fat and comfortable through the corruption it enables, seems to equate to responsibility. Rubbish.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet May 12, 2015
Researchers report that as the world population increases and food demand has grown, globalization of trade has made the food supply more sensitive to environmental and market fluctuations.

Speculations on the food market aren't helping, either (ever wonder how your bank makes its money? There's huge profits to be made speculating in unregulated markets)
ryggesogn2
4 / 5 (1) May 12, 2015
their populations are greater than what that particular geographic area can sustain on its own.

How much food does Hong Kong or Singapore or NYC raise on their own?

Speculations on the food market aren't helping,


Yes, it does help send price signals to farmers about what to plant.

speculating in unregulated markets)


No such thing as an unregulated market.

All players in the futures markets are willing participants.
betterexists
1 / 5 (3) May 12, 2015
Just Be Happy & Don't Complain.... BECAUSE BECAUSE BECAUSE Gluttonous Dinosaurs WERE REMOVED ALREADY!
Just Don't Complain....Cull All Pets....Some houses have 100 of them each!
betterexists
1 / 5 (1) May 12, 2015
Very Misleading IDIOTS!
100 U.S individuals or families now control more than 30 million acres, or 2% of America's Entire land mass. The top dog on the list is, for the second year running, media tycoon John Malone, who owns 2.2 million acres—more than twice as much land as Delaware.
On the Contrary, for example, Indian Govt. has proposed in its draft policy to put a ceiling on agricultural land up to 5 to 10 acres, if irrigation facility is available. It was also proposed to put a ceiling on agri land up to 10-15 acres, if it is rain-fed.
NOW you SEE the Difference. Big Machines & Illegal Immigrants Thriving on those Pooled 30 million acres where as the poor cultivating pittance in other areas. Food can be made far more abundant in other places too by pooling those small plots into vast enterprises! People moving from Agriculture to Industries en masse is the ONLY Solution!
betterexists
not rated yet May 12, 2015
People moving from Agriculture to Industries en masse is the ONLY Solution!

The people do not want to have so many industry-made goods....For Free, Yes of course....Just like Americans are accumulating Chinese made goods for free. They Rather want to Relax. Just wait until All Energy is FREE from SUN. Nuclear made one has its own issues...Japanese did learn at Tsunami Time!
betterexists
not rated yet May 12, 2015
Just Be Happy & Don't Complain.... BECAUSE BECAUSE BECAUSE Gluttonous Dinosaurs WERE REMOVED ALREADY!
Just Don't Complain....Cull All Pets....Some houses have 100 of them each!

Zoos are the ones that are supposed to own Wild Life. There are some with big purses trying to compete with the Zoos in owning such possessions.
No doubt their food is a real waste.
betterexists
not rated yet May 12, 2015
1.18 MILLION Acres: Russia's Prodimex is its Largest Land owner with 1.18 MILLION Acres which is 20% of Russia's land.

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