• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Introduction
 Factors affecting world food consumption:...
 Income and income distribution
 Table 1: Population estimates,...
 Population growth rate for developed...
 Tastes and preferences
 Table 2: Demographic and socio-economic...
 The diet
 Table 3. Sources of mankind's food...
 Prices and inflation
 Government programs
 Urbanization
 Future population growth
 Table 4. World population estimates...
 Issues in world food productio...
 Food production projections
 Figure 3: All food-deficit developing...
 Figure 4: Low income food-deficit...
 Figure 5: Developing market economies:...
 Figure 6: Indices of food production...
 Figure 7: Average annual growth...
 Figure 8: Indices of per capita...
 Table 5: Average annual rates of...
 The problem of poverty
 Alternatives
 Access to alternatives
 Incentives to access alternati...
 Food production capacity: Land...
 Increasing yields
 Unexploited crops
 Table 7: Compound growth rates...
 Preventing losses
 Altering usage
 Climatological factors
 The managerial factor
 Institutional constraints
 The environment
 New technologies in food produ...
 Figure 9: International agricultural...
 Figure 8: International agricultural...
 Table 8: International agricultural...
 Figure 10: The State Agricultural...
 Figure 11: Percentage of total...
 Table 9: Scientific personnel and...
 Some thoughts on the current and...
 Impact of governments and institutions...
 Some examples of positive government...
 Other examples
 Some examples of government...
 The Argentina case
 The Iran case
 Multi-government food efforts
 Food reserves
 Conclusion
 Bibliography
 Back Cover
 Back Cover






Title: World food issues
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00053794/00001
 Material Information
Title: World food issues
Physical Description: 52 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Langham, Max R
Polopolus, Leo
Upchurch, M. L
University of Florida -- Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences
Publisher: Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Publication Date: 1982
 Subjects
Subject: Food supply -- Statistics   ( lcsh )
Food supply -- Political aspects   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 50-52.
Statement of Responsibility: Max R. Langham, Leo Polopolus, and M.L. Upchurch.
General Note: "IFAS-14."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00053794
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001724628
oclc - 09695781
notis - AJD7152

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents 1
        Table of Contents 2
    Introduction
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Factors affecting world food consumption: Population
        Page 3
    Income and income distribution
        Page 4
    Table 1: Population estimates, growth rates, birth rates, and death rates in selected countries, 1976
        Page 5
    Population growth rate for developed and developing countries
        Page 5
    Tastes and preferences
        Page 6
    Table 2: Demographic and socio-economic indices for selected countries, 1973
        Page 7
    The diet
        Page 8
    Table 3. Sources of mankind's food energy
        Page 8
    Prices and inflation
        Page 9
    Government programs
        Page 10
    Urbanization
        Page 10
    Future population growth
        Page 11
    Table 4. World population estimates for 2000 A.D.
        Page 11
    Issues in world food production
        Page 12
    Food production projections
        Page 12
        Page 13
    Figure 3: All food-deficit developing market economies: production and consumption of major staples, 1960-75 and projected to 1990
        Page 14
    Figure 4: Low income food-deficit developing market economies: production and consumption of major staples, 1960-75 and projected to 1990
        Page 14
    Figure 5: Developing market economies: projected 1990 production and consumption of major staples, by region
        Page 15
    Figure 6: Indices of food production in developed and developing counties and in the United States, 1954-73
        Page 16
    Figure 7: Average annual growth rates in agricultural production in developing and developed market economies, 1961-76
        Page 17
    Figure 8: Indices of per capita food production in developing and developed market economies, 1961-76
        Page 17
    Table 5: Average annual rates of growth of world and regional food production
        Page 18
    The problem of poverty
        Page 18
    Alternatives
        Page 19
    Access to alternatives
        Page 20
    Incentives to access alternatives
        Page 21
        Page 22
    Food production capacity: Land and water
        Page 23
    Increasing yields
        Page 24
    Unexploited crops
        Page 24
    Table 7: Compound growth rates in factors affecting grain production, 1960-62 to 1969-71
        Page 25
    Preventing losses
        Page 25
    Altering usage
        Page 25
    Climatological factors
        Page 26
    The managerial factor
        Page 26
    Institutional constraints
        Page 27
    The environment
        Page 27
    New technologies in food production
        Page 28
    Figure 9: International agricultural research and training centers
        Page 29
    Figure 8: International agricultural research network
        Page 30
    Table 8: International agricultural research network
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
    Figure 10: The State Agricultural Experiment Station System
        Page 34
    Figure 11: Percentage of total corn acreage planted with hybrid seed
        Page 35
    Table 9: Scientific personnel and expenditures in agricultural research and extension by selected countries, 1965
        Page 36
    Some thoughts on the current and near future food situation
        Page 36
        Page 37
    Impact of governments and institutions on world food supplies
        Page 38
    Some examples of positive government decisions: the U.S. case
        Page 39
        Page 40
    Other examples
        Page 41
    Some examples of government mistakes
        Page 41
    The Argentina case
        Page 41
    The Iran case
        Page 42
        Page 43
    Multi-government food efforts
        Page 44
    Food reserves
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
    Conclusion
        Page 48
        Page 49
    Bibliography
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
    Back Cover
        Page 53
    Back Cover
        Page 54
Full Text
JUNE 1982


WORLD
FOOD ISSUES


Max R. Langham, Leo Polopolus, and M. L. Upchurch


Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida, Gainesville


IFAS 14
















WORLD FOOD ISSUES


MAX R. LANGHAM, LEO POLOPOLUS, AND M. L. UPCHURCH























AUTHORS
Dr. Langham is a professor, Dr. Polopolus is a professor and department
chairman, and Dr. Upchurch is a former professor in the Food and Resource
Economics Department at the University of Florida. This bulletin was an out-
growth of the authors' involvement in a seminar sponsored by alumni of a
Harvard Business School Continuing Education Program, Ponte Vedra, Florida,
September 28, 1978. (Papers presented at this seminar are numbers 28, 35, and 46
in the Literature Cited.)
EDITOR: Mary L. Cilley, associate professor, Editorial Department, Institute of
Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.













CONTENTS


Page
INTRODUCTION ................................. ............ 1

FACTORS AFFECTING WORLD FOOD CONSUMPTION .......... 3
Population ... .................. ............................ 3
Income and Income Distribution ................................ 4
Tastes and Preferences ........................................ 6
The Diet .................................................... 8
Prices and Inflation ............................................ 9
Government Programs .............. ........................ 10
Urbanization ................................................ 10
Future Population Growth ................................... 11


ISSUES IN WORLD FOOD PRODUCTION ........................ 12
Food Production Projections ................. ................... 12
The Problem of Poverty ...................................... 18
Alternatives ............................................... 19
A access to A alternatives .................................. 20
Incentives to Access Alternatives ............................. .. 21
Food Production Capacity ...................... ............... 23
Land and W ater ........................................ ..... 23
Increasing Yields ........................................... 24
Unexploited Crops ............................... ............ 24
Preventing Losses ............................................ 25
Altering Usage .............................................. 25
Climatological Factors ......... ............................. 26
The M anagerial Factor ......................................... 26
Institutional Constraints ................ ..................... 27
The Environment .............................. ........... 27
Relaxing Constraints on Production Capacity ....................... 27
New Land Development ....................... ............ 27
New Technologies in Food Production ........................... 28
Some Thoughts on the Current and Near Future Food Situation ...... 36


IMPACT OF GOVERNMENTS AND INSTITUTIONS ON
WORLD FOOD SUPPLIES ...................................... 38
Some Examples of Positive Government Decisions .................. 39
The U.S. Case ................ ............... .... .......... 39
Other Examples ............................................. 41









Some Examples of Government Mistakes .......................... 41
The Argentina Case ................ ....................... 41
The Iran Case .............. .. ........................... 42
Multi-Government Food Efforts .................................. 44

Food Reserves .................... ................. .......... 45
CONCLUDING REMARKS ............... .................. 48

LITERATURE CITED ............. ................. .......... 50












INTRODUCTION

If humankind is to survive, we must continue to provide ourselves with
an adequate food supply. With the world population now over four
billion, and increasing rapidly, increased attention is being focused on the
biological, physical, and political constraints that may limit our future
food supply.
Thomas R. Malthus, a British economist, first popularized the problem
of the human impact on resources in 1798. His basic conclusion is simple,
yet provocative:
.. the power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the
earth to produce subsistence for man. Population, when unchecked, in-
creases at a geometrical ratio. Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical
ratio (32, pp. 13-14).'
This statement has aroused almost two centuries of debate. Since the
human population and the food supply are both results of biological
processes, it is open to question whether the one is restricted to geometric
growth rates and the other to arithmetic rates. However, Malthus' sober-
ing prophecy was sufficient to tag the study of economics as "the dismal
science." Recent literature also is well stocked with neo-Malthusian
writers. One writer, for example, attempts to provide "irrefutable docu-
mentation of how man's insane population growth will lead to man's
starvation-soon" (5, cover caption).
A middle-ground position on the Malthusian thesis is held by numer-
ous agricultural scientists, who agree that, while a potential problem
exists, food supplies can be increased to meet rising population growth
until the beginning of the 21st Century (3, 9, 45). They argue that the
long-run problem involves not food supplies so much as the need to
reduce population growth in the developing countries.
A third group takes a somewhat anti-Malthusian view. They postulate
that the basic survival problem does not stem from the pressures of large
numbers of people on resources but from the adverse effect of increased
wealth and incomes (7). They argue that the problem of food scarcity is
created not in the developing regions of the world, but rather in those
regions of the globe where people are rapidly becoming richer. This is
because people with relatively high incomes occupy more space, consume
more natural resources-including resources imported from developing
countries-and create more pollution. Control of individual income

1. Numbers in parentheses refer to Literature Cited.


1








growth is a policy arising from this viewpoint. Redistribution of income
and wealth from the rich to the poor is another logical extension of this
argument.
This bulletin will deal with three aspects of the world food problem:
factors affecting food consumption, factors affecting food production,
and the role of government policies. The significance of the first two
aspects is obvious. Rapid population growth, for example, quickly in-
creases the demand for food, and widespread drought can abruptly
reduce food production. The third factor, government policies, has a less
apparent but equally pervasive influence. While well-conceived govern-
ment policies can help to alleviate food problems, weak schemes can have
devastating effects. We will consider some examples of helpful and
harmful government actions later in this bulletin. First, however, we turn
to a consideration of factors affecting world food consumption.


2












FACTORS AFFECTING WORLD
FOOD CONSUMPTION

POPULATION

The major factor affecting the demand for food is the number of people
to be fed. From about eight million people in 8000 B.C., world popula-
tion has increased at an astonishing rate, particularly during the past 200
years, until in 1976 the world population exceeded four billion people
(Figure 1). The dramatic growth in population over the last two centuries
is due mainly to the application of improved health-related knowledge.
Population changes are influenced by two basic factors-the birth rate
and the death rate. Population increases when the birth rate (number of
live births per thousand population per year) exceeds the death rate
(number of deaths per thousand per year). As shown in the following
chart, the population will double in 47 years if the population growth rate
is 1.5 percent, and will double in 28 years if the net growth rate increases
to 2.5 percent.

POPULATION DOUBLING TIME
Population Growth Number of Years
Rate (%) to Double Population
1.0 70
1.5 47
2.0 35
2.5 28
3.0 24
3.5 20

The fertility rate is the key factor affecting birth rates. It is usually
defined as the number of live births per 1000 females of childbearing age
(15 to 44). The birth rate is linked to social attitudes, economic well-
being, fertility control, and education.
Death rates are influenced by nutrition, sanitation, health services, and
education. Population growth is more the result of falling death rates
than increased birth rates. Table 1 shows the variability of birth and death
rates and their impact upon population growth rates for selected coun-
tries. For example, the death rates for Sweden and Colombia are identi-
cal, but because of quite different birth rates, Colombia's population is
increasing at a rate of 3.2 percent per year, while Sweden's population
growth rate is almost zero.


3








4


" 3-
C
o

S2

a.
0


0 'I
8000 6000 4000 2000 BC AD

FIGURE 1. Population growth from 8000 B.C. to 1976.


In recent years, there has been a widening gap between the population
growth rates in developed and developing countries (Figure 2). While the
population growth rate in developed countries has decreased since 1960,
it has increased for the developing countries. The acceleration of popula-
tion growth in the developing areas is the result of a decline in death rates
without a compensating fall in fertility. In 1975, total population in the
developing nations was three times the total population for the developed
nations, and by 2000 A.D. it will be four times the total for developed
countries (6).
Population growth rates in Africa, Latin America, and Asia are
deemed excessive by many experts. But the problem is particularly
serious in parts of Asia because of high population density and limited
land and water resources.


INCOME AND INCOME DISTRIBUTION

The level of income of individuals greatly affects the quantity, quality,
and variety of foods purchased and consumed. Generally, people in
developing countries spend a much greater proportion of their income for
food than do people in developed countries. Also, food purchases
account for a larger proportion of total consumer expenditures in de-
veloping nations as compared to developed countries. For example, food
accounts for approximately 17 percent of total consumer expenditures in
the United States, but 49 percent in the Republic of Korea. Per capital
income in the United States is over 20 times the per capital income in
Korea.


4









TABLE 1. Population estimates, growth rates, birth rates, and death rates in
selected countries, 1976.


Population
estimates
(millions)


Country


Brazil
Bulgaria
Canada
Chad
Colombia
Ecuador
El Salvador
India
Iran
Mexico
Rhodesia
South Africa
Sweden
Tanzania
United Kingdom
United States


113.0
8.8
23.1
4.3
26.6
7.3
4.3
652.7
36.0
60.5
6.6
25.9
8.2
16.0
56.1
222.2


WORLD 4,240.7
SOURCE: E. R. Duncan (14, pp. 7-19).




2.5



2.0



1.5
Developed
countries
1.0 N I/


Population
growth
rate (%)
2.9
0.7
1.3
2.4
3.2
3.2
3.1
2.6
3.1
2.2
3.4
3.1
0.1
3.0
0.0
1.3
2.2


Birth rate
(per 1,000)
38
17
16
48
45
45
40
43
45
46
48
40
14
47
13
14
35


Death rate
(per 1,000)
10
10
7
25
11
11
8
17
17
8
14
17
11
22
12
9
14


1900-10 1910-20 1920-30 1930-40 1940-50


FIGURE 2. Population growth rate for developed and developing countries.


5









TABLE 1. Population estimates, growth rates, birth rates, and death rates in
selected countries, 1976.


Population
estimates
(millions)


Country


Brazil
Bulgaria
Canada
Chad
Colombia
Ecuador
El Salvador
India
Iran
Mexico
Rhodesia
South Africa
Sweden
Tanzania
United Kingdom
United States


113.0
8.8
23.1
4.3
26.6
7.3
4.3
652.7
36.0
60.5
6.6
25.9
8.2
16.0
56.1
222.2


WORLD 4,240.7
SOURCE: E. R. Duncan (14, pp. 7-19).




2.5



2.0



1.5
Developed
countries
1.0 N I/


Population
growth
rate (%)
2.9
0.7
1.3
2.4
3.2
3.2
3.1
2.6
3.1
2.2
3.4
3.1
0.1
3.0
0.0
1.3
2.2


Birth rate
(per 1,000)
38
17
16
48
45
45
40
43
45
46
48
40
14
47
13
14
35


Death rate
(per 1,000)
10
10
7
25
11
11
8
17
17
8
14
17
11
22
12
9
14


1900-10 1910-20 1920-30 1930-40 1940-50


FIGURE 2. Population growth rate for developed and developing countries.


5








A highly reliable maxim of economics holds that as real per capital
income increases, additional expenditures for food increase at a decreas-
ing rate. More meaningful in the context of developing societies is the
corollary that lower per capital incomes lead to a relatively large percen-
tage of income being spent on food. Even within the United States, the
poorer families spend as much as 39 percent of their incomes on food.
Thus, increases in the incomes of poor people in either developed or
developing nations have a greater effect on food demand than increases
in the incomes of the relatively affluent people.
There is considerable variability among nations in average per capital
income. For example, the data for selected countries in 1973 show a range
from $63 per capital in Chad to $3,357 per capital in the United States, or
over 50 times as much (Table 2). Table 2 also provides a crude measure of
income distribution, i.e., the percentage of Gross National Product
(GNP) received by the poorest 40 percent of the population. Rhodesia
and South Africa, for example, have the lowest measures of income
distribution; 8.2 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively, of the GNP of
these countries is received by the poorest 40 percent of the population
(Table 2).
Thus, distribution of income among nations and among people within
nations is a highly important factor affecting the demand for food.


TASTES AND PREFERENCES

Habits, along with relatively fixed tastes and preferences, characterize
the food consumption behavior of people throughout the world. Most
food habits came initially from people using foods that were available.
People from Southeast Asia ate rice because rice was their most abundant
food. People of West Africa ate sorghum because this is what they could
grow best. Many of these food habits have persisted even though modern
techniques and transportation have greatly altered the relative availabil-
ity of foods around the world.
In developing countries there has been consumer resistance to many
new varieties of traditional crops, such as rice, corn, and wheat. Accept-
ance of foods from nontraditional sources has met with even more
resistance. While considerable research activity exists throughout the
world on foods from unconventional sources-fish protein concentrate,
leaf protein, algal protein, seaweed, and wool-these new and potential
food sources are generally unpalatable and more expensive than tradi-
tional foods (36). Both soybeans and peanuts, however, offer potential
opportunities for economical food substitutes for future generations.
Major shifts in food tastes and preferences can greatly affect the
demand for food, particularly the mix of food products in the diet. If per


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capital income increases sharply, there is a basic tendency for food con-
sumption to shift from staple foods-such as wheat, rice, and potatoes-
to meat, fruit, and vegetables. In developing economies, increased afflu-
ence leads to the proliferation of synthetic and substitute food products
which also provide consumer services and conveniences.


THE DIET

Satisfying our food tastes and preferences does not necessarily lead to a
nutritious diet. Americans satisfy their palates, and yet suffer from
obesity and arteriosclerosis. Similarly, a Jamaican may refuse to include a
subsidized packet of "moon cheese" (a leaf protein) in his diet even
though his caloric intake is below the minimum dietary standard. In
general, however, total food consumption affects the level of nutrition of
people. The most common type of malnutrition in developing countries is
caused by a deficiency of calories and/or protein.
Most of the world's people rely upon high-carbohydrate foods (grains,
sugar, roots, tubers, and plantains) for a large percentage of their diet. In
fact, 70 percent of the world's caloric intake is derived from cereals,
roots, and sugar (Table 3). Rice and wheat are the dominant food grains.
The high-protein, low-carbohydrate foods (meat, fish, eggs, and milk)
account for only a minor part of total protein consumption.
By far the most extensive areas of nutritional deficiency are found in
South Asia (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) and Latin America


TABLE 3. Sources of mankind's food energy.

Food category Percent of total energy supply
Cereals 56
Rice 21
Wheat 20
Corn 5
Other 10
Roots and tubers 7
Potatoes and yams 5
Cassava 2
Fruits, nuts, and vegetables 10
Sugar 7
Fats and oils 9
Livestock products and fish 11
TOTAL 100
SOURCE: Lester R. Brown (6, p. 24).


8








capital income increases sharply, there is a basic tendency for food con-
sumption to shift from staple foods-such as wheat, rice, and potatoes-
to meat, fruit, and vegetables. In developing economies, increased afflu-
ence leads to the proliferation of synthetic and substitute food products
which also provide consumer services and conveniences.


THE DIET

Satisfying our food tastes and preferences does not necessarily lead to a
nutritious diet. Americans satisfy their palates, and yet suffer from
obesity and arteriosclerosis. Similarly, a Jamaican may refuse to include a
subsidized packet of "moon cheese" (a leaf protein) in his diet even
though his caloric intake is below the minimum dietary standard. In
general, however, total food consumption affects the level of nutrition of
people. The most common type of malnutrition in developing countries is
caused by a deficiency of calories and/or protein.
Most of the world's people rely upon high-carbohydrate foods (grains,
sugar, roots, tubers, and plantains) for a large percentage of their diet. In
fact, 70 percent of the world's caloric intake is derived from cereals,
roots, and sugar (Table 3). Rice and wheat are the dominant food grains.
The high-protein, low-carbohydrate foods (meat, fish, eggs, and milk)
account for only a minor part of total protein consumption.
By far the most extensive areas of nutritional deficiency are found in
South Asia (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) and Latin America


TABLE 3. Sources of mankind's food energy.

Food category Percent of total energy supply
Cereals 56
Rice 21
Wheat 20
Corn 5
Other 10
Roots and tubers 7
Potatoes and yams 5
Cassava 2
Fruits, nuts, and vegetables 10
Sugar 7
Fats and oils 9
Livestock products and fish 11
TOTAL 100
SOURCE: Lester R. Brown (6, p. 24).


8








(Northeastern Brazil, Andean Mountains, Mexico, and parts of Central
America). Serious malnutrition also exists in sub-Saharan Africa.
Throughout the world, the problem of malnutrition is inseparable from
the problem of poverty.


PRICES AND INFLATION

Relative price changes within the bundle of consumer food products
affect the relative quantities purchased of each. Thus, price changes
affect an individual's food choices, which in the aggregate can affect total
world food consumption. Even though people are quite rational in terms
of preferring more to less, they enter the market with relatively fixed
budgets which limit their decisions regarding the quantity and quality of
food purchased. Nevertheless, people do not necessarily utilize their
relatively fixed budgets to purchase a nutritious diet at the least cost. This
is because of cultural factors and the individual tastes and preferences
previously mentioned. While computerized least-cost rations are com-
monplace for dairy cows, broilers, and hogs, our interest in food variety
leads us beyond a fixed diet of peanut butter sandwiches, even though
they may provide most of our nutritional needs at relatively low cost.
Widespread inflation throughout the world also affects food consump-
tion patterns. For unemployed persons or those living on relatively low or
fixed incomes, inflation has a pernicious impact. Even in the United
States, the increase in food prices over the past few years brought a
number of changes in consumer behavior:
Increased price-consciousness (awareness of house brands, loss leaders,
specials),
Convenience foods scrutinized more closely for value,
Increased purchase of staples,
Use of cheaper proteins or meat cuts,
More home gardening,
Enlarged role of farmers' markets, roadside stands, and pick-your-own
operations, and
Increased consumption of relatively low cost "fast foods."
In the developing countries, inflation usually leads to a greater inequal-
ity of incomes and wealth, and a worsening of the quality of an already
carbohydrate-filled diet. Where malnutrition is already a serious prob-
lem, increased inflation can create further human misery and even starva-
tion. People worldwide are experiencing rising expectations for a "better
life," including a better diet. The contrast between these expectations
and the reality of rising food prices can result in bitter disappointment
and can contribute to social and political unrest.


9








GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS


National governments and international organizations often provide
food assistance programs for the relatively poor and malnourished. In
some cases, governments seek to stabilize consumer prices for basic food
items, such as wheat or sugar, to offset international market price gyra-
tions. Unfortunately, many food assistance and price stabilization
schemes do not fulfill their objectives of solving nutritional and dietary
problems of the poor and disadvantaged. Also, such programs sometimes
tend to inhibit (or at least not to increase) food production. So govern-
ments often face a dilemma-the need for relatively low food prices to
encourage consumption and better nutrition on the one hand and the
need for relatively higher prices to encourage food production and
marketing on the other hand. However, food assistance programs, such
as food donations, food stamps, and school lunches, have a positive
impact upon total food consumption and demand.
In the United States, the food stamp program has been relied upon to
"guarantee" adequate diets for the poor and disadvantaged. With its
huge federal budget outlay ($5.4 billion in fiscal 1977), various allegations
of mismanagement notwithstanding, the program has increased meat and
vegetable consumption by its recipients and generally has promoted
improved diets (45). Our federal outlays for international food assistance
programs (P.L. 480), however, generally have not been large enough to
be as effective in improving nutritional standards in the recipient coun-
tries.


URBANIZATION
The massive migration of people from the rural areas of the world to
cities is one of the pervasive features of the past quarter century. It was
estimated that 600 million people would migrate from rural to urban
areas during the 1970's, with over two-thirds of the migration occurring in
the developing countries (4). The rural investment requirements for
housing, schools, hospitals, public transportation, water, and energy are
enormous. Without these needed investments, the cities of the world will
become even more of an attraction for millions of homeless and unem-
ployed people.
The movement of the peasant and the landless rural poor to the cities
does not lessen the world food problem. Urbanization increases the
demand in the city food markets, as people who were self-sufficient
farmers, or partly so, become urban dwellers and must depend on mar-
kets for food. Urbanization also has the effect of changing farm produc-
tion and marketing patterns for those farmers who continue to till the
soil, since they now have a new or expanded market. In capitalistic


10








GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS


National governments and international organizations often provide
food assistance programs for the relatively poor and malnourished. In
some cases, governments seek to stabilize consumer prices for basic food
items, such as wheat or sugar, to offset international market price gyra-
tions. Unfortunately, many food assistance and price stabilization
schemes do not fulfill their objectives of solving nutritional and dietary
problems of the poor and disadvantaged. Also, such programs sometimes
tend to inhibit (or at least not to increase) food production. So govern-
ments often face a dilemma-the need for relatively low food prices to
encourage consumption and better nutrition on the one hand and the
need for relatively higher prices to encourage food production and
marketing on the other hand. However, food assistance programs, such
as food donations, food stamps, and school lunches, have a positive
impact upon total food consumption and demand.
In the United States, the food stamp program has been relied upon to
"guarantee" adequate diets for the poor and disadvantaged. With its
huge federal budget outlay ($5.4 billion in fiscal 1977), various allegations
of mismanagement notwithstanding, the program has increased meat and
vegetable consumption by its recipients and generally has promoted
improved diets (45). Our federal outlays for international food assistance
programs (P.L. 480), however, generally have not been large enough to
be as effective in improving nutritional standards in the recipient coun-
tries.


URBANIZATION
The massive migration of people from the rural areas of the world to
cities is one of the pervasive features of the past quarter century. It was
estimated that 600 million people would migrate from rural to urban
areas during the 1970's, with over two-thirds of the migration occurring in
the developing countries (4). The rural investment requirements for
housing, schools, hospitals, public transportation, water, and energy are
enormous. Without these needed investments, the cities of the world will
become even more of an attraction for millions of homeless and unem-
ployed people.
The movement of the peasant and the landless rural poor to the cities
does not lessen the world food problem. Urbanization increases the
demand in the city food markets, as people who were self-sufficient
farmers, or partly so, become urban dwellers and must depend on mar-
kets for food. Urbanization also has the effect of changing farm produc-
tion and marketing patterns for those farmers who continue to till the
soil, since they now have a new or expanded market. In capitalistic


10








societies the buying and selling functions of the market increase in
importance as self-sufficiency and barter transactions wane. In this sce-
nario, maintaining a certain living standard in the city becomes much
more uncertain, since food production is no longer a direct means of
survival.


FUTURE POPULATION GROWTH

From a world population of slightly over four billion in 1976, most
experts predict the world population to be in excess of six billion people
by the year 2000. Over one-half of the world population will reside in
Asia, with China and India each estimated to have over one billion
people. Europe, the Soviet Union, and the United States together may
have only one-sixth of the total. Brazil, with an estimated 215 million
people by 2000 A.D., will be approaching the U.S. total of 300 million
(Table 4).
There is growing evidence that population growth rates are beginning
to moderate in many parts of the world. A reduction of birth rates is
fortunately occurring at a time when world food production is increasing.
Even so, the current 2.0 percent annum growth rate will double the world
population in 35 years. Therefore, the job for agriculture-to produce
the additional and necessary food requirements-is immense.


TABLE 4. World population estimates for 2000 A.D.

Population estimates
2000 A.D.
Region (million)
Europe (east and west) 568
USSR 330
North America 333
United States 300
Canada 33
Oceania 35
Asia 3,778
Japan 133
China 1,176
India 1,114
Indonesia 258
Latin America 652
Mexico 135
Brazil 215
Africa 818
WORLD 6,494


11


SOURCE: University of California Food Task Force (45, p. 6).








societies the buying and selling functions of the market increase in
importance as self-sufficiency and barter transactions wane. In this sce-
nario, maintaining a certain living standard in the city becomes much
more uncertain, since food production is no longer a direct means of
survival.


FUTURE POPULATION GROWTH

From a world population of slightly over four billion in 1976, most
experts predict the world population to be in excess of six billion people
by the year 2000. Over one-half of the world population will reside in
Asia, with China and India each estimated to have over one billion
people. Europe, the Soviet Union, and the United States together may
have only one-sixth of the total. Brazil, with an estimated 215 million
people by 2000 A.D., will be approaching the U.S. total of 300 million
(Table 4).
There is growing evidence that population growth rates are beginning
to moderate in many parts of the world. A reduction of birth rates is
fortunately occurring at a time when world food production is increasing.
Even so, the current 2.0 percent annum growth rate will double the world
population in 35 years. Therefore, the job for agriculture-to produce
the additional and necessary food requirements-is immense.


TABLE 4. World population estimates for 2000 A.D.

Population estimates
2000 A.D.
Region (million)
Europe (east and west) 568
USSR 330
North America 333
United States 300
Canada 33
Oceania 35
Asia 3,778
Japan 133
China 1,176
India 1,114
Indonesia 258
Latin America 652
Mexico 135
Brazil 215
Africa 818
WORLD 6,494


11


SOURCE: University of California Food Task Force (45, p. 6).












ISSUES IN WORLD FOOD PRODUCTION

Perhaps it will aid us in our economic transition to realize that human
populations once faced the notion of eating oysters and later the
prospect of eating wheat with much the same enthusiasm that we now
face the prospect of eating seaweed, soy protein, and artificial orga-
nic molecules.
MARK NATHAN COHEN, The Food Crisis in Prehistory

It is somewhat reassuring to observe humankind thriving in spite of the
fact that in nearly every period of history for the past 10,000 years our
ancestors have been in or not far away from a food crisis (10). At times
the task of meeting basic food needs has looked rather easy; at times it has
looked nearly impossible. Such, too, has been the case during the past
decade, as we moved from a period of surpluses and cheap food in the late
60's to a period of tight food supplies and high prices in the early 1970's.
With good harvests in 1976, 1977, and 1978, the short-run tight food
situation is again eased.
What lies ahead? Food supply and population projections make the
situation look rather critical. Every year we are faced with more people to
feed, while nonhuman resources for producing food seem in shorter
supply. However, we do have the knowledge and resources to produce
adequate food supplies for the remainder of this century, so there is room
for guarded optimism.
Problems of distribution rather than production present the greatest
challenges. We know more about solving production problems than we
do about solving distribution problems to avoid malnutrition and starva-
tion among the poor. Indeed, recent evidence in Asia suggests that the
distribution situation is deteriorating (2). So even though we can be
somewhat optimistic about the adequacy of total food supplies for the
next few decades, we must be rather pessimistic about our ability to get
food to those who will most need it. Therefore, in a period when we
increasingly view an adequate subsistence diet as a basic human right as
well as a need, the world food situation will remain critically before us.


FOOD PRODUCTION PROJECTIONS

On a global scale, cereal grains make up most of our food. For exam-
ple, data from The International Food Policy Research Institute, IFPRI
(23), indicate that 80 percent of the food staples come from cereals in the


12












ISSUES IN WORLD FOOD PRODUCTION

Perhaps it will aid us in our economic transition to realize that human
populations once faced the notion of eating oysters and later the
prospect of eating wheat with much the same enthusiasm that we now
face the prospect of eating seaweed, soy protein, and artificial orga-
nic molecules.
MARK NATHAN COHEN, The Food Crisis in Prehistory

It is somewhat reassuring to observe humankind thriving in spite of the
fact that in nearly every period of history for the past 10,000 years our
ancestors have been in or not far away from a food crisis (10). At times
the task of meeting basic food needs has looked rather easy; at times it has
looked nearly impossible. Such, too, has been the case during the past
decade, as we moved from a period of surpluses and cheap food in the late
60's to a period of tight food supplies and high prices in the early 1970's.
With good harvests in 1976, 1977, and 1978, the short-run tight food
situation is again eased.
What lies ahead? Food supply and population projections make the
situation look rather critical. Every year we are faced with more people to
feed, while nonhuman resources for producing food seem in shorter
supply. However, we do have the knowledge and resources to produce
adequate food supplies for the remainder of this century, so there is room
for guarded optimism.
Problems of distribution rather than production present the greatest
challenges. We know more about solving production problems than we
do about solving distribution problems to avoid malnutrition and starva-
tion among the poor. Indeed, recent evidence in Asia suggests that the
distribution situation is deteriorating (2). So even though we can be
somewhat optimistic about the adequacy of total food supplies for the
next few decades, we must be rather pessimistic about our ability to get
food to those who will most need it. Therefore, in a period when we
increasingly view an adequate subsistence diet as a basic human right as
well as a need, the world food situation will remain critically before us.


FOOD PRODUCTION PROJECTIONS

On a global scale, cereal grains make up most of our food. For exam-
ple, data from The International Food Policy Research Institute, IFPRI
(23), indicate that 80 percent of the food staples come from cereals in the


12








Developing Market Economies (DME)-a category which excludes
communist block countries. Root crops make up 10 percent of the total,
and ground nuts and pulses make up the remaining 10 percent. About
two-thirds of the world's population live in these countries, and over
one-third live in low-income, food-deficient countries.
Among the DME's, Latin America has the fastest rate of growth in
food production-approximately 1 percent faster than the population
growth. This growth in food production is attributable mainly to Brazil,
Mexico, and Argentina. In most other South and Central American
countries, production has lagged behind population growth rates.
Sub-Sahara Africa, North Africa, and the Middle East performed
rather poorly in food production in recent years (1960-75). In these
regions, population growth outstripped the growth in food supplies. Food
production in Asia slightly exceeded the population growth during the
1960-75 period.
In all DME's, IFPRI has estimated that the average annual growth rate
in staple food production will be 2.9 percent between 1975 and 1990. This
rate compares to estimates of consumption growth rates of from 3.1 (1975
per capital levels) to 4.0 percent (levels expected with high income
growth).
The IFPRI estimates indicate production of 598.6 million metric tons
of food (measured in cereal equivalents)2 in the DME's by 1990. This
compares to estimated consumption requirements of 618.8 to 705.9 mil-
lion metric tons. Net deficits are, therefore, expected to range from 20 to
107 million tons per year (Figure 3) in all DME's and 31 to 80 million tons
in low-income, food-deficient DME's (Figure 4). The lowest projected
deficit for all DME's is about equal to the actual deficit experienced in
these countries in 1975. Latin America is expected to have a slight surplus
of food, while Asia and the African regions are expected to have food
shortages (Figure 5).
Of the developing countries, only Argentina, Pakistan, Thailand, Suri-
nam, and Uruguay are net exporters. Most developed countries are net
food importers. Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United States
are the only developed countries with significant net exports of food. The
United States is the world's largest food exporter. We export about
one-fourth of our total agricultural production-over 60 percent of our
wheat, 40 percent of our soybeans, and 15 percent of our corn. In total,
the United States accounts for about 60 percent of the grain that moves in
international trade.


2. Cereal equivalents represent an attempt to measure world food supplies in
terms of a homogeneous product. Various kinds of food, e.g., root crops, pulses,
and groundnuts, are converted to wheat equivalents on the basis of their caloric
content.


13








650
625
S600 Deficit at 1975 per capital consumption i
-R 575
550 Added deficit under low income growth
I consumption
a 525
S500 --Added deficit under high income
g475 growth consumption
S450 -
o 425
'o 400
o375 Consumption
350 Trend
E 325 \ Production
2 300 .
275 .
250 .
225
225 Actual Projected

1960/61 1965/66 1970/71 1975/76 1980/81 1985/86 1990/91

FIGURE 3. All food-deficit developing market economies: production and con-
sumption of major staples, 1960-75 and projected to 1990.
SOURCE: International Food Policy Research Institute (23, p. 45).



400 -
380 Deficit at 1975 per capital consumption
- 360 -
Added deficit under low income growth
340- consumption
320-
32 Added deficit under high income .
0 300 growth consumption
S280 .--

o 260 --.
. 240 --
Consumption .
E 220
Trend : Production
o 200
180
6 16o
160 Actual Projected

1960/61 1965/66 1970/71 1975/76 1980/81 1985/86 1990/91

FIGURE 4. Low-income food-deficit developing market economies: production
and consumption of major staples, 1960-75 and projected 1990.
SOURCE: International Food Policy Research Institute (23, p. 46).


14








650
625
S600 Deficit at 1975 per capital consumption i
-R 575
550 Added deficit under low income growth
I consumption
a 525
S500 --Added deficit under high income
g475 growth consumption
S450 -
o 425
'o 400
o375 Consumption
350 Trend
E 325 \ Production
2 300 .
275 .
250 .
225
225 Actual Projected

1960/61 1965/66 1970/71 1975/76 1980/81 1985/86 1990/91

FIGURE 3. All food-deficit developing market economies: production and con-
sumption of major staples, 1960-75 and projected to 1990.
SOURCE: International Food Policy Research Institute (23, p. 45).



400 -
380 Deficit at 1975 per capital consumption
- 360 -
Added deficit under low income growth
340- consumption
320-
32 Added deficit under high income .
0 300 growth consumption
S280 .--

o 260 --.
. 240 --
Consumption .
E 220
Trend : Production
o 200
180
6 16o
160 Actual Projected

1960/61 1965/66 1970/71 1975/76 1980/81 1985/86 1990/91

FIGURE 4. Low-income food-deficit developing market economies: production
and consumption of major staples, 1960-75 and projected 1990.
SOURCE: International Food Policy Research Institute (23, p. 46).


14





















Projected 1990 production


:: Projected 1990 consumption
: at 1975 per capital levels

D Projected additional 1990
consumption assuming low
income growth
B Projected additional 1990
consumption assuming high
income growth


H


Asia North
Africa/
Middle East


Sub- Latin
Saharan American


FIGURE 5. Developing market economies: projected 1990 production and con-
sumption of major staples, by region.
SOURCE: International Food Policy Research Institute (23, p. 48).


15


745 -+-


705 --


665 -4-


625 -t-


585 -


545 --


4)


0


0
o



u,

E
E
0
0i


505 +


465 --


425 --


385 4-


345 --


305 +


265 -


225 --


185 -I-


145 -I-


105 -t-


65 -I-


25 ---


Total
Developing
Market
Economies








During the last 25 years the world's food production increased every
year but two, 1972 and 1974. In the developed countries, food production
declined also in 1961 and 1969. The average annual rate of increase in
food production during this 25-year period was 2.8 percent (Figures 6 and
7). This rate of growth was 0.8 percent faster than the population growth
rate. Therefore, some progress has been made in providing more ade-
quate levels of food for the world's people.
This rather favorable picture is clouded by a persistent problem: the
disparity between the rich and the poor. On the international level, the
trends in per capital food production show an increasing gap between the
developed and developing countries (Figure 8). Further, there is evi-
dence that the rate of growth in food production is declining in the
developing countries (Table 5). This slowdown is particularly striking
when population is brought into the picture, by placing growth in food
production on a per capital basis (Table 6). These averages indicate one
dimension of the problem, but they obscure variability among countries
and among people within countries. Not only are there differences be-
tween rich and poor nations in availability of food, but there are great
differences in food consumption of rich and poor individuals within any
particular country.


140


- /
ao 120 Developed .
count
-o'a countries
o 11
o,, /. /\

19 5 100- 6 1 U.S.
S 100



.80 Developing
80 countries




1955 1960 1965 1970 1975
FIGURE 6. Indices of food production in developed and developing countries and
in the United States, 1954-73.

SOURCE: U. S. Department of Agriculture (44, p. 2).


16









61


Developing
k1 t


4 economies


2 \ /2
Developed K
aC d)/ market
( 0 \/ economies

0)

-2


-4
1961-65 1966-71 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976

FIGURE 7. Average annual growth rates in agricultural production in developing
and developed market economies, 1961-76.
SOURCE: World Bank (49: 1976, pp. 96, 97; 1977, pp. 104, 105).



C 120

S/
"1a o /Aj
S110
o 1 / Developed
S!1 // countries

0.'
S 100-


0 Developing
4 / countries
V 90 -

I



1955 1960 1965 1970 1975

FIGURE 8. Indices of per capital food production in developed and developing
countries, 1954-73.
SOURCE: U. S. Department of Agriculture (44, p. 2).


17









61


Developing
k1 t


4 economies


2 \ /2
Developed K
aC d)/ market
( 0 \/ economies

0)

-2


-4
1961-65 1966-71 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976

FIGURE 7. Average annual growth rates in agricultural production in developing
and developed market economies, 1961-76.
SOURCE: World Bank (49: 1976, pp. 96, 97; 1977, pp. 104, 105).



C 120

S/
"1a o /Aj
S110
o 1 / Developed
S!1 // countries

0.'
S 100-


0 Developing
4 / countries
V 90 -

I



1955 1960 1965 1970 1975

FIGURE 8. Indices of per capital food production in developed and developing
countries, 1954-73.
SOURCE: U. S. Department of Agriculture (44, p. 2).


17








TABLE 5. Average annual rates of growth of world and regional food production.

Developed Countries Developing Countries
Centrally Centrally
Period All Market planned All Market planned
1961-70 2.6 2.4 3.1 2.9 3.0 2.9
1970-76 2.3 2.4 2.1 2.6 2.7 2.4
SOURCE: Food and Agriculture Organization (19, p. 2).


TABLE 6. Average annual rates of growth of per capital food production in
developing countries.

Period All Market Centrally planned
1961-70 0.6 8.4 1.1
1970-76 0.3 0.1 0.6
SOURCE: Food and Agriculture Organization (19, p. 2).


THE PROBLEM OF POVERTY

The food problem is essentially a problem of poverty-not, at present,
a problem of shortages of worldwide food supplies.3 Too many people
cannot afford to purchase a minimally acceptable diet.
Incomes which are inadequate to purchase food for sustenance lead to
malnutrition and related health problems. And among the poor it is the
young, especially females, who suffer most. Malnutrition, diarrhea, and
respiratory infections appear to be the triad which causes death among
the young in many developing countries (37). Sanjogyo found that 80
percent of the families on Java, Indonesia, consumed grossly inadequate
diets; 37 percent of the children under seven were malnourished, 17
percent severely so (reported by Rohde, et al (37)). Shurtleff (41) esti-
mates that during the 1970's, 15 million individuals died each year of
starvation and diseases caused by malnutrition; of these deaths, 75 per-
cent were children. This estimates represents 41,000 deaths each day,
1,700 each hour.
The problem of poverty is basically one of production. The productiv-
ity of the poor must increase, and the socio-economic system must permit
these productivity increases to accrue to the poor if their lot is to be
improved. The question of how to increase the productivity of the rural
poor is not an easy one to answer. Basically, alternatives must exist; the

3. This section borrows from an earlier paper by Langham (27, pp. 12-20).


18








TABLE 5. Average annual rates of growth of world and regional food production.

Developed Countries Developing Countries
Centrally Centrally
Period All Market planned All Market planned
1961-70 2.6 2.4 3.1 2.9 3.0 2.9
1970-76 2.3 2.4 2.1 2.6 2.7 2.4
SOURCE: Food and Agriculture Organization (19, p. 2).


TABLE 6. Average annual rates of growth of per capital food production in
developing countries.

Period All Market Centrally planned
1961-70 0.6 8.4 1.1
1970-76 0.3 0.1 0.6
SOURCE: Food and Agriculture Organization (19, p. 2).


THE PROBLEM OF POVERTY

The food problem is essentially a problem of poverty-not, at present,
a problem of shortages of worldwide food supplies.3 Too many people
cannot afford to purchase a minimally acceptable diet.
Incomes which are inadequate to purchase food for sustenance lead to
malnutrition and related health problems. And among the poor it is the
young, especially females, who suffer most. Malnutrition, diarrhea, and
respiratory infections appear to be the triad which causes death among
the young in many developing countries (37). Sanjogyo found that 80
percent of the families on Java, Indonesia, consumed grossly inadequate
diets; 37 percent of the children under seven were malnourished, 17
percent severely so (reported by Rohde, et al (37)). Shurtleff (41) esti-
mates that during the 1970's, 15 million individuals died each year of
starvation and diseases caused by malnutrition; of these deaths, 75 per-
cent were children. This estimates represents 41,000 deaths each day,
1,700 each hour.
The problem of poverty is basically one of production. The productiv-
ity of the poor must increase, and the socio-economic system must permit
these productivity increases to accrue to the poor if their lot is to be
improved. The question of how to increase the productivity of the rural
poor is not an easy one to answer. Basically, alternatives must exist; the

3. This section borrows from an earlier paper by Langham (27, pp. 12-20).


18








poor must be able to get access to these alternatives; and they must have
an incentive to use them.4

ALTERNATIVES

If the rural poor are to increase their productivity in agriculture,
greater opportunities must exist for access to land, capital, technology,
and knowledge. All four are needed together. Providing access to land,
for example, will accomplish little without the capital, technology, and
education needed to use the land effectively.
Bringing new areas into production is one way to increase access to
land by the rural poor. Although the opportunities are severely limited in
some countries, such as Bangladesh, many countries will be able to open
up new land areas. This alternative requires capital for relocation of
people, sustenance during a developing period, and investment in new
infrastructures such as roads and schools. This plan also brings in the
complex of social and cultural problems associated with the relocation of
people, which could be quite difficult to overcome in a tradition-bound
society.
More and more, however, access to land will have to come through a
more intensive use of the land now in production. This will require
greater public and private investments in such things as irrigation sys-
tems, land leveling and terracing, and conservation practices. Improved
access to land may also require new ways of organizing land use. Tradi-
tional tenure arrangements often inhibit the investments and changes in
technology required to increase production. Therefore, changes in legal
and cultural structures are often as important as changes in the land itself
and in the machinery and technology of agriculture.
Improving alternatives in agriculture for the rural poor means policy
commitments at the national level for greater public investment in the
rural countryside. These commitments must be planned and carried out
with national and local interests participating.
Since most of the good farming land and the easy land to irrigate is
already in production, investments per worker for further development
will increase as lower and lower qualities of land are brought into produc-
tion. Also, if prices of farm commodities are kept at levels which are
politically acceptable to consumers in urban areas, farmers will probably
not be able to pay back the investment. That is, society will have to
subsidize the investment in exchange for the cheaper food which will
result from the greater production permitted by the investments.

4. Pierre Crosson (12) provides a discussion of these three ingredients in the
context of world food production.


19








Another potential gain for society is greater political stability. This may
result when the rural poor obtain access to something of value that they
would not want to risk losing in an environment of political instability.

ACCESS TO ALTERNATIVES

It is not sufficient for alternatives to exist; there must also be a mecha-
nism by which the rural poor can get access to them. Access can be
blocked in various ways, from internalized values to overt opposition
from other segments of a society. In the case of access to information,
cultural values may prevent the members of a society from seeking new
knowledge. Often the traditional wisdom has served well in the past. For
example, in a stable and traditional agricultural setting where there is
little change, as in many rural areas of Asia, there is strong evidence that
the rural poor do a good job of allocating their very limited resources (8,
22, 31, 38, 40). In such a setting, decisions become standardized into
tradition, and there is very little payoff to education.
In a more dynamic setting, where new alternatives are continually
emerging, decisions can no longer be made on the basis of tradition. The
economic return to education then increases, because it helps improve
decision-making ability and adjustment to a dynamic environment.
Access to education has little value if the poor are subsequently ex-
cluded from other alternatives, such as equal employment opportunities.
In such a case, the payoff from education, when viewed from the perspec-
tive of the poor, remains quite low.5
There is considerable interest today in the topic of access to public
services by the poor, whether they be in rural or urban areas.6 There is
strong evidence that the poor too often are excluded from access to such
services. A commitment is needed to the institutional changes required to
increase the access of the poor to the alternatives provided by public
expenditures. Institutions that would encourage central planning with
local input, in conjunction with broad-based local control, would perhaps
be the most effective in increasing food production and distribution.




5. Research by Lassiter (30) showed that as late as 1960 it was a rational
decision for young blacks in the United States to drop out of school at an earlier
age than whites. At that time, employment alternatives for blacks which required
education were largely restricted to teaching in black schools at low salaries.
6. For example, the Institute of Southeast Asia Studies and the International
Legal Center recently held a workshop on Access, Development, and Distribu-
tive Justice. Hollnsteiner's paper (21), among others, focused on access of the
poor.


20








INCENTIVES TO ACCESS ALTERNATIVES


When the poor are excluded from the decision making process, there is
real danger that the resulting policies will be paternalistic, and therefore
viewed with skepticism by the rural poor. Input from the rural poor is
essential in assessing the trade-offs involved in decisions. Otherwise,
there is particular danger that what is believed to be an incentive in some
bureaucratic office will turn out to be a disincentive at the grassroots
level. It is important to remember that what seems best for a country or
region may not be what is best for the rural poor. For example, because of
the need for food, efforts have been made to get greater adoption of
modern varieties of rice. However, farmers have good reason for their
reluctance to adopt the new varieties. Disincentives reported by farmers
(25) include an inferior eating quality of some modern rice varieties, the
increased purchase inputs they require, and the lower prices they bring in
the market. The mystery may not be why the small farmer doesn't adopt,
but rather why we should expect him to.
In the absence of accessible opportunities, the rural poor have little
choice. About the only real investment alternatives available to them are
to have children and/or to migrate. On the subject of children in low
income developing countries, Eberstadt stated:
It is the poorest of the poor who depend most on population growth for their
economic welfare, and for them it is not irrational to produce more children.
People will be better fed in poor countries not simply by making them lower
their birth rates (if accomplished through coercion, as now seems likely will
be tried in India's Punjab, this could lead to economic as well as political
tragedy). What is needed instead are the institutional changes which would
make it in the interest of the poor to lower their own birth rates. ... In every
nation where equality of income has increased, fertility has decreased,
perhaps because parents no longer need to depend on their children as a
source of income and old-age security (15, p. 35).
As for migration, a study by Papanek and Dorojatun (34) indicated that
the poor of Jakarta, Indonesia, had increases by over two-thirds in real
income (measured in terms of the amount of rice their income would buy)
after migration. Other studies in Manila also have presented convincing
evidence that the poor migrate for economic reasons.
It is doubtful if there can ever be much assurance that our new tech-
nologies and our activities will favor the unskilled labor of the rural poor.
Indeed, if history is a guide to the future, we can be assured that future
technologies will be more accessible to the better educated and wealthier
farmers, to the competitive disadvantage of the poor. This does not mean
that we not attempt to make labor more productive by developing tech-
nologies suited to developing countries. However, if the goal of making
labor more productive blinds us to opportunities to develop technologies


21








that would result in more total food, our efforts may merely benefit the
rural poor at the expense of the urban poor.7 Also, even if we are
successful in developing technologies that are biased in favor of labor, we
must realize that our efforts may be locking people into the kind of
employment where future growth rates in their productivity will remain
low, thus, prolonging a problem of poverty and its associated population
growth.
Major efforts to develop technologies that result in efficient food
production should continue. However, increased food production does
not in itself solve the food problems of the poor. The problems of food
distribution are even more critical. These are complex problems, arising
from the fact that a competitive environment coupled with efficient
markets works to the disadvantage of the poor.
As a free and competitive society develops, it increases its average
output per worker not only in primary production but also in the distribu-
tion system. Modern commodity markets develop as a part of the pro-
cess. These market mechanisms put a poor person, with his meager
supply of resources (including human capital), in competition with every
other person. The result is advantageous for economic efficiency, but it
can be catastrophic for the poor person. It means that because his
productivity is low, his earnings will remain meager. It also means that he
will now have to use his meager income to compete in the market with
people who are more affluent. If, for example, we want rice wine, we
have the effective power to bid rice away from the poor.8 If we want beef,
we can bid food grain away for animal feed. If we want fresh fruits and
vegetables, we can bid against him, and if some spoils in transit, the
wholesaler can throw it away without driving the price of the remainder
too high for us. The system is great for us, but not for the poor.
When market imperfections isolated the rural poor, they could be paid
in kind or could barter for their food. In fact, they produced primarily for
themselves and bartered away any excess. The point is that they had
control of the process. In contrast, as a country develops, the middle and
upper classes gain greater control with their greater knowledge and
financial resources. The system restricts the access of the poor even to
their essential food production processes.

7. In a debate over choice of technique in rice milling in Java (42), Timmer
argued that the welfare implications on the consumer side of the distributional
impact cannot be ignored and could more than offset losses on the production
side. Coller and others argued that a change away from hand pounding of rice
would cost the rural poor in Java $50 million. Timmer countered that there could
be savings to consumers of $165 million with new milling techniques and that the
gains to the urban poor could more than offset the losses to the rural poor.
8. Lappe and Collins (29) reported that in 1973 two thirds of Colombia's rice
was going into feedlots and breweries.


22








The concept of a free and open market economy is appealing to most of
us who have access to the market and can compete in this environment.
Indeed, it makes life easier for us by providing an abundance of things we
value. The open market society has an opposite result, however, for
those whose real incomes are low and are driven even lower by the
development process. As a consequence, the poor hold no allegiance to
such a system, and indeed are likely to be used by people who see their
dissatisfaction as a means of gaining control of the system. This is the
threat of a dual economy.
If a society is to be successful in avoiding such conflicts, it must be
sensitive to its poor. Agricultural policy needs a social and political
dimension, and investments in agriculture may be seen in part as invest-
ments in long-run stability.9 The basic principle is that the small farmers in
the rural countryside of developing countries need control over the
system to produce their own food. Otherwise, we should not be surprised
if there is discontent in the countryside. Investments which assure that
resources to produce food are broadly controlled are not a permanent
need. The size of units must be permitted to grow as the rural sector gives
up its labor (population) to urban industry in the developing process. A
balanced rural-urban investment strategy is needed to insure that rural
people are not locked into a system with a slow growth future. However,
we would point out that in the early phases of development, the dangers
are those associated with underinvestment in the agricultural sector;
there is generally too much neglect of the rural poor.


FOOD PRODUCTION CAPACITY

LAND AND WATER

Estimates by three research groups10 indicate that only 32 to 45 percent
of the world's potentially arable land is in use. Nearly two-thirds of this
unused land is in Africa, Asia (excluding the USSR), and South America.
Allowing for multiple cropping, the President's Science Advisory Com-
mittee estimates that the gross cropped area can be about 6.6 billion
hectares-nearly twice the arable land used today (13).
Estimates of water that could be used for agricultural purposes also
suggest that we are far from effectively using global potential. Using
estimates for both land and water, Crosson and Frederick (13) suggest
that no more than 50 percent of our agricultural lands are being utilized.

9. Kasper (24) suggests this is the case in Malaysia.
10. These studies were by the Presidents' Science Advisory Committee, the
FAO, and the USDA.


23








It is, of course, quite expensive to bring new lands into production.
New lands require access roads and investments in clearing, draining, and
irrigation. The FAO estimated it would cost 85 billion 1974 U.S. dollars
to bring new lands into production and to develop or improve irrigation
systems on existing land to meet 1985 production needs. Also, there are
environmental costs involved. The level of food prices acceptable to
consumers will probably not bring forth private funds of the magnitude
required. Consumers want low food prices, but low prices do not encour-
age private investments in agriculture. It also is uncertain whether gov-
ernments will consider investments in agriculture (vis-a-vis industry)
sufficiently attractive to commit the funds needed to produce adequate
food supplies.


INCREASING YIELDS

Increasing yields by using existing land more intensively through multi-
ple- and inter-cropping is an additional way to increase production.
Historical data suggest that a major portion of recent productivity in-
creases has come from yield increases (Table 7). Obtaining productivity
increases in this way requires investments in land improvements and in
research and extension activities to develop and disseminate information
on new technologies. More will be said about research and educational
needs in a later section.

UNEXPLOITED CROPS

The National Academy of Science (33) recently completed a study of
unexploited tropical plants. This study covered 36 plants from among 400
nominated for potential use for food. These plants included the marama
bean from the sandy regions of southern Africa, the winged bean of New
Guinea and Southeast Asia, the tarwi of South America, the bambara
groundnut of Africa, and Amaranth grains that were spread by the
Spanish from the New World to the other continents.
The Academy reports that throughout history humankind has used
some 3,000 plant species for food. Of these, 150 have been grown com-
mercially. Over time we have concentrated on fewer and fewer, until
today only about 20 crops are used for most of our food. Much of the
neglect has probably been due to a lack of research resources and direc-
tives to study and exploit less familiar crops. Very little research has been
done on the 36 plants surveyed by the National Academy of Science.
Also, many of these unexploited crops are what Vietmeyer (47) calls
"poor people's crops," so named because they are used by the poor and
grown only in their gardens. As a consequence, some of these crops have
been stigmatized by exclusive association with the poor.


24








It is, of course, quite expensive to bring new lands into production.
New lands require access roads and investments in clearing, draining, and
irrigation. The FAO estimated it would cost 85 billion 1974 U.S. dollars
to bring new lands into production and to develop or improve irrigation
systems on existing land to meet 1985 production needs. Also, there are
environmental costs involved. The level of food prices acceptable to
consumers will probably not bring forth private funds of the magnitude
required. Consumers want low food prices, but low prices do not encour-
age private investments in agriculture. It also is uncertain whether gov-
ernments will consider investments in agriculture (vis-a-vis industry)
sufficiently attractive to commit the funds needed to produce adequate
food supplies.


INCREASING YIELDS

Increasing yields by using existing land more intensively through multi-
ple- and inter-cropping is an additional way to increase production.
Historical data suggest that a major portion of recent productivity in-
creases has come from yield increases (Table 7). Obtaining productivity
increases in this way requires investments in land improvements and in
research and extension activities to develop and disseminate information
on new technologies. More will be said about research and educational
needs in a later section.

UNEXPLOITED CROPS

The National Academy of Science (33) recently completed a study of
unexploited tropical plants. This study covered 36 plants from among 400
nominated for potential use for food. These plants included the marama
bean from the sandy regions of southern Africa, the winged bean of New
Guinea and Southeast Asia, the tarwi of South America, the bambara
groundnut of Africa, and Amaranth grains that were spread by the
Spanish from the New World to the other continents.
The Academy reports that throughout history humankind has used
some 3,000 plant species for food. Of these, 150 have been grown com-
mercially. Over time we have concentrated on fewer and fewer, until
today only about 20 crops are used for most of our food. Much of the
neglect has probably been due to a lack of research resources and direc-
tives to study and exploit less familiar crops. Very little research has been
done on the 36 plants surveyed by the National Academy of Science.
Also, many of these unexploited crops are what Vietmeyer (47) calls
"poor people's crops," so named because they are used by the poor and
grown only in their gardens. As a consequence, some of these crops have
been stigmatized by exclusive association with the poor.


24








TABLE 7. Compound growth rates in factors affecting grain production, 1960-62
to 1969-71.

Area of
Country or region production Yield Production
Developed countries -0.1 2.8 2.7
United States -1.0 3.4 2.4
Centrally planned countries
East Europe -0.6 3.7 3.0
USSR -0.1 3.4 3.3
China (PRC) 0.5 2.2 2.7
Developing countries 1.4 1.9 3.5
1960-75" 1.1 1.6 2.7
WORLD 0.4 2.6 3.1
SOURCE: U. S. Department of Agriculture (44, p. 18).
a. IFPRI estimates (23, p. 128).


Before one dismisses the idea that one of these crops might become an
important source of food, it should be noted that the soybean was such a
crop until 50 years ago. The soybean was introduced into the United
States by Benjamin Franklin, and was virtually ignored until the 1920's,
when a comprehensive soybean research program was begun at the
University of Illinois. Today enough soybeans are produced to provide
over 40 pounds a year for everyone on the globe.


PREVENTING LOSSES

Food supplies can be increased by cutting losses during and after
production. Ennis et al. (16) have estimated that 30 percent of our food is
lost to agricultural pests during growing and storing. Additional losses are
incurred in mechanical harvesting, processing, transporting, wholesal-
ing, and retailing. Again, research and educational activities on ways to
prevent losses, as well as investments in required facilities and equip-
ment, are needed to reduce these losses.


ALTERING USAGE

Another way to increase the amount of food available is to alter the
way agricultural commodities are used. For example, some have argued
that we would have enough food if more were consumed directly by
humans rather than indirectly through livestock-particularly in the de-
veloped countries. Some people have become vegetarians for this reason;
they feel it is wrong to use potential food inefficiently to produce meat.
Most people, however, consider meat to be a desirable part of their diets.


25








TABLE 7. Compound growth rates in factors affecting grain production, 1960-62
to 1969-71.

Area of
Country or region production Yield Production
Developed countries -0.1 2.8 2.7
United States -1.0 3.4 2.4
Centrally planned countries
East Europe -0.6 3.7 3.0
USSR -0.1 3.4 3.3
China (PRC) 0.5 2.2 2.7
Developing countries 1.4 1.9 3.5
1960-75" 1.1 1.6 2.7
WORLD 0.4 2.6 3.1
SOURCE: U. S. Department of Agriculture (44, p. 18).
a. IFPRI estimates (23, p. 128).


Before one dismisses the idea that one of these crops might become an
important source of food, it should be noted that the soybean was such a
crop until 50 years ago. The soybean was introduced into the United
States by Benjamin Franklin, and was virtually ignored until the 1920's,
when a comprehensive soybean research program was begun at the
University of Illinois. Today enough soybeans are produced to provide
over 40 pounds a year for everyone on the globe.


PREVENTING LOSSES

Food supplies can be increased by cutting losses during and after
production. Ennis et al. (16) have estimated that 30 percent of our food is
lost to agricultural pests during growing and storing. Additional losses are
incurred in mechanical harvesting, processing, transporting, wholesal-
ing, and retailing. Again, research and educational activities on ways to
prevent losses, as well as investments in required facilities and equip-
ment, are needed to reduce these losses.


ALTERING USAGE

Another way to increase the amount of food available is to alter the
way agricultural commodities are used. For example, some have argued
that we would have enough food if more were consumed directly by
humans rather than indirectly through livestock-particularly in the de-
veloped countries. Some people have become vegetarians for this reason;
they feel it is wrong to use potential food inefficiently to produce meat.
Most people, however, consider meat to be a desirable part of their diets.


25








TABLE 7. Compound growth rates in factors affecting grain production, 1960-62
to 1969-71.

Area of
Country or region production Yield Production
Developed countries -0.1 2.8 2.7
United States -1.0 3.4 2.4
Centrally planned countries
East Europe -0.6 3.7 3.0
USSR -0.1 3.4 3.3
China (PRC) 0.5 2.2 2.7
Developing countries 1.4 1.9 3.5
1960-75" 1.1 1.6 2.7
WORLD 0.4 2.6 3.1
SOURCE: U. S. Department of Agriculture (44, p. 18).
a. IFPRI estimates (23, p. 128).


Before one dismisses the idea that one of these crops might become an
important source of food, it should be noted that the soybean was such a
crop until 50 years ago. The soybean was introduced into the United
States by Benjamin Franklin, and was virtually ignored until the 1920's,
when a comprehensive soybean research program was begun at the
University of Illinois. Today enough soybeans are produced to provide
over 40 pounds a year for everyone on the globe.


PREVENTING LOSSES

Food supplies can be increased by cutting losses during and after
production. Ennis et al. (16) have estimated that 30 percent of our food is
lost to agricultural pests during growing and storing. Additional losses are
incurred in mechanical harvesting, processing, transporting, wholesal-
ing, and retailing. Again, research and educational activities on ways to
prevent losses, as well as investments in required facilities and equip-
ment, are needed to reduce these losses.


ALTERING USAGE

Another way to increase the amount of food available is to alter the
way agricultural commodities are used. For example, some have argued
that we would have enough food if more were consumed directly by
humans rather than indirectly through livestock-particularly in the de-
veloped countries. Some people have become vegetarians for this reason;
they feel it is wrong to use potential food inefficiently to produce meat.
Most people, however, consider meat to be a desirable part of their diets.


25








As their incomes go up, they will insist on improving the quality of their
diets, as they perceive it. The expectation is that more, not less, animal
products will be demanded. More attention is being given to producing
livestock without diverting large quantities of potential human foodstuffs
such as grains; fortunately, animals also convert grasses and other food-
stuffs that are not suitable for direct human consumption into high quality
food.
As constraints on fossil fuels get tighter, increased demands may be
placed on agricultural lands to produce biomass for conversion to energy.
There has been some experimental interest in using grains, sugarcane,
and timber to produce energy. Although the outlook is uncertain at this
time, we would expect that in the future, food uses will have to compete
even more with nonfood as well as indirect food uses of agricultural
products.

CLIMATOLOGICAL FACTORS

Weather is a dominant factor in short-run fluctuations in food produc-
tion. At present we have little influence over weather as it affects our
global food supply. With time and additional investments in irrigation
systems and research on weather control, we may be able to do more to
help alleviate the effect of serious drought.
There is general agreement among climatologists that we have had an
unusually long string of years in which weather has been generally favor-
able for worldwide crop production. In a "Frontiers of Science" lecture at
the University of Florida in 1974, James McQuigg, a climatologist from
the University of Missouri, warned that we are likely, at any time now, to
get a string of bad-weather years. And, even if we are lucky enough to
escape this fate, weather shocks will come often enough to remind us that
weather variability is still an important factor in short-run food supplies.
It is fortunate that bad weather is generally distributed over years and
regions, so that our total global food production remains fairly stable
from year to year.


THE MANAGERIAL FACTOR

Improved management is a joint product of education and experience.
In traditional agricultural systems there is very little questioning. Life
goes on pretty much as in the past, and the major role of management is
to schedule jobs so that they are done on time or when the "sign" is right.
In a modern system in which decisions are made outside the realm of
experience, decision principles become more important, and there is a
much greater payoff to formal educational activities. In this more dy-
namic setting, adult extension programs are vitally important in order to


26








As their incomes go up, they will insist on improving the quality of their
diets, as they perceive it. The expectation is that more, not less, animal
products will be demanded. More attention is being given to producing
livestock without diverting large quantities of potential human foodstuffs
such as grains; fortunately, animals also convert grasses and other food-
stuffs that are not suitable for direct human consumption into high quality
food.
As constraints on fossil fuels get tighter, increased demands may be
placed on agricultural lands to produce biomass for conversion to energy.
There has been some experimental interest in using grains, sugarcane,
and timber to produce energy. Although the outlook is uncertain at this
time, we would expect that in the future, food uses will have to compete
even more with nonfood as well as indirect food uses of agricultural
products.

CLIMATOLOGICAL FACTORS

Weather is a dominant factor in short-run fluctuations in food produc-
tion. At present we have little influence over weather as it affects our
global food supply. With time and additional investments in irrigation
systems and research on weather control, we may be able to do more to
help alleviate the effect of serious drought.
There is general agreement among climatologists that we have had an
unusually long string of years in which weather has been generally favor-
able for worldwide crop production. In a "Frontiers of Science" lecture at
the University of Florida in 1974, James McQuigg, a climatologist from
the University of Missouri, warned that we are likely, at any time now, to
get a string of bad-weather years. And, even if we are lucky enough to
escape this fate, weather shocks will come often enough to remind us that
weather variability is still an important factor in short-run food supplies.
It is fortunate that bad weather is generally distributed over years and
regions, so that our total global food production remains fairly stable
from year to year.


THE MANAGERIAL FACTOR

Improved management is a joint product of education and experience.
In traditional agricultural systems there is very little questioning. Life
goes on pretty much as in the past, and the major role of management is
to schedule jobs so that they are done on time or when the "sign" is right.
In a modern system in which decisions are made outside the realm of
experience, decision principles become more important, and there is a
much greater payoff to formal educational activities. In this more dy-
namic setting, adult extension programs are vitally important in order to


26








continually upgrade farmers' managerial abilities. A sophisticated agri-
business sector can greatly assist with this function in developed coun-
tries. However, in developing countries this function must rest mainly
with government programs.


INSTITUTIONAL CONSTRAINTS

Institutional constraints pervade every dimension of the food problem
and are most critical. The next major section focuses on these factors, and
we simply acknowledge their importance here.

THE ENVIRONMENT

Even though the evidence suggests that there are enough resources to
produce the foods man will need during the remainder of this century, the
increased production will not be without environmental costs. Bringing
more land into production will add greatly to erosion problems-which
will lead to the silting up of irrigation systems, navigable inland waters,
and harbors. Also, as larger areas are planted to crops, the monocultural
environment will destroy some of nature's checks and balances. As a
consequence, greater problems will be experienced with diseases and
insects. These environmental problems will also require increasing in-
vestments.
Because of the problems involved in increasing food production, some
(5, 17) argue that we have already reached or exceeded our capacity to
feed people. However, the evidence does not support this contention.


RELAXING CONSTRAINTS ON PRODUCTIVE CAPACITY

NEW LAND DEVELOPMENT

In the previous section we cited evidence that considerable potential
exists to increase the amount of arable land in agricultural production.
However, adding new land to production will become increasingly more
difficult and more expensive as time goes on. This is because much of the
best agricultural land is already in production. New land available for
development will be of increasingly poorer quality, increasingly more
remote, etc. Thus the cost per unit of bringing more land into production
increases as more land is developed in a particular country.
The question is whether the people of the various countries will feel
that the cost (whether private or public) of new agricultural land will be
worth the benefits in extra food. Since the poor do not have a very
effective lobby in most societies, it is likely that governments will not or


27








continually upgrade farmers' managerial abilities. A sophisticated agri-
business sector can greatly assist with this function in developed coun-
tries. However, in developing countries this function must rest mainly
with government programs.


INSTITUTIONAL CONSTRAINTS

Institutional constraints pervade every dimension of the food problem
and are most critical. The next major section focuses on these factors, and
we simply acknowledge their importance here.

THE ENVIRONMENT

Even though the evidence suggests that there are enough resources to
produce the foods man will need during the remainder of this century, the
increased production will not be without environmental costs. Bringing
more land into production will add greatly to erosion problems-which
will lead to the silting up of irrigation systems, navigable inland waters,
and harbors. Also, as larger areas are planted to crops, the monocultural
environment will destroy some of nature's checks and balances. As a
consequence, greater problems will be experienced with diseases and
insects. These environmental problems will also require increasing in-
vestments.
Because of the problems involved in increasing food production, some
(5, 17) argue that we have already reached or exceeded our capacity to
feed people. However, the evidence does not support this contention.


RELAXING CONSTRAINTS ON PRODUCTIVE CAPACITY

NEW LAND DEVELOPMENT

In the previous section we cited evidence that considerable potential
exists to increase the amount of arable land in agricultural production.
However, adding new land to production will become increasingly more
difficult and more expensive as time goes on. This is because much of the
best agricultural land is already in production. New land available for
development will be of increasingly poorer quality, increasingly more
remote, etc. Thus the cost per unit of bringing more land into production
increases as more land is developed in a particular country.
The question is whether the people of the various countries will feel
that the cost (whether private or public) of new agricultural land will be
worth the benefits in extra food. Since the poor do not have a very
effective lobby in most societies, it is likely that governments will not or


27








perhaps cannot make the kinds of expenditures and investments required
to adequately feed them.


NEW TECHNOLOGIES IN FOOD PRODUCTION
Evidence was presented in Table 6 to show that in recent years we have
experienced a decrease in the rate of growth in per capital food produc-
tion. The data in Table 7 show that the largest gains in food production in
recent years have come from increases in yield or output per hectare. As
we look to the future, it is likely that both of these trends will continue. To
maintain growth in food production through increased yields, invest-
ments in research and extension activities are required. And, we are
faced with an increasing cost for new knowledge in food production. We
have taken advantage of many of the easier gains which have come from
manipulating existing genetic variability and from rather easily attained
basic knowledge of plant and animal nutrition. As a consequence, we
may be faced with increasing stagnation in productivity (39).
However, there are some exciting things going on in agricultural re-
search to preserve genetic variability and to tailor knowledge to local
environments. The work by the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations in
establishing an international agricultural research network in the early
1960's was a development of major consequence. The world's food
supply has already benefited greatly from the technologies associated
with modern varieties of wheat and rice which came from the work of the
international centers. These institutes are now playing a major role in
collecting and preserving genetic materials for various food crops.
The international centers are mostly located in tropical areas, where
much of the potential for increased production exists and where most of
the people who need food live (Figure 9). Each of these institutes are
listed in Table 8 by name, with date of founding and crop responsibilities.
During recent years we have learned that agricultural technology is site
specific. And, we now realized that a much greater effort will be required
at the local level if technologies appropriate for local conditions are to be
developed and made available to the small farmers of the world. The
international institutes have realized that they cannot develop and dis-
seminate the needed technology at the local level. Instead, they are
moving to serve national scientists by supplying genetic materials, facili-
tating collaboration, and offering other supporting activities. The insti-
tutes have made a great impact, given their relatively small budgets and
staffs.
Evenson and Kislev (18) estimate that societies have received returns
of 21 percent on their investments in applied agricultural research in
developed countries and 47 percent in developing countries. They also
estimate that returns for basic research in agriculture are 60 percent for


28













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developed countries and 36 percent for developing countries. These
estimates suggest that developed countries should be doing more basic
research relative to applied research. Their estimates of return on invest-
ments in extension activities range from 29 to 60 percent depending upon
the commodity and country.
In the United States we anticipated the value of agricultural research
and education rather early in our history. An act of Congress in 1862
created the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Also in 1862, the Morrill
Act encouraged a system of agricultural colleges in all the states. The
Hatch Act in 1887 established agricultural experiment stations at land
grant universities. The Smith-Lever Act in 1914 provided for our federal-
state cooperative agricultural extension service. The Smith-Hughes Act
of 1916 provided for agricultural courses in high schools.
Agricultural experiment stations are well distributed throughout the
country (Figure 10), permitting development of technologies which are
tailored to local conditions. Even with our sophisticated agricultural
research structure, it takes time to develop crop varieties that are suitable
for a particular region and to disseminate information to farmers. Figure
11 provides one well-documented example of this lag in the case of hybrid
corn. The early corn hybrids were developed for cornbelt conditions in
the 1930's, and they were adopted rapidly in states like Iowa where this
new technology was ideally suited. By World War II most of the corn
planted in the heart of the cornbelt was hybrid. By contrast, the early
hybrids were not suitable for the growing conditions in southern states,
and it was not until after World War II that hybrids for the South were
developed. As a consequence, major adoption of hybrid corn in this area
of the United States took place in the early 1950's.

100
Iowa
80 Wisconsin

60 Kentucky
40Texas
40

20 Alabama
10
0 I i I

1932 '36 '40 '44 '48 '52 1956

FIGURE 11. Percentage of total corn acreage planted with hybrid seed.
SOURCE: Zvi Griliches (20, p. 502).


35








In 1965, the latest year for which we have data, the United States had
the equivalent of 13,800 full-time scientists working in agricultural re-
search and extension. The data (Table 9) show that the United States
makes a great contribution to the world's agricultural knowledge. What
the figures do not show is that many of the agricultural scientists in other
countries were trained in the United States.

TABLE 9. Scientific personnel and expenditures in agricultural research and
extension by selected countries, 1965.

Percent Expenditures Percent
Country Scientists" of total ($1,000 U.S.) of total
United States 13,800 25 528,000 41
USSR 9,624 18 42,200 3
Japan 4,500 8 98,810 8
Australia 2,085 4 56,364 4
United Kingdom 1,839 3 41,960 3
West Germany 1,788 3 79,031 6
Canada 1,483 3 66,667 5
India 1,462 3 12,000 5
Yugoslavia 1,340 2 5,233 0
Philippines 1,256 2 7,078 1
All Others 15,497 28 363,856 28
TOTAL 54,674 99'' 1,301,199 100
SOURCE: Robert E. Evenson and Yoau Kislev (18, pp. 165-169).
a. Reported on the basis of full-time scientists per year.
b. Does not add to 100 due to rounding.



SOME THOUGHTS ON THE CURRENT AND
NEAR FUTURE FOOD SITUATION

Schuh (39) has argued rather convincingly that, historically, U.S. food
has been priced artificially high for foreign buyers, but that the two
devaluations (in relation to gold) of the U.S. dollar (8 percent in August
1971 and 10 percent in February 1973) have placed us in a more open
international food market. Our great dependence on the international
market for energy makes it very important for us to continue to export
huge quantities of food to help pay for oil. As a consequence, the U.S.
consumer is less isolated from the world market than has been the case in
the past.
Although there is no reason why we should not continue to have an
adequate supply of food at prices that are reasonable, we may be facing a
period where the world demand for food will increase somewhat faster
than the supply. If so, we may continue to experience increasing prices in


36








In 1965, the latest year for which we have data, the United States had
the equivalent of 13,800 full-time scientists working in agricultural re-
search and extension. The data (Table 9) show that the United States
makes a great contribution to the world's agricultural knowledge. What
the figures do not show is that many of the agricultural scientists in other
countries were trained in the United States.

TABLE 9. Scientific personnel and expenditures in agricultural research and
extension by selected countries, 1965.

Percent Expenditures Percent
Country Scientists" of total ($1,000 U.S.) of total
United States 13,800 25 528,000 41
USSR 9,624 18 42,200 3
Japan 4,500 8 98,810 8
Australia 2,085 4 56,364 4
United Kingdom 1,839 3 41,960 3
West Germany 1,788 3 79,031 6
Canada 1,483 3 66,667 5
India 1,462 3 12,000 5
Yugoslavia 1,340 2 5,233 0
Philippines 1,256 2 7,078 1
All Others 15,497 28 363,856 28
TOTAL 54,674 99'' 1,301,199 100
SOURCE: Robert E. Evenson and Yoau Kislev (18, pp. 165-169).
a. Reported on the basis of full-time scientists per year.
b. Does not add to 100 due to rounding.



SOME THOUGHTS ON THE CURRENT AND
NEAR FUTURE FOOD SITUATION

Schuh (39) has argued rather convincingly that, historically, U.S. food
has been priced artificially high for foreign buyers, but that the two
devaluations (in relation to gold) of the U.S. dollar (8 percent in August
1971 and 10 percent in February 1973) have placed us in a more open
international food market. Our great dependence on the international
market for energy makes it very important for us to continue to export
huge quantities of food to help pay for oil. As a consequence, the U.S.
consumer is less isolated from the world market than has been the case in
the past.
Although there is no reason why we should not continue to have an
adequate supply of food at prices that are reasonable, we may be facing a
period where the world demand for food will increase somewhat faster
than the supply. If so, we may continue to experience increasing prices in


36








real terms for our basic food items. We will then be less able to offer food
aid in the future than in the past. Hopefully, we will not reach the point
where we will be unable or unwilling to assist a country with food aid in
cases of dire emergency.
This section on issues in food production opened with a quote implying
that additional exotic forms of food will enter our menu. Higher relative
prices for food in recent years have increased interest in minor corps and
other nontraditional and exotic sources of food. This interest will lead to
new foods, but development will be slow, and such items will comprise
only a small fraction of our world food, at least in this century. However,
even 1 percent of the world's food is very important, and all supply
sources of wholesome food need to be encouraged. Since food habits and
minor items in the diet vary considerably among the people of the world,
this is one area where shared experiences can help to marginally increase
our food supply.


37












IMPACT OF GOVERNMENTS AND
INSTITUTIONS ON WORLD FOOD SUPPLIES

Although getting enough to eat has been a problem for most of the
people of the world most of the time, the idea of a world food problem is
fairly recent. The development of transportation to move food long
distances, the development of communication facilities, and the develop-
ment of simple humanitarianism on an international scale have caused us
to think of food sufficiency as a world concern rather than as a family or
local concern.
Throughout history, adverse weather, war, and pestilence have bred
famine around the world; yet, few have known or cared, beyond those
immediately affected. In our time, we do know and do care when the
people of sub-Sahara Africa experience hunger, and so we have devised a
complex array of national and international machinery to try to alleviate
human suffering. The very newness of our concern over the world's food
supply perhaps partly explains our ineptness in solving the world food
problem.
Concern of governments with food is not new, however; it is as old as
organized society itself. The archeological remains of ancient civilizations
reveal a universal concern of governments with food or with resources to
produce food. In the Biblical account, Joseph was appointed minister of
agriculture by the Pharaoh of Egypt in order to carry out a plan to put the
government in charge of food storage. Few stories of famine end as
happily as this one. The history of humanity is dominated by wars and
other violence whose root cause was the struggle for food.
When food supplies and information were local in scope, the concern
of government was limited to that locality. Concern became national in
scope with the development of the nation-state, as demonstrated, for
example, in the debates over food in early 19th century England that
climaxed in the repeal of the "Corn Laws."" Concern became interna-
tional in scope after two world wars, with the growing realization that
food supplies and needs throughout the world are interwoven in subtle
and complex ways.
It should be made clear that governments do not produce food. No
government decree ever produced a bushel of wheat or a pound of pork.
It is the people who produce and consume food. But government, mean-

11. The "Corn Laws" set conditions under which grain could be imported and
exported.


38








ing people collectively, produces the legal and institutional environment
within which people live and work. Governments can and do persuade,
induce, and coerce people to act. Governments can and do liberate or
inhibit individual actions with respect to both production and consump-
tion of food. Governments, directly and indirectly, can help make food
abundant or scarce, and it behooves them to know which they are doing.


SOME EXAMPLES OF POSITIVE GOVERNMENT DECISIONS

THE U. S. CASE

We in the United States are extremely fortunate in the abundance,
quality, and relatively low cost of our food when compared with most
people of the world, and with people of our own nation in earlier times.
To reach this relatively happy state of affairs, we must have been doing
something right, even though our newspapers tell us almost daily about
what we do wrong.
Of course, we are well endowed with resources, but the abundance of
resources alone is insufficient to explain our extremely productive agri-
culture. Other countries also have had relatively abundant resources but
have failed to develop the degree of productivity that we enjoy. We have
had a population of industrious and relatively well-educated farmers, but
other countries too (Argentina, for example) have had a similar popula-
tion. What then distinguishes our agriculture from that of many other
countries struggling for development?
Basically, we have had a land tenure system that rewarded innovation
and productivity. Governments-state and federal-defined property
rights in land and made land widely available but in units large enough to
generate capital. This feature of our agriculture, often taken for granted,
seems so simple that we fail to realize its importance until we compare it
with countries having widely different land tenure systems. The planta-
tion systems dominant in the agricultural development of much of Latin
America, for example, fail to reward the cultivator for innovation, so
productivity lags. The Islamic tenure system predominant in much of the
Moslem world does not provide the individual farmer with the security
necessary to stimulate capital investment in land productivity. The com-
mon tenure on much of the grazing lands of the world discourages
concern about productivity and conservation. These brief comments
oversimplify the case, but it is a fact that our system of land tenure as
defined by state and federal governments is basic to the development of
our increasingly productive agriculture.
Productive resources and a land tenure system that rewards innovation
are only part of the story. Nearly a century ago, farsighted leaders in


39








Congress, in cooperation with state institutions, established a system of
publicly supported agricultural research and education. For the first time,
the basic sciences of chemistry, biology, and physics were applied on a
large scale to deal with the production problems of an industry. Scientific
progress came slowly at first but rapidly increased. The history of our
agriculture during the past 50 years is full of successes. Our national
average yield of corn now exceeds 100 bushels an acre-seven times the
average yield in 1928. We now get our hens to lay 270 eggs each a year,
four times the number laid by our grandmothers' hens. We now harvest
1V4 tons of peanuts per acre, when grandpa felt lucky to get a fifth as
much. The examples can go on and on. Widespread government-
sponsored research deserves much of the credit for this explosion in
productivity.
The results could not have been achieved without concomitant de-
velopment in the industries that serve agriculture. The farm machinery
industry, the fertilizer industry, the pesticide industry, and services such
as marketing, transportation, and banking have played a vital role in
developing our agricultural system. The importance of this role cannot be
fully appreciated without a visit to countries that do not have these
supporting industries. Our government has promulgated a legal and
economic climate generally conducive to the development of these vital
parts of our agriculture.
Still another vital ingredient of our agricultural development has been
the development of transportation systems by government or with the
encouragement of government. First canals, then wagon roads, then
railroads, and more recently farm-to-market roads and superhighways
have been built-all of which are vital to agricultural development. We
take these transportation networks largely for granted and do not often
identify them as a necessary part of our agricultural productivity. But,
their role is impressive in comparison to the transportation in a country
where farmers must walk 20 kilometers with packs on their backs or on a
donkey's back to market their produce.
A description of the relationship between our government and agricul-
ture would not be complete without mention of the vast array of rules and
programs dealing with marketing and financing agriculture. Such actions
as the Fair Trading Practices Act, the Packers and Stockyards Act, the
Marketing Orders and Agreements Act, and many others help assure the
producer a fair opportunity in the market place. Again, these programs
cannot be fully appreciated except in contrast to countries where local
traders routinely cheat producers, thus removing much of the incentive to
produce and market.
These comments only indicate some highlights of the relationships
between government and agriculture in the United States. The fact that
we can feed our population well and export about one-fourth of our total


40








production-the fact that the U.S. population has been required to spend
a generally decreasing proportion of disposable income for food during
the past 50 years-and the fact that we have done this with a steadily
decreasing proportion of our labor force on farms (now only about 3
percent)-all suggest that we have done something right in our agricul-
tural industry. This does not mean that our farmers are always happy with
their prices and income or that housewives are always happy with the
price of groceries. It does mean that our agricultural system generally
works well for us. In fact, few other people in the world have fared as well
as we have.


OTHER EXAMPLES

Although the United States is the most outstanding example of success-
ful government programs relating to agriculture, various other countries
have also experienced successes in governmental actions. For example,
the land reform and technical assistance programs for agriculture initi-
ated in Taiwan shortly after World War II have been quite successful both
in increasing total food production and in improving the lot of food
producers. The program to drill tube-wells in the Punjab has helped India
achieve a level of agricultural output considered quite impossible two
decades ago. Technical advances in wheat and rice production, along
with government policies that at least did not inhibit food production,
have helped revolutionize the agriculture of Mexico, Turkey, Thailand,
and many other countries. The recent lifting of price controls in India on
wheat and rice is another positive governmental action.


SOME EXAMPLES OF GOVERNMENT MISTAKES

Unfortunately, not all government programs affecting agriculture have
had the desired result. It might be instructive to explore a few examples of
failures of government programs relating to agriculture.


THE ARGENTINA CASE

Argentina is a country well endowed with productive land and re-
sourceful people (largely a western European population like ours).
Shortly after the first Peron era, the government of Argentina was
disturbed by declining exports of beef and wheat, the chief sources of
foreign exchange earnings. The government wished to increase foreign
exchange earnings if possible.


41








production-the fact that the U.S. population has been required to spend
a generally decreasing proportion of disposable income for food during
the past 50 years-and the fact that we have done this with a steadily
decreasing proportion of our labor force on farms (now only about 3
percent)-all suggest that we have done something right in our agricul-
tural industry. This does not mean that our farmers are always happy with
their prices and income or that housewives are always happy with the
price of groceries. It does mean that our agricultural system generally
works well for us. In fact, few other people in the world have fared as well
as we have.


OTHER EXAMPLES

Although the United States is the most outstanding example of success-
ful government programs relating to agriculture, various other countries
have also experienced successes in governmental actions. For example,
the land reform and technical assistance programs for agriculture initi-
ated in Taiwan shortly after World War II have been quite successful both
in increasing total food production and in improving the lot of food
producers. The program to drill tube-wells in the Punjab has helped India
achieve a level of agricultural output considered quite impossible two
decades ago. Technical advances in wheat and rice production, along
with government policies that at least did not inhibit food production,
have helped revolutionize the agriculture of Mexico, Turkey, Thailand,
and many other countries. The recent lifting of price controls in India on
wheat and rice is another positive governmental action.


SOME EXAMPLES OF GOVERNMENT MISTAKES

Unfortunately, not all government programs affecting agriculture have
had the desired result. It might be instructive to explore a few examples of
failures of government programs relating to agriculture.


THE ARGENTINA CASE

Argentina is a country well endowed with productive land and re-
sourceful people (largely a western European population like ours).
Shortly after the first Peron era, the government of Argentina was
disturbed by declining exports of beef and wheat, the chief sources of
foreign exchange earnings. The government wished to increase foreign
exchange earnings if possible.


41








production-the fact that the U.S. population has been required to spend
a generally decreasing proportion of disposable income for food during
the past 50 years-and the fact that we have done this with a steadily
decreasing proportion of our labor force on farms (now only about 3
percent)-all suggest that we have done something right in our agricul-
tural industry. This does not mean that our farmers are always happy with
their prices and income or that housewives are always happy with the
price of groceries. It does mean that our agricultural system generally
works well for us. In fact, few other people in the world have fared as well
as we have.


OTHER EXAMPLES

Although the United States is the most outstanding example of success-
ful government programs relating to agriculture, various other countries
have also experienced successes in governmental actions. For example,
the land reform and technical assistance programs for agriculture initi-
ated in Taiwan shortly after World War II have been quite successful both
in increasing total food production and in improving the lot of food
producers. The program to drill tube-wells in the Punjab has helped India
achieve a level of agricultural output considered quite impossible two
decades ago. Technical advances in wheat and rice production, along
with government policies that at least did not inhibit food production,
have helped revolutionize the agriculture of Mexico, Turkey, Thailand,
and many other countries. The recent lifting of price controls in India on
wheat and rice is another positive governmental action.


SOME EXAMPLES OF GOVERNMENT MISTAKES

Unfortunately, not all government programs affecting agriculture have
had the desired result. It might be instructive to explore a few examples of
failures of government programs relating to agriculture.


THE ARGENTINA CASE

Argentina is a country well endowed with productive land and re-
sourceful people (largely a western European population like ours).
Shortly after the first Peron era, the government of Argentina was
disturbed by declining exports of beef and wheat, the chief sources of
foreign exchange earnings. The government wished to increase foreign
exchange earnings if possible.


41








The causes for the decline in exports were not hard to find. During the
Peron era, import duties on farm machinery, fertilizers, and other items
needed for production had been raised substantially. Ad valorem tariff
duties exceeded 100 percent on some items of machinery, and import
quotas were imposed on other items. The tariffs and quotas were
rationalized as a means to promote domestic production of machinery
and fertilizers. The net result was a major increase in the costs of produc-
ing beef and wheat in Argentina. In addition, beef and wheat were
subject to an export tax (imposed to raise revenue for the central govern-
ment) which had the effect of reducing the prices received by the farmer.
Argentine farmers reacted quite rationally to this situation. They quit
buying and using machinery; they bought no fertilizer or herbicides; they
discharged much of their labor, thus accelerating the flow of people from
country to cities and, incidentally, adding to urban problems; and they
turned their fields from cultivation to extensive pastures. Owners of large
estancias in Argentina could take these actions because real estate taxes
were very low. Volume of production and costs of production could be
reduced and the owners themselves could still live very well. Hired farm
labor bore much of the cost of the ill-conceived policy through loss of
jobs. The import and export businesses also bore much of the cost
through loss of volume of trade. The entire country suffered through
reduced revenues and foreign exchange earnings. Despite this, the eco-
nomic policies of the country were strongly influenced by urban workers
and the urban unemployed who insisted on high import duties as a way to
promote industrial production and employment. Industrial production
and employment did not increase as expected, and the turmoil over
economic policy persisted and intensified.


THE IRAN CASE

Let us look at another example. In the early 1960's, the Shah of Iran
gained worldwide acclaim by initiating an extensive land reform pro-
gram. Traditionally, most of the farmland in the country was owned by
about 100 families, each owning dozens of villages and passing ownership
down through the generations by inheritance. Peasants who farmed the
land eked out a bare subsistence, while the produce paid to the landlord
as rent became the marketable supplies from the country's agriculture.
The Shah decided that the peasants would be better off and that their
agriculture would be more productive if they owned their own land. The
land reform program began with the Shah transferring the "Crown
lands," under several different arrangements, to the cultivators. Later, a
royal decree, reinforced by acts of parliament, effected a transfer of most
of the farmland from the traditional landowners to the government and


42








thence to the cultivators under long-term financial obligations. All of this
went very well, except that some key ingredients for productive, free-
enterprise agriculture were missing.
Traditionally, the landlords in Iran maintained the irrigation works.
These systems, some of them quite ancient, were necessary for crop
production. Initially, no provision was made in the land reform program
to provide this vital common function. Traditionally, the landlords main-
tained local roads, such as they were. Again, no provision was made to
keep up the roads, so in many areas roads rapidly went from bad to
impossible. Traditionally, the landlords provided some financing for their
tenants' production and family living between harvests. No rural financ-
ing schemes were provided at first, other than long-term mortgages for
the purchase of land from the government. Traditionally, landlords
served as the marketing channel for the produce paid as rent.
Without landlords, peasants who were totally unaccustomed to pro-
ducing and working in a free-market economy were confused and frus-
trated. They continued to produce for their own needs, but marketable
supplies from hundreds of villages declined or ceased altogether. Food
became even more scarce in the cities, consumer prices rose sharply, and
imports of food from abroad had to be stepped up sharply. Fortunately,
Iran earned substantial foreign exchange from oil exports, which permit-
ted her to buy more food abroad; but even so, foreign trade balances
presented difficult problems.
Belatedly, the central government initiated a program for promoting
either cooperative or corporate organizations in villages to perform many
of the functions previously furnished by landlords. These organizations
were imposed by the government, on a population of peasants with high
rates of illiteracy, a high degree of suspicion about actions of the central
government and about each other, and a substantial lack of experience in
managing their own affairs either individually or collectively. Needless to
say, these cooperatives and corporations rarely enjoyed any high degree
of success.
Eventually, the small-scale, private agriculture of Iran may overcome
the formidable obstacles and achieve the results intended by the late Shah
when he initiated the land reform program. Currently, these results seem
a long way off.
In the meantime, the need for increased food supplies in the rapidly
developing and rapidly urbanizing country of Iran is becoming critical.
About a decade ago, the country tried to help meet the need for more
food by sponsoring the development of a number of very large-scale,
highly capital-intensive farming enterprises, most of them operated by
expatriate corporations. Each of these farms operated from 10,000 to
70,000 hectares of land; each imported management personnel and sub-
stantial quantities of large-scale, expensive machinery. Some of these


43








farms were established on land not previously cultivated, but others were
placed on land previously "owned" and operated by small-scale peasant
farmers who were ruthlessly deposed. Many of the deposed farmers
migrated to the cities, where most remained unemployed and unhappy.
Only a few were retained on the corporate farms as hired labor.
The initial goal in sponsoring these corporate farming organizations
was to increase the marketable food supplies for Iran's cities. So far that
goal has been only partially realized. Technical production problems,
financial problems, and personnel problems have been more formidable
than either the government or the corporate contractors anticipated.
Iran has tried two methods for increasing the productivity of its agricul-
ture: the land reform and associated programs for its peasant agriculture
and the sponsoring of large-scale corporate farms. Neither method has
yet achieved the expected results. Instead, Iran is a country with a rapidly
growing population, rapid industrialization, rapid urbanization, and
sharply increasing expenditures for importing food.


MULTI-GOVERNMENT FOOD EFFORTS

In recent decades, increasing attention has been given to multi-
government programs-in contrast to national or bilateral programs-to
help meet the world's food needs. Soon After World War II, the Food
and Agriculture Organization (FAO) was formalized as an agency of the
United Nations with headquarters in Rome. FAO undertook programs in
technical aid and agricultural planning throughout the underdeveloped
world, but always without sufficient budget or personnel to fulfill its
promise.
The "have" nations of the world, either alone or in combinations, long
have had programs aimed at helping the "have not" nations to improve
food production. These programs produced mixed results. Some signifi-
cant successes were achieved, along with dismal failures. The total result
has been to barely keep ahead of growing food needs in the world.
Generally, we have learned from these programs the importance of
developing, within a country, locally adaptable agricultural technology
and locally useful infrastructure, rather than imposing technology and
economic organizations from without. We can no longer say to a develop-
ing country, "Our agriculture has been productive and successful, so if
you would do as we have done, you will be successful too." This
approach, which characterized our early U.S. Agency for International
Development (USAID) efforts, generally failed to produce the expected
results, and substantially oversimplified the complexities of agricultural
development. Increasingly, our USAID programs and others are striving
to promote indigenous research and technical capacity and economic


44








institutions that promise to promote productive capacity.
The world food shortages that occurred in the mid-1960's and again in
1972-1974 prompted a number of "world food conferences." These
produced a flood of fine papers and resolutions, but no food. The most
recent and most sophisticated, in 1975, focused on increasing food pro-
duction in developing countries, improving the food information system
among countries, establishing food reserves, and facilitating interna-
tional trade in food commodities. As a result of this conference, the
United Nations created the World Food Council, a 36-nation body
charged with overseeing national and international programs aimed to-
ward increasing food production in developing countries. The council
helps stimulate and coordinate a number of existing programs such as
those of FAO, OECD, USAID, and World Bank. It has, perhaps,
helped to refocus some of these programs to avoid overlaps and to fill
some gaps, as well as to make existing programs more productive.
The United Nations also created the International Agricultural De-
velopment Fund, which has a goal of raising an additional $1 billion
annually for international agricultural development. The United States
has agreed to fund about $200 million of this amount, with the expecta-
tion that the remainder would be forthcoming from the newly rich oil
countries and other "have" nations.
The Consultative Group on Food Production and Investment was
created by the United Nations to become the coordinating body for
concessionary food aid and, it was hoped, to establish and administer a
program of food reserves. The latter objective remains unfulfilled.
Discussion of the international trade in food at the last World Food
Conference proved futile. By tacit agreement, this knotty topic has been
left to the arena of the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
So far, progress in the GATT on food trade issues has been significantly
lacking.


FOOD RESERVES

No discussion of the relation of governments to the world food situa-
tion would be complete without further comment on the issue of food
reserves. Having reserves to reduce human suffering in times of shortages
is an idea that predates the seven fat years and seven lean years in Egypt
some 4,000 years ago. Despite the obvious merit of the idea, nobody has
figured out any good way to carry it out.
For the past 40 years, the major food reserves in the world have been
held by the United States Government. These reserves, initially not
intended to be reserves, consisted of grains and other foodstuffs collected
by our Commodity Credit Corporation as a result of farm product price


45








support programs. These stocks have helped avert widespread famine in
the world on at least three occasions since the 1930's: once right after
World War II, once in the mid-1960's, and again in 1972-74. Our concept
of these stocks quickly shifted from "price depressing surpluses" to
"strategic reserves" on each of these occasions. In addition, we have had
a long history of food aid" to needy people through PL-480 and other
programs at times other than the periods of major food crises.
We have not been the only country to aid needy people. Canada and
Australia, the other two major grain exporters, have experienced food
gluts and shortages similar to ours, and have contributed from their
surpluses. Japan has contributed resources to promote food production
and reserve stocks, and Western European countries have contributed
funds and sometimes grain itself to food reserves to meet emergency
needs. The total of these contributions, however, has been relatively
small compared with our own food reserve system which was incidental to
price support activities.
Our Food and Agricultural Act of 1977 recognized the need to set aside
reserves of grain in times of plenty to be used abroad or at home in times
of scarcity. Under previous legislation, surplus grain held by the Com-
modity Credit Corporation tended to depress prices, especially during
periods of scarcity, when marketing of government stocks dampened
price increases for farmers and other owners of grain. This was unsatis-
factory for farmers. Under current legislation, farmers are encouraged to
hold title to the grain reserves, aided by loans advanced by CCC and
payment of storage costs by government. If grains become scarce and
prices rise to more than 140 percent of the support loans, farmers may
withdraw their grain from the reserve; under more severe scarcity, the
Secretary of Agriculture may force grain out of the reserve. At the end of
the 1980-81 crop year, farmers had 14.7 million metric tons of grain in
reserve, including nearly 9.8 million tons (360 million bushels) of wheat.
These farmer-held grain reserves represented 24 percent of the total U.S.
stocks. With bumper crops in sight again, both in the United States and
throughout most of the world, farmers may put additional grain in
reserve. The question of government costs for holding "reserves" or
"surpluses" off the market again haunts agricultural policy makers.
It should be emphasized that our present grain reserves program is
unilateral. Once again, the United States is in the position of holding the
only major food reserves in the world. So far we have not been successful
in getting other nations to share this burden in more than a token way.
Before this can happen, important questions must be answered. Who is

12. From 1965 to 1973, the United States provided a little over 80% ($8.8 of
$11.0 billion) of the food from developed countries (44, p. 54). This aid was 1
percent of the world's food.


46








to collect and hold costly food reserves? How will the costs be shared
among exporting and importing nations? Who is to decide when, and
under what conditions, the reserves should be used? As yet, no world
food conference or agency of the United Nations has resolved these
questions satisfactorily.


47











CONCLUDING REMARKS

Population and income growth, plus food assistance programs, will
continue to increase the demand for food. The composition of the human
diet is also likely to undergo some transformation due to changes in tastes
and preferences and relative prices. Malnutrition, particularly inade-
quate calories or protein, or both, will continue to occur and be closely
related to poverty. Because of the differential rates of population growth
between developed and developing nations, the Malthusian problem of
too many people pressing against fixed land resources will become even
more acute in the "have-not" nations.
Although producing adequate foodstuffs is the basic problem, the
dimensions of the world population and food problems are much broader
than this. Consideration must also be given to reducing illiteracy, improv-
ing housing, lessening unemployment and crowding, minimizing environ-
mental pollution, and protecting individual freedoms, to name only a few
nonfood problem areas.
While governments, singly and jointly, concern themselves with hun-
dreds of issues affecting food production and consumption, we should
remember that governments neither produce nor consume food. Indeed,
it is the peasants and small farmers of the world that produce the bulk of
the world's food. It is only by giving them incentives and access to more
productive alternatives that we will have more food.
Governments can set the stage that encourages people to be more
productive, or they can inhibit individual initiative and investment. Gov-
ernments can affect the distribution of income among people and thus
substantially affect food consumption. Governments can affect produc-
tion and consumption, for good or ill. Let us hope that in the future
governments, alone and together, act for good and avoid the ill. People
can produce enough food if governments provide proper incentives and
infrastructures. The chief problem in the world situation now is not
physical capacity to produce; it is saving more of what is produced, and
distributing the production and consumption among nations and among
people within nations.
If it is true that the world food market is becoming a more open market,
the people of the world will feel a greater degree of food interdepend-
ence. As a consequence, the U.S. consumer will have an increasing stake
in what happens to food productivity in other places in the world. It will
be in the interest of the U.S. consumer to encourage sound international
investments in such things as irrigation systems, land development proj-
ects, and international agricultural research and extension programs. We


48








cannot afford the luxury of worrying only about our own agricultural
production capacity, though that will remain our first order of business.
If we fail to provide solutions to the basic food and related poverty
problems, it will become increasingly difficult for the present owners of
private property to defend themselves against the have-nots and the
general public interest. Whether we like it or not, all the peoples of the
world are involved in the world food situation.


49













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This public document was promulgated at an annual cost of $3500
or a cost of 700 per copy to provide some basic information on the
issues of the world food problem.




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