Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 World trade
 Our trade

Group Title: Farmer's world.
Title: Farmer's world : the yearbook of agriculture, 1964
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00085466/00001
 Material Information
Title: Farmer's world : the yearbook of agriculture, 1964
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: United States Department of Agriculture
Publisher: United States Department of Agriculture
Place of Publication: Washington, D. C.
Publication Date: 1964
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00085466
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 1530359

Table of Contents
    Half Title
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Table of Contents
        Page ix
        Page x
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    World trade
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    Our trade
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Full Text

The Yearbook of Agriculture




Farmer s

The Yearbook of Agriculture




American and

World Agriculture

Secretary of Agriculture

AT NO TIME in three centuries has American agriculture reached so far
and touched the lives of so many people as today.
At no time in thirty centuries has world agriculture faced greater
problems, greater challenges, and greater opportunities.
And at no time has American agriculture been so closely connected as
now with world agriculture in its gigantic task of feeding and clothing
more people; husbanding and developing its various resources; expand-
ing its trade; sharing in and contributing to the upsurge of modern
science; undergirding economic growth; and, by doing all this, assuming
an ever-larger role in mankind's long struggle for freedom and plenty.
This book reveals the vital stake everybody in the United States has
in a healthy export trade for American agriculture, not only because
farmers have so much to sell and because the livelihood of so many
Americans besides farmers depends on it, but also because the world
so greatly needs what we can offer.
Exports of American farm products are now at their highest level.
Their total value in 1963 approximated 5 billion dollars, equivalent to
one-sixth of cash receipts from all farm marketing. One acre out of
every four is harvested for export. The output of about 75 million
acres of our cropland is moving abroad.
These exports support at least a million jobs, both on and off the
farm. They require financing, storage, and inland and ocean trans-
portation. They would fill more than a million freight cars or more
than 5 thousand cargo ships, and they are carried to more than 125
countries and territories.

Most Americans have learned that we cannot separate our agricul-
ture from the rest of our national economy, but many have still to
recognize that we cannot disconnect American agriculture from world
agriculture and world business. This lesson also is contained herein.
Wheat from Kansas competes in world markets with wheat grown
in Canada and Argentina. Hogs from Iowa share markets with those
of Denmark and Poland. Oranges from Florida and Spain, cotton
from Texas and Brazil, dairy products from Wisconsin and Denmark
are increasingly part and parcel of the world market.
Just as national markets have their trading rules, so do the world
markets. Trade must be orderly and subject to agreements and con-
ventions worked out through negotiation by the organizations of which
we are a part-for example, the General Agreement on Tariffs and
We hold to the belief that trade is a two-way street, and that a
healthy flow of two-way traffic can be promoted by a lowering of tariffs
and other trade barriers.
We pride ourselves on being good salesmen with fine products to
sell. We know that we have in the Department of Agriculture men
and women skilled in the arts and crafts of trade. We know that our
farm and food industry is highly qualified for international competition
in any liberalized trade situation.
But we know, too, that international relationships are linked closely
with commerce, and vice versa. Trade involves much more than load-
ing 5 billion dollars' worth of agricultural goods on ships bound for
foreign ports. It is a matter also of supporting or competing with
blocs, alinements, or groupings, whose political aims may be no less
important than their economic goals.
Readers will sense this challenge in these pages.
But, above all, trade is now what it has ever been: Opportunity.
It is opportunity to share our abundance to fulfill a humanitarian
obligation; opportunity to help less privileged regions develop dynamic
economies of their own, thus becoming our potential customers; oppor-
tunity to raise standards of living all over the world, in the advanced
nations as well as those that are emerging; opportunity to stride toward
a better day for agriculture, industry, and consumers.
Trade is opportunity to enter more swiftly the age of plenty, progress,
freedom, and peace that is the objective of mankind's long pursuit.


Purposes and


Editor of the Yearbook

THE PURPOSE of the Yearbooks of Agriculture (including this one)
since their origin many years ago has been to present unbiased, factual
information of value and interest to farmers and other Americans.
Several secondary purposes may be served at the same time: To
report on work in progress in the Department of Agriculture, since
the Yearbooks are related to the annual reports of the Secretary of
Agriculture; to summarize developments in the agricultural sciences;
to discuss problems in rural affairs and to indicate in an objective fash-
ion the ways in which they may be solved; to point out changes in
knowledge, attitudes, and production and consumption; and to present
one at a time over the years an integrated, encyclopedic reference series.
A book of science ("A science teaches us to know, and an art to do,
and all the more perfect sciences lead to the creation of corresponding
useful arts") indulges in no special pleading, however worthy the cause;
is dedicated to the pursuit of truth and fact; tries to be clear and to
clarify but not to be "popular" in the ways of polls and TV ratings; and
takes the long view of programs, policies, and transient pressures.
Those purposes and ideals are apparent, we trust, in the present
Yearbook of Agriculture, which encompasses a much broader field than
any of its predecessors-a field hitherto untilled and made somewhat
precarious by rapid changes in world affairs (including, for example,
the names of countries), and the complexity of the subject.
Two special points about this book:
First, its intended readers.

We address ourselves, as always, primarily to American farmers, con-
sumers, and others who have an interest in agriculture, but farmers,
agricultural administrators, and policymakers anywhere should find
much of value in it.
A paragraph in the notes sent to prospective contributors reads:
"The book will inform Americans about America's growing stake in
world agriculture and explain how our actions, trade, and policies affect
and are affected by agricultural, natural, and political developments
abroad. It will inform people everywhere of the greatness of American
agriculture, the problems we face, the importance of international un-
derstanding and joint effort, and the expenditures we consider necessary
to achieve agricultural prosperity and security."
The fact of change also is brought out. Changes in production,
consumption, trade, governments, organizations, laws, and programs
posed a problem and a challenge as we labored to make a book of
lasting value. Life and its components never stand still, but we believe
we present a body of information that will remain valid for a number of
years-as an introduction to the subject of world trade if nothing else.
Periodicals and other publications are available from the Department
of Agriculture to producers, dealers, exporters, and others who need
current information on specific aspects of production and trade.
Second, its emphasis on the importance of farmers in this changing,
striving, industrially developing world.
On farmers rests progress, whether social, political, administrative,
or economic. In a world of automation, technology, conferences and
international maneuvers, machines, and impersonal relationships, we
must keep in mind the men-as men, as human beings-who provide
the basic elements of life and whose bond with the earth is an abiding

The members of the 1964 Yearbook Committee are:
Foreign Agricultural Service: W. A. Minor, CHAIRMAN; Kenneth
W. Olson, SECRETARY; James O. Howard; Douglas M. Craw-
ford; Afif I. Tannous; Ralph E. Spencer; John H. Dean;
Harald C. Larsen.
Economic Research Service: Wilhelm Anderson, Kenneth L.
Bachman, Nelson P. Guidry.
Agricultural Marketing Service: Omer W. Herrmann, Howard
P. Davis.
Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service: Murray
Thompson, Ernest W. Grove.
Agricultural Research Service: G. E. Hilbert, Kenneth Haines.
Forest Service: Robert K. Winters.
Soil Conservation Service: Guy D. Smith.
Federal Extension Service: Raymond C. Scott, Dana G. Dalrymple.



Orville L. Freeman, Secretary of Agriculture, page v

Preface, PURPOSES AND IDEALS, Alfred Stefferud,
Editor of the Yearbook, page vii


Wayne D. Rasmussen, page I

BOND WITH THE EARTH, Afif I. Tannous, page 12

MIGRATIONS AND AGRICULTURE, Phillips W. Foster, page 22

QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED, Montell Ogdon, page 30

and Riley H. Kirby, page 37

Ruth M. Leverton, page 44

POPULATION, INCOME, AND FOOD, Robert D. Stevens, page 53

page 57

Roy D. Hockensmith and Phoebe Harrison, page 69

WATER HAS A KEY OLE, Elco L. Greenshields, page 75

W. M. Carleton, page 96


and W. D. McClellan, page 1o6

THE PLACE OF INSECTICIDES, Stanley A. Hall, page 113


GRAIN, A BASIC FOOD, Kenneth L. Murray, page 118

FRUIT OF THE EARTH, Stanley Mehr, page 126


MEAT PRODUCTION AND TRADE, Dwight R. Bishop, page 146

Samuel L. Crockett, page 155

FISHERIES OF THE WORLD, Sidney Shapiro, page 161

Leslie C. Hurt, page 177

and John C. Scholl, page 184

TEA THE WORLD OVER, William C. Bowser, Jr. and
Arthur G. Kevorkian, page 190

page 195

COCOA AND CHOCOLATE, Arthur G. Kevorkian and
Rex E. T. Dull, page 200

Franklin S. Everts, and Edward J. Eisenach, page 205

FORESTS AND FOREST PRODUCTS, Albert A. Downs, page 211

FIBERS ARE UNIVERSAL,'Horace G. Porter, page 218

COTTON, KING OF FIBERS, Vernon L. Harness and
Horace G. Porter, page 220

BAST, THE TEXTILE FIBERS, Cecille M. Protzman, page 227

STRUCTURAL, OR LEAF, FIBERS, Cecille M. Protzman, page 237

OTHER VEGETABLE FIBERS, Cecille M. Protzman, page 246

Bernice M. Hornbeck, page 251

FIBERS MADE BY MAN, Bernice M. Hornbeck, page 258


Harry C. Trelogan, page 261

page 269

page 279

page 282

page 291

THE STORAGE OF FARM CROPS, A. Lloyd Ryall, page 303

Clyde L. Rasmussen, page 309

Jorld Trade

BACKGROUND OF TRADE, Charles A. Gibbons, page 314

page 321

Kenneth L. Bachman, page 326

TRADING BY GOVERNMENTS, Richard H. Roberts, page 330

EAST-WEST AGRICULTURAL TRADE, Theodora Mills, page 338

page 346

Our Trade

page 358

Dewain H. Rahe, page 365

OUR AGRICULTURAL IMPORTS, Alex D. Angelidis, page 370

CONTROLS OF IMPORTS, Terrence W. McCabe, page 374

THE TRADE EXPANSION ACT, Irwin R. Hedges, page 379

THE REQUIREMENTS OF BUYERS, James O. Howard, page 384

COOPERATIVE PROGRAMS, David L. Hume, page 392

BARTERING FARM PRODUCTS, Robert O. Link, page 398

SALES PROGRAMS FOR DOLLARS, Charles E. Raeder, page 400

THE TRADE FAIRS PROGRAM, Kenneth K. Krogh, page 403

page 405
GETTING AND USING STATISTICS, Clarence M. Purves, page 415


page 423

FAO OF THE UNITED NATIONS, Ralph W. Phillips and
Kenneth A. Haines, page 434

THE INTER-AMERICAN SYSTEM, Charles R. Davenport, page 443

OECD AND OEEC, William G. Finn, page 449

REGIONAL ECONOMIC GROUPS, Patrick J. Murphy, page 453

page 458

A. Richard DeFelice, page 476

page 482

COMMODITY AGREEMENTS, John C. Scholl, page 486



page 508

page 514

William E. Harvey, and Andrew J. Nichols, page 518

and F. F. Hill, page 523


Jesse Lunin, page 535

RESEARCH IN FORESTRY, Robert K. Winters, page 542



COOPERATION IN CROPS, John H. Martin, page 554

Ruth M. Leverton, page 558

Ned D. Bayley, page 564

page 568

George W. Irving, Jr., and Samuel B. Detwiler, Jr., page 571

PROBLEMS IN ECONOMICS, Raymond P. Christensen, page 576

PROBLEMS IN MARKETING, Winn F. Finner, page 581

Index, page 586







Valley to [alley,

Country to Country













CIVILIZATION began when man planted
his first seed and tamed his first animal
about io thousand years ago. Before
that, for a million years, people lived
precariously on the fruits and seeds the
women gathered and the small animals
the men killed. In the few years since-
few, as history measures time-agricul-
ture and civilization have advanced
from valley to valley, country to coun-
try, hemisphere to hemisphere as men
have shared seeds, tools, skills, knowl-
edge, and hopes.
Very likely one of mankind's greatest
achievements-planting and harvest-
ing crops-came about through a prim-
itive woman's observation while she
was gathering seeds. She may have
noticed that the grain-bearing grasses
grew up where seeds had been spilled
or stored. Then she herself placed some
seeds in the ground and saw them grow.
Animal husbandry probably devel-
oped when men succeeded in taming
animals that they had wounded or
driven into enclosures for slaughter,
but it also is likely that women saved
and tamed young animals.
Farming and animal husbandry de-
veloped together for a long period. The
herding of livestock came later.
Agriculture originated first in the
Middle East, perhaps in the grassy up-
lands where the wild grains and the
wild animals first to be domesticated
were found. Excavations at the site of



the village of Jarmo in present-day
Iraq indicate that 7 thousand years
ago people there had two varieties of
wheat, barley, sheep, goats, pigs, cattle,
horses, and dogs. Tools were of pol-
ished or chipped flint and obsidian,
a volcanic glass. The use of obsidian is
evidence of early trade; its nearest
known source is Lake Van in Turkey.
Agriculture spread from the Middle
East to such areas as the Danubian
Basin, the western and northern shores
of the Black Sea, the fertile crescent
bordering the desert of Arabia, and the
valleys of the Indus in eastern India
and the Hwang Ho in northern China.
The cultural pattern was much the
same, except in the Americas, where
agriculture probably was discovered
Our farming ancestors over the cen-
turies accomplished feats that modern
man has not yet duplicated. Drawing
upon wild stock, they developed all the
major food plants and domestic ani-
mals grown today.
Wheat and barley were domesticated
in the first area of agricultural develop-
ment, southwestern Asia. Rice and ba-
nanas were developed later in south-
eastern Asia, and sorghum and millets
in Africa. Maize, known as corn in
America, and potatoes were among
several major food crops developed in
the New World.
Food animals were first domesticated
in Asia. The turkey was domesticated
in the New World. Eventually these
crops, many others, and animals mi-
grated throughout the world.
The accomplishments are even great-
er when we consider the tools the first
farmers invented and used. A pointed
stick, the digging stick, was the last tool
of the food gatherer and the first of the
farmer. The stick, which had been used
to grub up roots, served to dig holes for
seeds. Somebody added a crossbar, so
that a man could use his foot to drive
the stick deeper into the soil. That was
the origin of the spade. A stick that had
a branch at one end and could be
pulled through the ground was the first
hoe. Later a blade of stone or shell on

the hoe gave it greater cutting power.
Similarly, a stick used to knock heads
of grain loose from the stalks became a
sickle when stone teeth were set along
one edge.
After animals were domesticated for
food, they soon began to serve as
beasts of burden. The next step, one
never taken by the American Indian,
was to fasten a heavy hoe behind an
animal and induce him to pull it
through the ground.
The climate of the Middle East and
northern Africa gradually became
drier after man first discovered agricul-
ture. Tribes and villages moved from
poorly watered sites to sources of water
as the centuries passed. At the same
time, man began to irrigate his crop-
land wherever he had access to water.
The simplest device was to dip water
from a well or spring and pour it on the
land. Many types of buckets, ropes,
and, later, pulleys were used. A more
continuous flow was provided by the
swipe, or shadoof, a long pole pivoted
from a beam. One end of the pole held
a bucket; the other held a heavy clay
weight. A man pulled the bucket down
to the water, and the clay weight then
lifted the filled container to a height
where it could be emptied into a ditch.
A shadoof could raise about 600 gal-
lons a day.
The conduction of water through
ditches from streams was practiced
widely in the Middle East, where the
ancient canal systems still can be seen.
The periodic floods of the Nile in Egypt
led to the development of systems of
basins on the upper Nile to hold the
waters. The basins were opened to per-
mit the water to flow over the dyke-
enclosed tracts when it was needed.
Cereals were domesticated at an
early age because they kept well and
could be stored for use during lean
years and winter. Even in his food-
gathering stage, man stored grain,
seeds, and nuts. Ancient Egyptians
preserved meat and fish by salting and
drying them in the sun.
The discovery of metal and its uses
brought the Neolithic Era to an end


and gave farmers sharper, stronger
blades for hoes, plow points, and
sickles. The change to metal took place
slowly and in some areas-the Ameri-
cas, for example-not at all. Most
cultures first used bronze, then iron.

WHEN AGRICULTURE appeared in writ-
ten history in the time of the Egyp-
tians, Greeks, and Romans, it was
already a highly developed art, backed
by years of progress based on observa-
tion and trial and error. Some early
Chinese historians assigned the begin-
ning of agriculture in China to a
specific year, 2737 B.C., when a
continuous record of political life was
started. Farming undoubtedly had
been practiced before that particular
year, but giving a new ruler credit for
teaching farming to the people indi-
cates the value they placed on it.
Agriculture enabled a man to pro-
duce more than enough food for
himself and his family. Some labor
thus could be released for the develop-
ment of other aspects of civilization,
such as industry, the arts and sciences,
government, and writing.
Ancient civilizations, from the in-
vention of writing to the beginning of
the Christian Era, saw the adoption
of systems of land use aimed at pre-
serving or restoring soil fertility. The
first farmers had practiced natural
husbandry; that is, simply sowing and
reaping. They moved on to new land
when yields declined.
Sometimes the increase in popula-
tion that usually followed the establish-
ment of a settled village economy made
it difficult to move to new land. In
several parts of the world farmers then
turned to fallow. Every year, according
to some plan which became fixed, part
of the land was given special treat-
ment. No seed would be planted on it.
The weeds and grass would be plowed
under at least once during the growing
season so as to rid it of some weeds and
parasites, add vegetable matter, and
conserve moisture. The fallow system
was used in ancient Greece and Rome,
in China from perhaps as early as 2000

B.C., and in Germany and northern
Europe through medieval times.
But farmers of ancient times did not
rely solely on fallowing to improve the
soil. Ashes, animal manure, and com-
posts were used in the Middle East,
Greece, and Rome. The Greeks and
Romans added lime in various forms.
The Roman farmers could draw
upon farm manuals by Cato the Cen-
sor, writing about 200 B.C., or his suc-
cessors, including Varro and Colu-
mella, for advice on ways to grow olives
and grapes and press the fruits for oil
and juice. Bread, oil, wine, figs, and
grapes were staples in the ancient
Mediterranean diet.

IMPROVEMENTS spread slowly.
The methods the ancients used sur-
vived with modifications in many parts
of the world for centuries.
Fallowing, for example, was the basis
for England's well-known two- and
three-field systems of medieval times.
The medieval English manor, with its
villagers and lord, was divided into
garden, arable, meadow, pasture, and
waste land. The arable land was di-
vided into two or three large fields,
which in turn were divided into strips
of an acre or less. Each villager would
farm a number of scattered strips. Un-
der the two-field system, half the land
was left fallow. The other half was
planted with winter and spring grain.
In the three-field system, one field was
fallow, one was planted in wheat or
rye, and one was planted in some
spring crop, such as barley, oats, peas,
or beans. The three-field system per-
mitted as much as 50 percent greater
productivity than the two-field system.
Two other developments in northern
Europe during medieval times also in-
creased productivity: A heavy plow
that could turn the soil was invented.
The invention of the horse collar per-
mitted the effective use of horsepower.
Fallowing sometimes gave way to
rotations. Nitrogen-fixing legumes-
peas, beans, vetches, alfalfa-would be
grown on a field formerly fallow. The
system arose through trial and error

after it was noted that small grain
planted on land formerly in legumes
usually yielded more. It was practiced
oftenest when towns and cities arose
and farmers had a ready market for all
they could produce. Legume rotation
succeeded fallowing in limited areas of
ancient Greece and Rome, in parts of
China shortly before the Christian Era,
and in Germany and England in the
I6th century.

As THE MEDIEVAL period passed in
Europe, the beginning of the modern
age was marked by a renewed interest
of Europeans in other parts of the
world, followed by exploration and by
Some early explorers brought foreign
plants and animals back to Europe.
Accounts of their explorations, writings
of travelers, and archeological and his-
torical reconstructions of the past have
given us a picture of farming in the
15th century.
Soil exhaustion, erosion, war, and
corruption had brought such a decline
in Chinese agriculture that by the year
1510 many farmers were dying of star-
vation. It was a factor that led to the
overthrow of the Ming dynasty by the
Manchus, invaders from the north,
early in the 17th century.
India, the goal of many European
explorers in the I5th century, was a
land of fruit and spices. Rice, peas, and
millet were basic crops. Curry, ginger,
cloves, cinnamon, and other spices
added variety to the diet. Most farm-
work was done by hand by farmers
who paid rents and taxes to the rulers.
Irrigation works were maintained by
the government in some sections. An
Englishman in India in 1616 wrote
that "the plenty of all provisions" was
"very great throughout the whole
country," and "every one there may
eat bread without scarceness."
Northern Africa was well known to
the Europeans of Columbus' day. The
Arabs who had swept across that area
and into Spain made sugar from cane
and grew many kinds of wine grapes.
Their irrigation systems were good.

They used fertilizer, and they adapted
their crops to the land. They practiced
grafting and introduced many trees
and plants into northern Africa.
Much less is known of farming in
central Africa 500 years ago. Ruins of
large cities indicate that parts of the
region had an extensive agriculture.
Terraces, plainly of an agricultural
nature, and long-abandoned irrigation
works in present-day Ethiopia, Kenya,
and Rhodesia must be examined fur-
ther before we can know the whole story
of civilizations that flourished as late as
the 15th century and then disappeared.

IN CONTRAST, the story of American
Indian agriculture at the time Co-
lumbus discovered the New World is
recorded. The Spaniards conquered
two Indian civilizations, the Aztecs
of Mexico and the Incas of Peru.
Both civilizations were based upon
settled agriculture. These, like the less-
er centers, had developed independ-
ently of the rest of the world.
Among the crops originating in the
New World, corn, kidney and lima
beans, squashes, pumpkins, and to-
bacco were grown in many parts of
North and South America. Corn, or
maize, the most important crop of
American origin, was developed in the
highlands of Mexico. The potato ri-
valed corn in importance in South
America. It originated in the Andes.
Manioc, sweetpotatoes, pineapples,
and peanuts were developed as sources
of food in the Amazon Valley. Only
incidental crops, such as the Jerusalem
artichoke, were first developed in what
is now the United States.
The Indians had dogs but few other
domesticated animals. In Peru, they
had llamas, alpacas, and guinea pigs.
Turkeys were kept in Mexico and the
southwestern United States. The Aztecs
and Mayas of Mexico and Central
America kept bees.
Irrigation was practiced from what is
now Arizona to Chile. There were
about I50 miles of main irrigation
ditches in the Salt River Valley. Irri-
gation was carried out in Peru on a


scale scarcely equaled in modern
days. Many Indians fertilized their
crops. Along the Atlantic coast, fish
were placed in cornhills during plant-
ing. Nevertheless, agriculture in the
New World was limited by the lack of
draft animals and the failure to dis-
cover the uses of iron. Away from a few
major centers of civilization, Indian
farmers practiced natural husbandry,
clearing new land as yields declined.
The first European colonists in the
New World, particularly in what is
now the United States, found it
difficult to adapt European methods to
American conditions. They faced star-
vation and survived only because of
supplies received from the mother
countries and the food they bought or
took from the Indians. The perma-
nence of the Colonies was not assured
until agriculture was securely estab-
lished, and that came after they
adopted the crops and tillage methods
of the natives.
While the Indians of America con-
tributed much to world agriculture,
the Europeans who conquered and
settled the New World introduced
livestock, crops, and tools.
The axe and the plow, with the
animals to pull the plows, were carried
to America by all of the national
groups entering the New World.
The Spaniards brought alfalfa, bar-
ley, flax, oats, sugarcane, wheat, and
many others. They brought their
grapes, oranges, peaches, pears, and
other fruits and vegetables.
By 1606, the French had planted
cabbage, flax, hemp, oats, rye, wheat,
and other crops in Canada.
The English brought all the crops
and livestock they had grown at home.
Other nations introduced particular
breeds and varieties of animals and
The new settlers themselves made
some improvements. For example,
John Rolfe of Virginia obtained to-
bacco seed from South America in
1612 and raised a crop from it, which
established American exports of to-
bacco to England.

The agricultural methods brought to
the New World by the first European
immigrants differed little from those of
a thousand years earlier. Yet Europe,
particularly England, was on the verge
of a new era of developments that were
to culminate in an agricultural revolu-
tion and were marked by the scientific
rotation of crops and, in England, by
the enclosure of many fields and scat-
tered strips of land. Rotation and en-
closure were a result of a growing
market economy and the consequent
emphasis on commercial farming.
Greater emphasis on commercial
farming led to some consolidation of
holdings in England under the open-
field system. At the same time, some
pastures and croplands were enclosed.
The enclosure movement in the I6th
century was undertaken mainly to
furnish pasturelands for sheep-the
demand for wool of the spinning and
weaving industries was more effective
than the demand for wheat.
The development of scientific rota-
tions owed much to new methods and
crops introduced from other European
nations. Clover was introduced from
Spain, turnip cultivation from Flan-
ders, and new grasses from France. Al-
though their value was recognized by
the end of the 16th century, they were
not widely grown until later.
Farm tools were crude at the begin-
ning of the period. The large and cum-
bersome wooden plows usually were
drawn by oxen. After the soil was bro-
ken, iron- or wooden-toothed harrows
were pulled over the land. All crops
were seeded by hand. Grain crops were
cut with scythes or reaping hooks and
threshed with flails. Hoes, mattocks,
spades, and forks completed the list.
Often the ideas for machines were
well known before they were adopted.
Grain drills are an example. The
Chinese had used a wheelbarrow drill
as early as 2800 B.C. The first English
patent was granted in 1623. A more
practical drill was described by John
Worlidge in 1669. Not until about
S700, however, when Jethro Tull made
and publicized a seed drill, did these

devices attract much attention. Tull
also urged the adoption of the French
horse hoe, or cultivator.
Many types of plows were used in
Great Britain, but the first definite step
toward making plows in factories came
in 1730, when the Rotherham plow
was introduced. It had a colter and
share made of iron and may have been
brought to England from Holland. It
was called the Dutch plow in Scotland.
The introduction of root crops, clo-
ver, and grasses into a four-course crop
rotation provided support for a larger
number of livestock. The principle of
selective breeding had been known for
generations, but the creation of new
breeds that gave general satisfaction
was a long process. Improvement of
the old native varieties by crossing
with the newer breeds took longer.
The improvement of livestock was
related to the enclosure of former open-
field farms and the conversion of com-
mon and waste land into pasture. The
movement began in the i6th century
and was partly arrested by legislation;
in the I8th century it received support
from Parliament. The enclosure of pas-
tures gave the livestock farmers con-
trol over breeding and permitted more
rapid improvements in their herds.
All of these slow changes in English
farming resulted in an agricultural rev-
olution, which reached its peak in the
first half of the I9th century. By then,
greatly improved methods had been
adopted, total output of farm products
and output per man-hour had gone
up, and livestock and crop husbandry
seemed to be in balance with each
other and the rest of the economy.
Over a period of I50 years, a num-
ber of agricultural leaders influenced
British farmers and landowners to
adopt improved practices. They were
able to influence farming because in-
dustrialization, improved transporta-
tion, and other economic forces made
the adoption of the improvements
practical and profitable.
The most noted of the reformers were
Jethro Tull (1674-1740), Charles
Townshend (1674-1738), Robert Bake-

well (1725-1795), Arthur Young
(1741-1820), Sir John Sinclair (1745-
1835), and Thomas Coke (1752-1842).
Tull invented a grain drill and ad-
vocated more intensive cultivation and
the use of animal power. Townshend
set an example of better farming
through improvements in crop rota-
tions and in emphasizing the field cul-
tivation of turnips and clover. Bake-
well devoted himself to developing
better breeds of livestock. Young and
Sinclair were influential writers, whose
works were studied in many parts of
the world. Coke developed a model
agricultural estate, working partic-
ularly with wheat and sheep. Farm
leaders and statesmen from many parts
of the world visited his estate.
Other European countries contrib-
uted to the agricultural revolution, but
advance was most rapid in England.
The physiocrats, a school of econo-
mists who emphasized the importance
and virtue of agriculture, influenced
agricultural thought in France in the
18th century. They appeared to yearn
for earlier days when agrarian interests
were dominant but were indifferent to
proved methods of progressive farming.
For example, fallowing persisted in
most of France, with little protest
from the physiocrats, long after the
value of the scientific rotation of crops
had been demonstrated in England.
France contributed a new method of
food preservation, canning. It per-
mitted the year-round use of many
otherwise perishable foods. In 1795,
when France was at war, the Govern-
ment offered a prize to the citizen who
could devise a method of preserving
food for transport on military and na-
val campaigns. The prize was awarded
in 18o1 to Nicolas Appert, a Parisian
confectioner. He had filled bottles
with various foods, sealed the bottles,
and cooked them in boiling water.
The Napoleonic wars also gave im-
petus to the sugarbeet industry. An-
dreas Marggraf, a German chemist, in
1747 had crystallized sucrose from
beets. One of his pupils, Franz Karl
Achard, built the first sugarbeet fac-


tory in Silesia in 1802. With imports
cut off because of war, Napoleon en-
couraged the building of a number of
factories in France, where the industry
persisted. Efforts were made to estab-
lish factories in the United States from
1830 on; the first successful American
plant opened in California in 1879.
As the European nations expanded
their colonies over the world, they in-
fluenced farming everywhere. The
influence was greatest in the thinly
populated regions, such as the New
World and Australia, and least in
densely populated regions like India.
When Napoleon led his armies into
Egypt in 1798, he commented on the
good quality of its agricultural pro-
duce and suggested that with French
help the Nile Valley could become a
Garden of Eden. He established a
plant introduction garden in Egypt in
1800 and asked for French fruit trees.
A group of French gardeners set out
for Egypt the next year, but the British
captured them at sea.
Many years later, in 1882, the British
began a policy of agricultural reform
and assistance in Egypt, building in
part upon reforms introduced by the
rulers of Egypt in the preceding dec-
ades. During the first decade of British
rule, many irrigation works were com-
pleted and repaired, and the first
Aswan dam was begun. The acreage
brought under cultivation increased.
Europe's greatest impact on world
agriculture followed the discovery,
conquest, and settlement of the New
World and, later, the development of
reforms and improvements, which en-
couraged changes in farming.
For more than a century, however,
Americans knew little of the changes
in European agriculture. Gradually,
scientific societies, such as the Ameri-
can Philosophical Society, founded in
1743, encouraged the investigation of
European ideas and experiences and
agricultural experimentation. Societies
devoted entirely to agriculture were
not organized until the United States
had declared its independence. The
first of record was established in New

Jersey in 1781. The Philadelphia Soci-
ety for Promoting Agriculture and the
South Carolina Society for Promot-
ing and Improving Agriculture were
founded in 1785.
The early agricultural societies were
groups of men of all professions who
could afford to experiment and who
would seek out and adapt to American
conditions the progress made in other
countries. None were farmers who
depended solely on the produce of their
farms for a living. Among them were
George Washington and Thomas Jef-
ferson. They corresponded with English
agricultural reformers. Both were in-
terested in soil conservation. Washing-
ton was first in this country to raise
mules. Jefferson introduced upland
rice and designed a hillside plow, a
moldboard for a plow that would turn
the soil, and other implements.
The changes in England during the
i8th century included the develop-
ment of improved breeds of livestock.
The first importations of Bakewell's
improved cattle were made by two
gentlemen farmers of Maryland and
Virginia in I783. Large numbers of
Merino sheep were imported from
France and Spain a few years later.
The first Hereford cattle were im-
ported by another statesman, Henry
Clay, in 1817. Nevertheless, most
American livestock during the first
half of the I9th century wandered
about the open countryside.
Some leaders recognized the need to
reach ordinary farmers. Elkanah Wat-
son organized the Berkshire Agricul-
tural Society at Pittsfield, Mass., in
18II. Its purpose was to hold an an-
nual fair for the farmers of the commu-
nity. The idea spread rapidly but de-
clined when farmers did not realize
their exaggerated hopes of benefits to
be gained. Farm journals, first the Ag-
ricultural Museum in 181 o and then the
American Farmer in 1819, also tried, but
they received little support.
Production per man-hour in the
United States increased only a little
from 18oo to 1840 and somewhat more
from 1840 to 1860.

But a technological foundation was
being laid for a revolution in produc-
tion. At the beginning of the period,
the cotton gin, invented in 1793 by Eli
Whitney, greatly changed agriculture
in the South. The cheap, efficient sep-
aration of the seeds from the fiber en-
couraged planters to grow more cotton.
The extensive commercial production
of cotton dominated farming and led
to the expansion of the plantation sys-
tem. The South grew the one crop and
neglected more diversified agriculture,
while it depended on England and the
North for markets and for supplies of
other farm products and manufactured
articles. At the same time, cotton culti-
vation brought about the rapid settle-
ment of the region and returned large
sums to the planters.
A cast-iron plow with interchange-
able parts, patented in 1819 by Jethro
Wood, was a major contribution. It
would not scour in the heavy soils of
the prairies, however; the soil clung to
the moldboard instead of sliding by
and turning over. Two Illinois black-
smiths, John Lane in 1833 and John
Deere in 1837, solved the problem by
using a smooth steel and polished
wrought iron for the shares and mold-
boards of their plows.
The mechanical reaper was proba-
bly the most significant single inven-
tion introduced into American farming
between 18oo and the Civil War. It
replaced much human power at the
crucial point in grain production when
the work must be completed quickly to
save a crop from ruin. The reapers
patented by Obed Hussey in 1833 and
Cyrus H. McCormick in 1834 marked
the transition from the hand to the
machine age of farming.
Many other farm machines were in-
vented between 1830 and 186o, and
the bases for other farm improvements
were laid. Edmund Ruffin, sometimes
called America's first soil scientist, had
urged the chemical analysis of soil and
the use of marl as early as 1821. His
work preceded that of Justus von Lie-
big, the great German chemist who
published Chemistry in Its Applications

to Agriculture and Physiology in 1840.
Liebig's theories brought science to
agriculture in Europe, and his influ-
ence was felt in America.
Commercial fertilizer was used in
the United States, beginning with Pe-
ruvian guano in the i840's. Mixed
chemical fertilizer first appeared on
the market in 1849. Modern irrigation
agriculture began in the United States
in 1847, when Mormon pioneers
opened a ditch in Utah.
The United States Congress in 1862
passed four laws, all signed by Presi-
dent Abraham Lincoln, which were to
help transform American agriculture.
The Homestead Act encouraged west-
ern settlement. The Morrill Land-
Grant College Act encouraged agricul-
tural education. The act establishing
the Department of Agriculture provid-
ed a means for assisting farmers to
adopt better methods. The act charter-
ing the Union Pacific Railroad assisted
in opening western land.
Agriculture from 1850 to 1870 was a
decisive element in our economic de-
velopment. The coming together of
various lines of technology, the em-
phasis on agricultural reform, and the
profitability of agriculture created an
agricultural revolution. The profitabil-
ity of farming was due primarily to the
greatly increased overseas demands for
American farm products and the de-
mand for products to support the
armies in the Civil War.
The Nation's farms produced enough
food and fiber to satisfy the needs of
our growing population and to domi-
nate our exports. Agricultural exports
in 1865 were 82.6 percent in value of
our total exports. This percentage de-
clined slowly but did not fall below 50
percent until 1911. Both value and
volume increased year to year, but
less rapidly than other exports.

THE UNITED STATES was not alone in
increasing its total volume of agricul-
tural exports after 1865.
Argentina, Australia, Canada, and
New Zealand became competitive
with the United States in shipping


grain and livestock products to Europe,
although commercial agriculture be-
gan about a generation later than in
America. The use of refrigeration in
steamships, beginning in the 1870's,
offered better opportunity to get live-
stock products to markets.
Refrigerated ships gave Argentina
its opportunity to market fresh beef in
England. Modern agriculture began
in Argentina in 1856, with the arrival
of 208 Swiss families. A considerable
flow of European immigration fol-
lowed. The immigrants established
and developed the great cereal belt,
and later the sugar, vineyard, cotton,
and fruit belts. Herd improvement,
beginning about 1860, aided sheep and
cattle raising, which the Spanish
settlers had established.
The manorial system, established in
Canada by the first French colonists,
was not abolished there until 1854.
Agriculture thereafter developed more
rapidly in Quebec, particularly after
dairying became profitable. The Civil
War in the United States hastened the
transition from wheat growing to
mixed farming in Ontario. At about
the same time, wheat growing began
in the Red River Valley and then
spread slowly over the prairie prov-
inces. The creation of a variety of
wheat known as Marquis, by Sir
Charles E. Saunders, and its distribu-
tion to Canadian farmers beginning in
1908, was a triumph for Canadian
scientific endeavor.
Wool dominated exports from Aus-
tralia throughout the 19th century. It
more than quadrupled in value from
1861 to 1890. During this period, mil-
lions of acres of pasture were fenced,
which led to better breeding, conserva-
tion of the soil, and greater production
per man-hour.
European farming was not estab-
lished in New Zealand until after 1840.
The outbreak of war with the native
Maoris in 1859, which led to the send-
ing of British troops to the islands, and
the discovery of gold in 1861 meant a
great rise in population and a larger
market for food products. Over time,

wheat and wool came to be the major
enterprises. Both were produced for
export. The introduction of refrigera-
tion in 1882 opened new possibilities.
Meat-beef, mutton, and lamb-was
shipped to England immediately. Ex-
ports of butter were large after 90oo.
Farming became a collection of spe-
cialized industries during the 20th
At about the same time New Zealand
was developing as an agricultural na-
tion, another country far to the north
was opening its doors to Western civili-
zation. Japan in 1854 granted the
United States minor trading conces-
sions, a major departure from its pre-
vious isolationism. At about the same
time, the feudal system collapsed, and
Japan began rapid economic growth.
Concerned with its northern fron-
tiers, Japan determined to colonize
Hokkaido, an island that seemed to
offer opportunity for agricultural de-
velopment. The Japanese turned to
America for help because weather con-
ditions on Hokkaido and in the North-
eastern United States were similar,
America led the world in the use of
farm machinery, and the United States
was isolated from any international
The Japanese Government hired
Horace Capron, Commissioner of the
newly established Department of Agri-
culture, to head a mission to Japan.
He arrived in Japan in the fall of 1871
with his group and remained there 4
years. Despite difficulties, which at
times seemed insurmountable, the mis-
sion got a new, modern agricultural
development underway in Hokkaido
and had much to do with paving the
way for better farming in Japan.
The Capron mission was responsible
for establishing the first railway in
Japan and encouraging the develop-
ment of waterpower. By the First
World War, Japan was a modern in-
dustrial nation. An authority on the
economic history of Japan has said:
". it was the expansion of Japan's
basic economy-agriculture and small-
scale industry built on traditional


foundations-which accounted for most
of the growth of national productivity
and income during this period."
Russia, Japan's rival in the Far East
during the second half of the I9th cen-
tury, liberated its serfs in 1861 and
gave them allotments of land, admin-
istered through a communal system.
This accelerated a process of rural
transformation, even though Russia
suffered a great famine in 1891-1892.
The period saw the encouragement of
cotton growing in Turkestan and a
sizable movement of peasants from
European Russia into Siberia. The
Russian Government made an effort to
cultivate varieties of cotton that were
suited to the climate of Turkestan and
produced the finest staple. It kept in
close touch with the U.S. Department
of Agriculture, asking for samples of
American cottonseed, information re-
garding types of staple, and advice in
general. It was also cooperative in
offering the United States its experi-
ence with American cotton, as well as
with wheat and other crops that were
of interest to American growers.

THESE VIGNETTES indicate that the
years between 1850 and the First
World War were years of agricultural
change and development in many
parts of the world. In other areas,
particularly those with large popula-
tions held in colonial status, there was
little or no advance.
We should bear in mind, however,
that technological improvement in
any aspect of farming may draw on
experience from several sources.
Several European nations, for exam-
ple, made substantial contributions
during the 19th century to the devel-
opment of dairying.
Major breeds of dairy cattle devel-
oped in Europe included the Ayrshire
in southwestern Scotland, the Guern-
sey and Jersey in the Channel Islands,
the Holstein-Friesian and the Dutch-
Belted in the Netherlands, and the
Brown Swiss in Switzerland.
The modern silo for'storing green
forage for winter use had its beginning

in Germany about 186o and was
quickly adopted in France.
A Swede, Carl de Laval, in 1878
invented the centrifugal cream separa-
tor, the most important of numerous
inventions that helped dairying. An
American, Stephen M. Babcock, in
1890 devised a test for measuring the
quantity of fat in milk. Milking ma-
chines were patented in several coun-
tries during this period and came into
wide use after the First World War.
Taken together, these developments
provided the technological basis for
modern dairy farming.
American agriculture was approach-
ing a balance with the rest of the
economy as the 2oth century began.
Most farmers produced for the market.
The prices they received for their
products in relation to prices they paid
for other products seemed fair. Horse-
drawn machinery had replaced much
hand labor on farms. Steam engines
were used for plowing and threshing
in parts of the West. Inventors were
at work improving tractors with
internal combustion engines. Lime and
chemical fertilizer were widely used
in the South and East. Draining in
some areas and irrigation in others
made land more productive. The
agricultural colleges and the Depart-
ment of Agriculture had brought
science to bear on farming, even
though farmers were sometimes slow
to adopt their recommendations. The
establishment of the cooperative ex-
tension service in 1914 meant that a
college-trained county agent carried
the results of research to farmers.
The First World War caused major
dislocations in European agriculture
for nearly 6 years. The food and fiber
exporting nations found demand for
their products virtually unlimited.
Prices rose, and many individual
farmers in commercial farming areas
throughout the world expanded their
operations. Demand continued for
about 2 years after the end of the war
in 1918. By the summer of 1920,
European agriculture had made a
remarkable recovery, and some Euro-


pean countries embarked upon a
program of agricultural self-sufficiency.
World prices of many farm products
declined sharply as a result.
World agriculture, at least among
the countries producing surpluses for
export, suffered chronic depression
during the twenties and early thirties.
Some countries developed plans to aid
their farmers by influencing foreign
marketing. In a few instances, where
one controlled a substantial part of the
supply of a commodity, attempts were
made to control exports and thus raise
Several nations, during the depres-
sion years, began to make particular
efforts to help their farmers by extend-
ing credit, supporting farm prices,
or establishing production control
The worldwide agricultural depres-
sion saw the continued development of
agricultural technology, even though
most farmers had neither the capital
nor the financial incentive to change
their methods.
Agricultural experiment stations in
all parts of the world continued to
develop better yielding plants and ani-
mals and to find new means to combat
diseases and insects. Industry improved
the tractor and other machines.
The Second World War provided the
the price incentives for farmers to in-
crease production in every way possi-
ble, mainly by the adoption of the
latest advances in agricultural tech-
nology. There was no postwar defla-
tion like that following the first war.
Continued postwar demand for food
in many parts of the world and price
supports of one type or another for
farm products kept prices up. The
result was great technological advance
in much of the world.
In the United States, the revolution
included widespread progress in mech-
anization, with gasoline tractors dis-
placing horses and mules. The com-
mercial production of cottonpickers
after the war completed the mecha-
nization of cotton production.
Greater use of lime and fertilizer, the

widespread use of cover crops and
other conservation practices and im-
proved varieties, the adoption of hy-
brid corn, a better balanced feeding of
livestock, the more effective control of
insects and disease, and the use of
chemicals for such purposes as weed-
killers and defoliants were part of the
technological revolution.
Artificial breeding, which drew on
earlier experiences in the Soviet Union
and Denmark, brought major changes
to the dairy industry. Such chemicals
as gibberellic acid, a plant growth reg-
ulator first discovered in Japan, were
placed on the market.
Hybrid sorghums, chickens, and pigs,
following the great success of hybrid
corn, brought our production to new
The successful development of freez-
ing food for retail sale, beginning be-
fore the First World War, and the
commercial adoption of freeze-drying
in the early sixties improved food mar-
keting. Sales of partially processed and
ready-to-eat convenience foods, many
of them frozen, increased markedly
after the war. Attractive packaging,
control of quality, and improvements
in supermarkets helped give Americans
a constantly improving diet.
Similar advances might be cata-
loged for most of western Europe
and Canada, Australia, New Zealand,
Japan, and other countries. Yet the
agricultural potentialities of many na-
tions are still underdeveloped.
One of the great opportunities in
agriculture today is to help them take
part in this technological revolution
through the greater development of
their own natural and human re-
sources and greater participation in
world trade.

WAYNE D. RASMUSSEN became chief of
the Agricultural History Branch, Economic
Research Service in 1961. He edited
Readings in the History of American
Agriculture and was coauthor of Cen-
tury of Service: The First Ioo Years of
the United States Department of

Bond with

the Earth


THE SERFS, the peasants, the tribes-
men, the farmers, they are the ones
whose sweat and toil produced the
food that has nourished people these
thousands of years and whose tie to the
good earth made the foundations for
the cultures and civilizations of their
own time and later times.
Peons, peasants, tribesmen, and
farmers there are still. Their associa-
tion with the land endures. Their
sweat and work continue. But times
have changed: They are called on now
to produce more food and fiber for the
growing world population. The mech-
anisms of the trade and finance their
products made possible and necessary
are becoming bafflingly complex. They
are awakening to a new consciousness
of their destiny and contributions.
Their welfare is of increasing concern
to national and international authori-
ties. No longer can they be neglected.
Their productive effort must be amply
rewarded. Their worth as citizens
needs to be recognized as other seg-
ments of society have been; the contri-
butions of their way of life to national
structures merit our appreciation.
Anyone who wants a clear view of
world agriculture and America's stake
in it and its directions will do well to
know who farmers are and how they
live and work and produce because
on them depend the world's food,
much trade, and many institutions.

The first thing to appreciate is the
bond between the land and the man
who tills it, for that is an attachment
that may mean the success or failure of
any project or scheme of collective
farming, expropriation or land reform,
encouragement or discouragement of
farm production, and change in es-
tablished patterns of farming.
The bond is as old as the dawn of
human consciousness, when man found
his existence tied to the land on which
he roamed, hunted, and died. The
bond became stronger as man learned
to domesticate animals and plants.
As herdsman he became more tied
down to a certain place than as hunter.
The attachment became binding when
he settled down to cultivate the soil
and wait for it to produce crops. That
was the beginning of true civilization.
Mutual aid, extensive communication,
exchange of products, family life, com-
mon worship, and other human values
became more possible than before.
Throughout recorded history, agri-
culture was man's major occupation.
As he multiplied over the surface of the
globe, his settlement on the land be-
came established as his dominant way
of life. Its major forms we can see
today in some countries, functioning
almost as they did ages ago.

NOMADIC or semisettled tribal agricul-
ture is one of those ancient, yet still
functioning, systems. It developed as
man advanced from the hunting-
gathering economy toward direct de-
pendence on domesticated animals and
plants. From the beginning, it seems to
have existed side by side with the per-
manently settled agricultural village.
Its importance is evident in several
countries of northern Africa, the Near
East, and southeastern Asia. It is
dominant in the bush and savanna
life of Africa south of the Sahara.
Tribal people who live in deserts and
semideserts migrate far. With their
livestock, they follow the seasons, seek-
ing pastures and water. Tribes who live
on the edges of the Sahara and in the
south of Arabia are almost constantly

on the move because of the extreme
scarcity of water and pasture. Among
those who are established away from
the true deserts-like the tribes on the
highlands of northern Africa, the pla-
teaus of Arabia, Iran, and Afghanistan,
the semidesert plains of Jordan, Syria,
and Iraq, and the savanna areas of
tropical Africa-migration is more
regularly seasonal.
In the thick rain forest of Africa and
similar tropical areas, migration takes
the form mostly of shifting agricul-
ture-burning and clearing the forest
into patches of temporary agricultural
production and then moving on to new
sites within the tribal territory.
On more than one occasion, I ob-
served these tribal folk on the move.
In northern Iraq I saw the Kurdish
tribes, during their spring migration,
moving from the lowlands up the
mountain slopes with their flocks of
sheep and their household effects
loaded on horses and donkeys. Men,
women, and children were following
the way of life established by their
ancestors for centuries. During the
same season, traveling by car and truck
across the Nejd Plateau of Saudi
Arabia and over the Syrian desert, I
saw the caravans of Arab Bedouins
with their camels, sheep, and goats,
moving to northern regions after
greener pastures. We overtook them as
they were marching, or when they
stopped to water their animals, or
when they camped for the night, pitch-
ing their black tents made of goat hair.
These people do not recognize the
national boundaries that have been set
up in recent times and cut across their
migration trails. They feel they have
belonged to the heart of the vast areas
of land since time immemorial, and
they wish to maintain their freedom
to move according to the demands of
seasonal changes and the needs of their
pattern of life.
In the Mediterranean region, the
tribes move in winter several hundred
miles away from the hills and river
valleys deep into the open spaces on
the rim of the desert. When the dry

season begins in spring, the movement
is reversed. Similar courses are fol-
lowed by the leading tribes of northern
Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan.
The Fulanis of northern Nigeria
move with their cattle herds between
the desert areas of the north and the
rim of the thick forest in the south.
The controlling factors are the avail-
ability of seasonal moisture and the
tsetse fly, which permits no livestock
to thrive wherever it exists. The fly
spreads farther north from its forest
abode into the savanna areas during
the rainy season and forces tribal
migration accordingly.
As one drives along or flies over these
courses nowadays, one can see the
patterned movement of people and
livestock. More than that, one can see
the historical process of transition
from pure nomadism to semisettled
and permanent agriculture. No rigid
lines or barriers divide these ways of
life. They are manifestations of a total
endeavor by human beings in adjust-
ment to the forces of their environ-
ment. Some continue on the path of
pure nomadism. Others are semisettled
and do part-time agriculture. Others
are settled permanently in agricultural
villages but retain many tribal ways.
The tribal way of life continues to
make contributions to the larger na-
tional structures all over the world.
The tribal folk in many places produce
the bulk of the camels, sheep, goats,
and cattle. By nomadic grazing, they
can harvest the scanty growth of the
desert, where cultivated agriculture
has no chance. When semisettled, they
also can raise annual crops. The pro-
ducts of their livestock supply the mar-
kets of villages and cities and some-
wool and hair, skins and hides, dairy
products-may be exported.
Tribal people are sometimes the ma-
jor human resource available to their
countries. Their overflow over the cen-
turies has replenished villages and
urban centers. Ruthless forces of en-
vironment have selected and seasoned
their race to endure, as is readily ap-
parent, for example, in the Massai in

Kenya, the Nejdi nomad in Saudi
Arabia, and the Afghan highlander.
Among the basic contributions of the
tribal system to society over the ages
are family and kinship solidarity, self-
reliance, and individual prowess and
leadership. Where we find it today in
its pure form, undamaged by outside
forces, its organization is basically
democratic despite its austere and
autocratic ways. The chief is a mem-
ber of the tribe, recognized as the
leader mainly on the basis of his qual-
ities. Social and economic equality is
general among tribesmen. They are
free, independent, and outspoken.
They tell the story of an Arab tribal
chief who moved with his flocks and
people into pasture areas near Damas-
cus. The settled village folk complained
to the Ottoman Governor of Damascus
about the damage caused to their crops
by the grazing flocks of the Bedouins.
The Governor did his best to get the
chief to move away from that area, but
without success. Finally he sent a mes-
senger offering him three alternatives:
To pay a tribute for grazing rights,
to move away, or to go down and talk
it over in Damascus. True to the
Bedouin directness and independent
character, the chief sent the following
message to the Governor: "Greetings.
Tribute we shall not pay; from here
we shall not move; and down to
Damascus we will not go. Peace upon
But the tribal system generally has
been neglected by rising national pow-
ers and has been damaged by forces
beyond tribal control. In many places,
where the tribes are in the process of
settlement, tribal chiefs may be trans-
formed to absentee landlords, and
their tribesmen may be sinking to serf-
dom. In other places, where the tide of
nationalism is rising, serious efforts
have been aimed at detribalization.
Forced or poorly conceived forms of
settlement have been tried in some
countries, but the result has been de-
moralization and loss to national econ-
omies. The situation calls for more
thoughtful and rational plans, based

on the realities, the social-economic
values, and limitations of tribal life.

THE AGRICULTURAL village settlement
began in remote times, probably in the
highlands of the Near East, where man
first learned to cultivate plants and
raise livestock. Village life that de-
pended on mixed farming spread into
Asia, westward around the Mediter-
ranean, and into Europe.
Excavations in Palestine, northern
Iraq, Iran, and other parts of the Old
World have revealed much of its ear-
liest forms. At Byblos, on the Mediter-
ranean in Lebanon, you can still see
the remains of an ancient Phoenician
settlement, much older than the Cru-
sader castle and Roman amphitheater
standing on the same site. You can see
the foundations of its clustered houses,
the temple where people worshiped
and offered sacrifice, the water hole,
and many stone implements they used.
Close by in a typical Lebanese village,
you can see how features of the ancient
settlement have prevailed despite mod-
ern changes.
The village even today is still the
dominant type of settlement among
farming peoples. It is firmly established
in northern Africa and the Near East;
in Pakistan, India, and the rest of
southeastern Asia; in western Europe;
and most of Latin America. Even in
China, the Soviet Union, and eastern
Europe, it retains its form and much of
its functions despite the modifications
of collectivization. The scattered farm-
steads that are typical of the United
States, Canada, Australia, and parts of
northern Europe and southern South
America form a much smaller propor-
tion of the world farming population.
Despite widespread existence and
development and despite differences
of cultures and the local peculiarities,
agricultural villages have several out-
standing features in common. They
are the centers where farmers live close
together in clustered dwellings and
from which they go out to work in their
fields. They gain from their village a
feeling of physical and social security,

as they are identified with its kinship
groups, its traditions, and its common
activities and ways of doing things.
Family and religious ties are strong
among them. So is their attachment
to their ancestral land. Their desire
to own it is instinctive and atavistic,
but their love for it is deep even if
they work it as sharecroppers or
tenants. The jobs they cannot do them-
selves they do through the traditional
forms of mutual aid or with occasional
hired village labor. The farm meets
many of their needs, but they trade in
the regular market of the nearest town,
the larger weekly market in their
neighborhood, or in a city market.
The land is their existence and fulfill-
ment. Only the most compelling of
economic or political conditions drive
them from it.
As I grew up in my old ancestral
village on the lower slopes of the
Lebanon mountains, I found myself
immersed in an atmosphere of inti-
mate association between my people
and the land. It was our land, the land
of my ancestors, whose names I
learned to recite covering eight genera-
tions. Also, I learned the proper name
given to each orchard or field of our
property scattered around the village.
And as my grandfather took me
around, he told me about the history
and folklore associated with our land.
Each family in the village was simi-
larly identified with its land, and no
one would want to part with it except
under extreme conditions of emergency
or deprivation. When some of the
people emigrated to seek fortunes in
the Americas or Australia, they pre-
ferred to mortgage the land for travel
loans rather than sell it. And the first
surplus income they earned was sent
back home to release the land. They
wanted to keep it within the family,
even though they would never return
to settle on it themselves.
When I returned to Lebanon in the
spring of 1963, I found the situation
still about the same. The basic bond
between the rural folk and the earth
has endured, despite the many changes

brought about by modern technology
and living.
But village life has limitations and
problems. It is isolated and has limited
horizons, and so it tends to have con-
flicting groups. Also, its traditionalism
and strong community consciousness
discourage deviation and change to-
ward improved methods of production
and living.
Aside from the more modern rural
areas of western Europe and a few
other regions, the village folk-the
majority of the world's farmers-have
had the short end of the stick. In
most villages of Latin America, the
Near East, Pakistan, and India, aver-
age family income is low-the equiva-
lent of 50 to 150 dollars a year. They
usually have no credit facilities and
must borrow at usurious rates. Most of
them are landless sharecroppers, wage
earners, or owners of holdings too small
to support them.
The clustered village structure and
customs dictate a wasteful fragmenta-
tion of the cultivated land. Methods of
cultivation generally are primitive.
The ancient hand sickle, the threshing
board, and the wooden plow are com-
mon. Even animal power and the
wooden plow are missing in most of
tropical Africa. Crops are produced
by the use of the ancient short-handle
hoe and are transported on men's and
women's backs. Transportation facili-
ties are inadequate. Illiteracy may
be as high as 90 percent. Sanitary facil-
ities and health services are primitive,
and the incidence of disease is high.
One of my most vivid impressions
during my first trip in tropical Africa
was seeing so many people using that
type of hoe and transporting the pro-
duce on their backs. It was the pattern
of production and transportation pre-
vailing wherever I traveled in the
countries of west-central and eastern
Africa. Often I saw women carrying
babies on their backs and baskets of
produce on their heads, going home
from the fields or to the village market
to sell their products.
Yet these hard-working village folk


produce most of the world's food and
fiber. They and tribal people are the
major human resource-70 to 80 per-
cent of the total population-in most
countries. Furthermore, the basic val-
ues of their life-endurance, directness
in their relationships, family solidarity,
religious faith, sociability, and neigh-
borly sharing-are at the foundation of
cultures and development.
The impact of national emancipa-
tion and international cooperation
have brought a redeeming awakening
to the problems, needs, and promise of
village people. National authorities,
now supported by international effort,
have been directing more and more
attention and concern to the great
rural base. The need for broad pro-
grams of agrarian reform at last is
recognized seriously.
New programs touch many sides of
rural development-equitable distri-
bution of the land, fair taxation, set-
ting up cooperatives and other insti-
tutions, extension work, education,
health services, centers for agricul-
tural mechanization, experiment sta-
tions, and others.
Even in France, where agriculture
has been developed to high levels, the
need for further improvements in the
agrarian system has been recognized.
The country is now proceeding with
the application of a national policy
aimed at consolidation of the frag-
mented holdings of the villages, ex-
pansion of credit and extension serv-
ices, and improvement of marketing
methods and facilities.
Mexico took the lead in Latin
America, and has had successful ex-
perience in land reform.
Some beginnings in that field were
made by other Latin American coun-
tries before the initiation of the Alli-
ance for Progress in 1961. Since then,
some tangible and promising steps
have been taken, including tax reforms
in several countries and the adoption
of land reform laws in others. Also,
more attention has been directed
toward the development of human
resources through education.

Peru, for example, has begun to
move ahead with determination on a
wide front of rural improvement
within a comprehensive program of
national development.
Nicaragua passed a new agrarian
reform law in 1962 for the benefit of
its farmers, and so did the Dominican
Republic and Chile. Chile also has
completed a comprehensive aerial
survey of its agricultural land, which
will provide a basis for settlement
and agricultural development.
Japan achieved a thorough agrarian
reform with United States support at
the end of the war. A community de-
velopment movement in India has
begun to revitalize its villages.
The Egyptian revolution of 1962
pioneered in land reform and emanci-
pation of the peasants in the Middle
East. Promising beginnings have been
made in Morocco through land dis-
tribution and the paysanats, which are
centers for improved agricultural
methods. Similar paysanats have been
established in the Congo.
Tribal village folk in Kenya are be-
ing settled on good farmland.
National leaders of Tunisia have
identified themselves with rural im-
provement on an intensive scale on the
basis of self-help.
I cannot forget how President Bour-
guiba of Tunisia emphasized this prin-
ciple when he received us (members of
the United States Wheat Team) to dis-
cuss wheat donations by the United
States. We had toured the country,
estimated its emergency needs, and
obtained Washington's approval for
the donations. The President expressed
his sincere appreciation for American
help, a free gift of food for his people
who needed it. But he expressed his
determination that the rural people re-
ceiving the aid should work for it on
productive projects for their own bene-
fit. Later on, he did just that, and the
Tunisian project of self-help, using
American wheat for rural improve-
ment, became a model copied in several
other countries.
Thailand is an example of what an

old country with traditional village
life and agriculture could do under a
sound agrarian structure. Its farmers
are mostly independent and enter-
prising owner-operators. Their govern-
ment has been concerned with the
agricultural base and alert to possibili-
ties for increasing production and ex-
ports. A sound policy aimed at these
objectives has been followed since 1950
or so. The result has been the success-
ful transformation of the economy
from a one-crop base (rice) to that of
several major export crops, including
rice, corn, cassava, and livestock.
The Shah of Iran has fostered a com-
prehensive agrarian reform that may
reach every village. Similar awaken-
ings and developments have been
taking place in Greece, Italy, Turkey,
the Philippines, and other countries
where village life is significant.

BUT A MAJOR segment of the world's
village people live under Communist
regimes in the Soviet Union, China,
and eastern Europe. There the village
was the focus of a different activity.
Communist authorities from the be-
ginning sought to destroy the tradi-
tional village organization and to re-
place it with centrally controlled
collective farms. It amounted to the
destruction of the deep roots of hun-
dreds of millions of people.
Collective farming has existed as a
minor feature of the agrarian structure
in other parts. For example, it is
practiced in Israel side by side with co-
operative family farming; by various
tribal groups in Africa; and in some old
villages of the Middle East and Far
East, where land is held in common.
What has happened under com-
munism is different and unprece-
dented. It has been enforced ruthlessly
by dictation from above in disregard
of centuries-old farming systems and
ways of life. It has struck swiftly and
sweepingly. It is aimed at increased
production and uses all available tech-
nical means, but rigid regimentation
allows little initiative.
In the Soviet Union and in other

Communist-controlled countries, it be-
gan with the declaration of freedom
and free land for the peasants with the
division of large estates. That first
stage was short lived. Soon there fol-
lowed the destruction of the old agrar-
ian structure, liquidation of the large
peasant farmers, effective assertion of
the ownership of the land by the state,
and the setting up of the kolkhoz, or
collective farm, under state control.
Most Russian farmers belong to the
kolkhoz system. A general description
of one unit would be a fair representa-
tion of farm life in the Soviet Union
today. It is basically related to the
old agricultural village structure but
aims at changing and replacing it.
Its members are drawn mostly from
the village folk. Its land is the same
land that was previously farmed by
individual village families as owners
or as tenants on large estates. The
church and other institutions of the
village were eliminated or modified.
New institutions (notably schools and
recreation halls) were set up according
to the Communist pattern.
The dominant institution that directs
the community affairs and most of life
among the farmers is the kolkhoz or-
ganization itself. It receives its pat-
terns of operation from a hierarchy of
central authorities, most of whom are
far away from the facts of country life.
It operates through a president and a
number of administrative and profes-
sional persons who direct the members,
community activities, and field opera-
tions. The members are organized into
work brigades, each under a brigade
leader, and assigned to activities ac-
cording to the central pattern.
The achievements and rewards of
workers, men and women, are calcu-
lated on the basis of the labor-day
unit. The unit is given a value accord-
ing to the type of work done, so that
rewards are higher for higher skills and
some margin is allowed for individual
Members are paid in kind and cash,
the amount depending on the total
output of the kolkhoz at the end of the

harvest. The state quota of the crop
is met first, and part of the income is
turned to the kolkhoz reserve. The por-
tion of the crop that is divided among
the members is used by them or sold.
Members receive free health care and
free schooling for their children.
After the agonies of its early stages
under the Stalin regime, when large
independent farmers were liquidated
and millions of people died from fam-
ine, the collective system was forced to
include some private incentives. At
each kolkhoz, therefore, farm families
generally are allowed to own houses,
small adjoining plots, some livestock
and feed for them, and farm handtools.
Into this miniature farming activity,
symbolic of the free private enterprise,
a family pours every bit of effort it can
spare from its collective duties.
The results are revealing. The farm
family has better food and has some
items to spare for sale on the free
market for higher prices. The total
area of all private plots is estimated at
3 to 4 percent of all cropland. The
value of the products from the private
plots amounts to about 30 percent
of the total agricultural output of the
Soviet Union.
The sovkhoz, or state farm, is
another form of Soviet collective farm-
ing. Its objectives are similar to those
of the kolkhoz, but it is completely
owned and administered by the state.
It usually covers a larger area per
farm and is especially important in the
newly opened lands of the central
Soviets and southern Siberia.
In general, it is better staffed and
equipped than the kolkhoz, and its
workers are paid regular wages. Its
production efficiency has been im-
proving, and it has developed better
institutions and services for its people.

THE COMMUNIZING of agriculture in
China is somewhat like that in the
Soviet Union. The vast rural base
which faced the Chinese Communists
in the late forties consisted mostly of
the traditional, deep-rooted village
community. Family and community

ties were strong. Religious and social
institutions were deeply traditional.
Farmers cultivated small family hold-
ings near their villages.
Aiming at ultimate collectivization
and state control, the authorities ap-
pealed to the peasant farmers through
the usual inducement-confiscation of
large holdings and the promise of free
land to the landless and small owners.
The next step was to encourage and
organize the farmers to cooperate in
the production of crops through the
traditional channels of mutual aid. So
far, the procedure was in keeping with
the old ways of the people. The land
was apparently theirs, and they re-
ceived a good share of the produce.
Then control became more central-
ized, as mutual aid teams were or-
ganized into the larger but rudimen-
tary production cooperative. A third
comprehensive step was taken in a few
years-the consolidation of production
cooperatives into advanced coopera-
tive organizations, geared to even more
central control of agricultural produc-
tion. Within a short time, some 120
million farm families found themselves
members of these organizations and
regimented by them. The system at
this stage was similar to the Russian
kolkhoz. The land went under state
control, but each family was allowed to
retain a small plot, some implements,
and livestock.
The authorities embarked on the last
and most drastic move toward com-
plete socialization in the late fifties.
They declared the well-known com-
mune system and began to apply it
rigorously. That was supposed to be
the final answer to the attainment of
the Communist ideal in farm life.
Each commune was intended to be a
large, self-sustaining, political-econom-
ic entity, composed of an average of
30 advanced cooperatives with highly
centralized authority over the people.
It regimented the lives and opera-
tions of the farmers and confiscated the
family plots, livestock, and imple-
ments. Everything belonged to the
commune, including the people. Men

and women were organized into work
teams and brigades that were assigned
various tasks as the situation de-
manded, according to a centralized
pattern of production. Family ties
were disregarded. Members were as-
signed to different production units.
Children were taken care of centrally.
People ate in mess halls.
Within a year, the commune system
as originally conceived proved un-
workable. Human endurance under
absolute regimentation reached a
breaking point. Family life was heavily
damaged, private initiative was de-
stroyed, and a man's dignity was lost.
Agricultural production slumped, and
the people were hungry.
Finally, within 3 years, the authori-
ties were obliged to recognize their
failure and retreat from the commune
approach. They swung the pendulum
back, roughly to the equivalent of the
previous state, the less drastic produc-
tion cooperative. Central state control,
still strong, claimed the lion's share of
the farming endeavor, but family plots
were restored, and farmers were al-
lowed to sell excess products in the free
market. Total production rose, and the
people had more to eat.
The Communist wave of collective
farming swelled over into the countries
of eastern Europe but with varying
impacts, as compared to Russia and
China. Collectivization was about
complete in Rumania and Hungary in
1963. Not more than 15 percent of the
farmland was collectivized in Poland
and 12 percent in Yugoslavia. The
traditional rural life, with its emphasis
on the family unit, individual ini-
tiative, and private ownership of the
land, has survived to some degree.

THE SEPARATE farmstead and the
rural community it fostered are rather
new in world agriculture. They have
never taken a real hold in most of Asia
and are limited in Europe.
Even in the early stage of settlement
in North America, the agricultural
village and the plantation prevailed.
During the later stages of expansion

into the valleys and the plains in the
heart of the continent and the West,
the isolated farmstead took firm roots,
flourished, and became dominant.
Within the past century or so, it
has become widespread, important,
and typical in the United States.
Similar settlements and rural devel-
opment have occurred in Canada,
Australia, New Zealand, South Africa,
and somewhat in South America.
Its fundamental feature is inde-
pendent, private ownership of land.
The American pioneer farmer had to
struggle, work, suffer, and risk his life
before he was able to secure himself
on the new land, but he was rewarded,
perhaps as no other farmer of the Old
World has been, by becoming a free
and independent owner-operator. He
met the challenge, knowing that the
land and its fruits were his.
The significance of the farmer's own-
ership of land went beyond the capac-
ity to produce amply for his needs
and for national and world markets.
It lay in the heart of his steady devel-
opment as an independent, self-reliant
individual. This pattern of develop-
ment spared the United States the
trials and upheavals of countries
where a chasm separated peasants and
the elite. Even today, this basic issue-
how to emancipate every peasant
through a sound and secure system of
land tenure and enable him to follow
other pursuits-constitutes a threat to
national structure in Latin America,
the Near East, southeastern Asia, and
African countries that were colonies.
Members of an American farm
family form a solid, self-reliant, hard-
working group. They are free to cul-
tivate, produce, plan for the future,
and develop themselves, adopt im-
proved techniques and methods, and
to seek better ways of living. Still,
family ties and loyalty are not so
strong as to thwart initiative in the
younger generation. The heavy hand
of the old kinship group and the tradi-
tional community are not there to
hold youth back and keep it in place.
Farm families may trade in one


village, go to church in another, and
attend a farmers' meeting in a third.
Their horizons have widened to in-
clude urban, national, and world com-
munities. They buy and read books,
subscribe for national magazines and
newspapers, attend plays and concerts,
keep up with developments, and vote.

My PURPOSE in pointing this out is not
to make odious comparisons but to
emphasize that even in these modern
times of science and technology, elec-
tronics, jet planes, and mechanized
agriculture, most of the world's farm-
ing people are at the lowest levels of
human development.
An example: Much of the agricul-
tural land in Latin America is held in
very large estates. They are cultivated
by village peasants on the basis of
sharecropping or wage labor. The
peasants' share of the crop is barely
enough for subsistence living. They
have no economic margin to improve
their lot and no channels are open to
seek other ways of living. The system
began in the early years of the con-
quest. Large grants of land were made
to influential individuals; with the
land went the Indian people under
special concessions to provide the nec-
essary labor. Subsequent national de-
velopment confirmed this type of agri-
cultural settlement and exploitation.

East, from the Atlantic borders to
Pakistan, the roots of large-scale agri-
cultural exploitation have been asso-
ciated with absentee ownership.
In the forties and fifties, a wave of
independence swept over the region,
and new and old national entities
found themselves faced with grave
agrarian issues. Their superstructures
tottered on shaky agrarian founda-
tions, where the majorities of their
peoples were hopelessly bound.
Like their Latin counterparts, these
peasant masses were mostly share-
croppers, tied to the land of their
ancestors. They were illiterate, igno-
rant, and slaves of primitive methods of

cultivation. The magnitude of the
absentee landlord was measured most-
ly in terms of the number of villages
he owned-land, houses, and people.
He supplied some management and
credit, but not enough to put the land
under efficient cultivation or to give
the peasants a chance to improve their
The harvested crop in Iran, for
instance, was divided among the five
factors of production-land, labor,
water, seed, and draft power. The
peasant usually could claim the share
of only one or two of the factors. In
Egypt, the rent per acre was so high
that the fellah could have barely
enough to eat.
Much of this situation existed in
1964, but with a basic difference. The
responsible elite in almost all of these
countries-kings, presidents and other
government authorities, political lead-
ers, and intellectuals-have become
increasingly aware of the seriousness
of the situation. They have launched a
variety of national agrarian programs
to emancipate the peasants, give them
ownership of the land they cultivate,
furnish more secure terms of tenancy,
and support services and institutions.

ISRAEL provides an unusual example of
land settlement and agricultural devel-
opment. The country, ancient in ori-
gin, is young as a nation. Most of its
people are immigrants from all over
the world who came to live on the an-
cient land in the past few decades.
With the exception of the original
Arab settlers (now a minority concen-
trated mostly in the Galilee neighbor-
hood), the incoming people attached
themselves to the land according to
patterns set by responsible national
authorities. The new nation was not
bound to any deep-rooted system of
traditional agriculture.
Also, unlike its neighbors and most of
the newly developing countries, Israel
has only a small minority (about 20
percent) of its 2.5 million people living
in rural areas and engaged mainly in
agriculture. The country consequently

is not faced with the usual problems of
rural overpopulation and underem-
ployment; it also has well-developed
A third feature is that Israeli farmers
come from a variety of cultural origins;
they carry different patterns of living.
They come from eastern and western
Europe, from northern Africa and the
Near East, and from other regions, too.
They had to go through a process of
adjustment under national guidance,
culminating in the establishment of
integrated and productive settlements.
They benefit increasingly from the
services of highly developed national
,institutions of agricultural research,
extension, and training.
As they settle on the land, which is
largely state owned, they are free to
choose their type of settlement. One
such major type is the collective, called
kibbutz. Here, private property is
practically nonexistent. The people
work the land and share in the harvest
collectively, and their living generally
is communal.
Another major kind of settlement is
the cooperative village, called moshav.
The land is held in common, but pri-
vate ownership of the houses and pri-
vate family life are maintained.
The third major form is represented
by Jewish and Arab village settle-
ments, where the land is owned and
operated by individual families.
Thus, within a relatively short
period, (mostly from 1948 to 1964),
and with substantial aid from abroad,
Israel has been able to develop a
highly efficient system of agriculture
in balance with industrial develop-
ment. Also, its experiment with vari-
ous types of settlement developed vol-
untarily side by side-from the purely
collective to the purely private opera-
tion-generally has been successful.
Fortified with highly developed tech-
nical and scientific competence, Israel
has been reaching out to other emerg-
ing countries, mostly in Africa, to share
with them its experiences in various
aspects of agricultural settlement and

A SIMILARLY promising trend has been
established in southeastern Asia.
Japan has succeeded in the peaceful
liquidation of the old system of large-
scale absentee ownership. Its peasant
millions became free-and have be-
come more efficient producers and
more effective citizens.
India is in the midst of a tremendous
rural development program aimed at
the same objectives.
The Philippines and other countries
of the region are steadily following
their own national paths toward agrar-
ian reform and sound agricultural
Tropical Africa is at a crossroads.
Most of its agricultural development
has been achieved through the planta-
tion system.
The Republic of the Congo is an ex-
ample of a plantation enterprise, es-
tablished mostly by European colonial
organizations or large-scale farmers.
They made tremendous investments,
introduced modern technology, and
supplied managerial skills. They op-
erated at heavy risks. The system has
improved agricultural development
and commercial production. It has
developed much of the great export
products such as hardwood, palm oil,
rubber, cotton, tea, coffee, peanuts,
and bananas.
But at the same time, the plantation
has tied down to its operation a major
portion of the human resource in the
form of resident or migrant labor. It
has given rise to a special class of land-
less African peasants. Their housing,
health, food, and other primary needs
are taken care of to one degree or an-
other. They depend upon the planta-
tion for their subsistence, but have no
stake in its land, nor do they partici-
pate in its management.
Newly independent African coun-
tries also have inherited, among other
colonial developments, the plantation
What will the new national regimes
do with it? Will extreme nationalism
squeeze out European investment and
management at the risk of letting the


system go to pieces? Will new formulas
of cooperation be established whereby
the great plantation will continue to
operate on a new basis? How are they
to free the human resource tied up
with the system?
The issue involves millions of tribal
folk, who are in various stages of agri-
cultural settlement. Some are nomadic
herders. Others practice shifting agri-
culture. Others cultivate permanent
smallholdings. Most of them operate
under traditional tribal laws of land
Will national developments provide
them with sound agrarian structures
based on their recognized rights in the
land within the context of their tribal
cultures?-or will collective or other
schemes be imposed on them from
above? Will they develop into landless
peasants in an African system of large-
scale absentee ownership?
The answers will depend largely on
whether the rising African elite will
permit the chasm to widen between
them and the village-tribal peoples,
or whether they will keep close to that
solid base and on it secure national
I think that the world's experience
indicates that the key to the great
rural resource is to give the cultivator
a man's position as an independent
farmer or tenant.

AFIF I. TANNOUS is Area Oficer for
the Near East and Africa, Foreign Agri-
cultural Service. He taught in the American
University of Beirut and worked on rural
development in the Near East. After earn-
ing a doctor's degree at Cornell University,
he taught at the University of Minnesota
and joined the Foreign Agricultural Serv-
ice in 1943. His work entails much travel
in the Near East and Africa and has in-
cluded several assignments on United States
and United Nations field missions. From
1951 to 1954, he was Deputy Director
of the United States Operations Mission
in Lebanon. From 1954 to 1961, he served
in Foreign Agricultural Service as Chief of
the Africa and the Middle East Analysis

Migrations and



much immigrants have contributed to
American farming, economics, and
the texture of life: The British in New
England, Spanish in the Southwest,
Negroes in the South, and Germans
and Scandinavians in the Midwest,
for instance.
The history of every other country in
the world also has been affected by im-
migration. There is hardly one farmer
anywhere whose farm life and farm
activities are not influenced in one way
or another by a migration sometime
in the past.
Famine has caused several of the
world's most dramatic migrations,
including that of thousands of Irish
during and after the Irish potato
famine of 1845-1848.
People have gone to new homes in
distant lands also because of a long
pressure on the food supply.
People have migrated because of a
promise of new or better ground to
till, or because they wanted to set up a
trading post somewhere far from home,
or because there were prospects for a
better job somewhere else.
People have migrated for non-
economic reasons. They have moved
because they thought the new home-
land would provide them with a
better place in which to practice their
religion. They have moved to gain
political freedom or intellectual stimu-

lation. They have moved to get away
from social ostracism. People have
migrated involuntarily. Some were
sold into slavery, taken captive in war,
or shipped to Siberia.

GREAT MIGRATIONS, whatever their
cause, always have influenced agri-
culture. Sometimes the migrants have
brought new plants and animals with
Sometimes they have introduced dif-
ferent institutions and values into the
new homeland: Novel systems of land
tenure, different attitudes toward
work, new food habits, new credit sys-
tems, slavery.
Sometimes migrants have introduced
new technology: New agricultural ma-
chinery, new techniques of cultivation,
Sometimes they have carried with
them birds and insects and organisms
that have become pests and caused

MOVING from place to place was the
usual way of life for primitive tribes.
The movements were not normally
over great distances, and a tribe usu-
ally moved within the same territory
that its ancestors had known. Occa-
sionally, in prehistoric times, people
would wander to completely new
lands, never to return to the old camp-
ing grounds.
Probably the earliest of such migra-
tions of primitive peoples that affected
agriculture significantly was the mi-
gration that brought the American
Indians from Asia across the Bering
Straits to North America.
The first wave of this migration be-
gan perhaps 24 thousand years ago.
Successive waves continued until
shortly before the Christian Era. Long
before their "discovery" by the Euro-
pean world, these people had found,
cultivated, and developed such impor-
tant crops as corn, potatoes, and
Arnold Toynbee, the English his-
torian, describes another migration of
antiquity that was due to an agricul-

tural pressure and resulted in impor-
tant agricultural developments.
During the most recent glacial
epoch, the storms that in warmer times
watered the plains of Europe were
forced southward and watered the
Afrasian steppe, which extends from
the Atlantic coast of north Africa east-
ward to India and China. Somewhat
more than o1 thousand years ago, as
the glacier was receding and the storms
were moving northward following it,
the primitive Afrasian hunters and
food gatherers faced the gradual desic-
cation of their land.
The Paleolithic men (who left their
hand axes all over the Afrasian steppe
from Morocco to India) had three op-
portunities open to them as their food
supply became less and less. First, they
might move northward or southward
with their prey, following the climate
to which they were accustomed.
Second, they might remain on the
steppes and seek out a miserable exist-
ence on such game and plants as
could withstand the droughts. And
third, they might invade the swamps of
the river valleys.
Although the Paleolithic men tried
each, the ones who invaded the valleys
made the most immediate contribution
to agriculture, for in the process of con-
quering the swamps of the Nile, the
Tigris-Euphrates, the Indus, and the
Yellow Rivers, these people learned to
grow crops and to cope with the an-
nual flooding of the rivers by channel-
ing the waters into irrigation canals
and replanting their annually inun-
dated fields.
It was probably the process of con-
quering these valleys with primitive
agriculture and primitive engineering
that stimulated the development of the
early river-valley civilizations-the
first of the great civilizations. So, while
those who chose the alternative of
plunging into the swamps traveled the
shortest distance of any who fled from
desiccation, they influenced agricul-
ture much more than did those who at
the same time traveled much greater


There have been five truly great ex-
plosive migrations since recorded his-
tory began: The Bantu expansion in
Africa, then the Arab expansion after
Mohammed, the European expansion
after the Renaissance and Reforma-
tion, the forced migration of Negroes
to the Western Hemisphere, and the
recent Chinese expansion into Man-
churia and southeastern Asia.
Each time the migrating peoples
carried their influence into new terri-
tories in the span of a few centuries.
Each time they had an important
effect on the agriculture in the new

THE FIRST, that of the Bantu in Africa,
began about the time of Christ. The
Bantu peoples, a group of tribes from
eastern Nigeria and the Cameroon
highlands, began the invasion of the
lands of Pygmies who lived in the trop-
ical rain forest of the Congo River
Basin. They were able to make the
invasion at this time, and not before,
because then the Bantu acquired a
group of Indonesian crops that could
be grown in the rain forest.
How the Bantu acquired the Indo-
nesian crops is a study on how rapidly
man sometimes moved crops around
the world with his migrations long be-
fore the time of modern transportation.
Some time before the birth of Christ,
a group of people known as the Maan-
yan on the southeastern coast of Bor-
neo had developed skills in navigating
their outrigger canoes through trading
with the inhabitants of nearby islands.
Their territory lay along a famous
trade route that connected Malaya
with China through the Philippines.
The Borneo navigators mastered this
trade route and then ventured farther,
making contact with Ceylon and
India, then Arabia, and eventually
On the coast of Africa, the Indo-
nesians set up a trading colony in
Azania. (Azania corresponded roughly
to the present coast of Kenya.) The
Azanians themselves had migrated to
the area some 2 thousand years before

the arrival of the Indonesians and had
established a terraced agriculture on
the African coast, leaving the nearby
steppes to the bushmen hunters.
Since the Azanians already had
knowledge of agriculture, it was easy
for the Indonesians to introduce into
Africa the crops they brought with
them: Rice, bananas, taro, yams, and
the sweetpotato, which some adven-
turous prehistoric seamen had brought
to Indonesia from South America.
The Azanians adopted all the In-
donesian crops but rice. Apparently
they could not get used to the Indo-
nesians' method of cultivating rice.
The Azanians passed on the four In-
donesian crops to their neighbors to
the north, and the cultivation of the
crops then spread quickly across the
grasslands south of the Sahara and
north of the rain forests.
When the Bantu moved into the rain
forests to the south, they found the
Indonesian crops they brought with
them even more suited to the wet
climate they encountered than to the
semiarid climate of their old home.
The new crops gave them a decided
advantage over the Pygmies, who pre-
viously had ruled supreme in the
Congo Basin.
Within 500 years, the Bantu had
conquered the entire Congo, subduing
the Pygmies and setting up a symbiotic
relationship with them. The area they
conquered in this short time span was
roughly equivalent in size to the
United States east of the Mississippi.
After their conquest of the Congo
Basin rain forest, the Bantu emerged
into the highlands of Uganda, where
they relearned the cultivation of Afri-
can cereals, which they had forgotten
during the previous 500 years. During
the next 900 years, the Bantu con-
quered east Africa, learned how to
keep cattle, and brought the cattle
from eastern Africa south across the
tsetse fly belt and then conquered
south-central Africa.
The tsetse fly, which attacks both
cattle and humans, exists in a belt
across south-central Africa. This pest

had previously prevented the intro-
duction of cattle to southern Africa.
The Bantu demonstrated the superior
quality of their technology when they
managed to move cattle across this
belt and successfully introduce them
into southern Africa.
By the year 140o, the Bantu had
managed to finish their occupation of
practically all Africa from the Congo
basin to the east and south, except the
extreme southwestern corner of the
It was on this southwestern corner
that the Dutch were later to land and
start a migration northward as part of
the third great migratory explosion.
But that is getting ahead of our story,
for the second great explosive migra-
tion in history began in the Middle
East many centuries before the Euro-
pean Renaissance.

A NEW FAITH, Islam, arose about
A.D. 600 in Arabia. In less than ioo
years, its followers, the Moslems, had
occupied territory extending from the
Atlantic Ocean at Morocco eastward
to the Indian Ocean and northward to
the Caspian Sea.
Although the Moslem migration is
better known than the Bantu migra-
tion, which was still going on when
the Moslems set out, fewer people
moved in the Moslem migration. The
Moslem migration, especially during
its first century, was predominantly
military in character.
The spread of Moslem influence con-
tinued by military conquest, coloniza-
tion, and trader missionaries. By 16oo,
less than a thousand years after the
death of its founder, Islam had been
carried almost all the way to its pres-
ent territorial limits.
Today most of the world's 400 mil-
lion Moslems live in a band stretch-
ing from Morocco through Indonesia,
widening out on the south to Zanzibar
and on the north into Siberia. Islam
has affected the agriculture of every
region it has penetrated, for wherever
Islam has become predominant, swine
have virtually disappeared.

people ever to occur began just as the
Islamic world was completing its ter-
ritorial growth. Between I60o and
1940, more than 70 million people
emigrated from Europe. Most of them
migrated between 1820 and 1930.
The peak of the migration occurred
around 191o. The migrant streams out
of Europe went first toward Latin
America. Later other migrant streams
moved toward North America, then
Africa, Asia, Australia, and New
When Spain and Portugal began
their conquest of Central and South
America shortly after Columbus' i492
voyage, neither country was looking for
new land to colonize, for they could
not spare enough men to settle it. The
territory was closed at first to settlers.
In line with the customs of feudal
Europe, Spain and Portugal rewarded
successful conquerors and others who
won favor with the crown by giving
them large tracts of land in the New
World. The new landowners were
allowed to settle on their lands and
often arrived accompanied by armed
guards, carpenters, bricklayers, and
other craftsmen.
Large areas of Latin America were
thus organized along the lines of the
latifundia, or large landed estates-a
system of agriculture that was common
in southern Europe during the time of
Spain's greatest glory. The latifundia
system, employing simple agricultural
techniques and much relatively un-
skilled labor, enabled the owner to be
an absentee landlord. The latifundia
system is still prevalent in Latin
America and is one of many institu-
tions restraining economic develop-
ment there today.
The early European immigration
into North America was different from
that into Central and South America.
Early North American immigrants
were largely from the countries sur-
rounding the North Sea. To some of
them, the goal of religious and political
freedom was important, but the lure of
free land was the major enticement.


During the two centuries before
18oo, net immigration from Europe
into North America may have totaled
about 2 million, but this was a mere
trickle compared to the 40 million or
so who arrived the next 150 years.
It was during this latter period of
migration that what was once a group
of colonies clustered along the Atlantic
seashore became, through western mi-
gration, two nations-the United
States and Canada. Without intra-
continental migration, the capacity of
the New World to absorb immigrants
would have been exhausted long ago.
This westward movement of people
in North America has been credited
with many accomplishments, includ-
ing the development of a composite
American nationality and the encour-
agement of democracy.
As the westward movement of people
gained force and as east coast and
European markets for foodstuffs devel-
oped, the pattern of subsistence farm-
ing in the North and of plantation
agriculture in the South gave way in-
creasingly to a pattern of commercially
oriented, owner-operated farms.
While the Europeans and their de-
scendants were moving west in North
America, other Europeans (mostly
Russians) were moving east across the
Urals into Siberia. Almost 7 million
settlers crossed the Urals between
I8oI and 1914.
The areas of tillable land in Asiatic
Russia lie chiefly in a fairly long belt,
called the Siberian wedge. The wedge
is never much more than 300 miles
wide. It shrinks as it runs from the
Urals eastward toward the Pacific
Ocean. North of the wedge, it is too
cold for farming; south of the wedge,
it is too dry for farming.
Some of those who settled in Siberia
were forced to do so, but most of them
were ordinary peasants who crossed
the Urals of their own volition in
search of a better life. They went to
Siberia to get free land and to escape
serfdom and military service. Their
crossing was an expression of Russian
agricultural individualism.

The Russian peasants, who did
Russia the triple services of peopling
Siberia with Russians, bringing east-
ern European culture to the shores of
the Pacific, and greatly enlarging
Russian agricultural productive capac-
ity, were rewarded during the Great
Depression with collectivization of
their newly created smallholdings.
Individual colonization in Siberia
was prohibited in 1930. The law would
have been unnecessary, for with the
passing of free land, the motivation
to colonize was killed. The phenome-
non of Russian agricultural individual-
ism, nurtured and developed by the
great Siberian migration, however,
has not been so easy to kill.
During the 1821-1932 period of
great European emigration, Australia
and New Zealand received 3.5 million
immigrants. They and their descend-
ants developed the agriculture of
Australia and New Zealand in much
the same way that North America
west of the Appalachians grew.
The Australian westward movement
was characterized by squatters, who
took over the land and began ranch-
ing operations before it was officially
open to settlement. Before the end of
the century, more sedentary farmers
were displacing the squatter-ranchers.
Africa also received its contingent of
European settlers during the period of
the great European exodus. Most of
them settled in Algeria and the Union
of South Africa. A million Europeans
were on the north African coast
(mostly in Algeria) by 1932, as against
12 million non-Europeans.
The Europeans in Algeria estab-
lished an efficient commercial agricul-
ture based on large owner-occupied
farms. These farms used extensive
amounts of non-European labor and
exported wheat and wine to the Euro-
pean market.
With the turmoil accompanying Al-
gerian independence in 1962, most of
these commercial farms were aban-
doned by their owner-managers, who
fled to Europe. Most of the farms in
1963 were being operated as collec-

tives by the people who used to work
them as hired laborers.
The greatest wave of immigration to
South Africa occurred after the dis-
covery of gold. During the peak period
of the immigration, around 1895, some
25 thousand immigrants, mainly Euro-
peans, arrived annually in the Union
of South Africa.
For South African agriculture, how-
ever, the smaller immigrations that
began centuries before were more
important. The Dutch East India
Company in 1625 founded a settle-
ment on the Cape of Good Hope for
the purpose of keeping open their
trade route to the Far East.
Dutch settlers took cattle onto the
traditional grazing lands of the Hot-
tentots and gradually settled more and
more of South Africa in a great trek
eastward and northward. By the
middle of the i8th century, Dutch
farmers and the advance guards of the
Bantu, whom I mentioned earlier,
were coming into frequent contact.
The resulting conflict between the
Dutch and the Bantu, known as the
Kaffir Wars, marked the beginning of
violent conflict between the races in
South Africa.
Long before the discovery of dia-
monds (1867) and gold (1885) and
the resulting inrush of people from
Europe, the Dutch farmer had trans-
formed extensive reaches of South
Africa into ranches and farms along
the patterns other European descend-
ants used in other countries.
The Europeans had the most pro-
found impact on agriculture in the
places where they settled as serious
farmers, but their influence on agri-
culture was felt also in places where
they did not settle extensively.
: The influence of the European law-
maker was felt throughout Africa and
south Asia, where European concepts
of land tenure have modified in varying
degrees the indigenous systems of land
tenure. The British in India, for in-
stance, changed the Zamindar from
an individual who merely collected
the taxes on a landholding to one who

both collected taxes and had certain
ownership rights to the land.
Throughout the Tropics, Europeans
organized and controlled vast planta-
tions. The plantations established a
new pattern of agriculture as they
began the large-scale commercial pro-
duction of sugar, tea, rubber, coffee,
and bananas.
The Europeans who went out to
settle and farm new lands in the 16th
century and who thus began the great
European exodus could not have
known that by their acts they were
laying the groundwork for two im-
portant non-European emigrations:
African and Chinese.

the largest involuntary movement of
people in history.
The African slave trade with the
Western Hemisphere began in the i6th
century. Slaves were brought to the
Virginia Colony early in the 17th
century. By the 18th century, the slave
trade reached its peak. Seven million
slaves were brought to the Americas.
The slave trade continued illegally
until the middle of the I9th century.
It is estimated that nearly 15 million
slaves had been imported into the
Americas by the end of the slave-
trading era.
The extensive slave trade undoubt-
edly was instrumental in the early in-
troduction into the Americas of native
west African crops, such as sorghum
and watermelon, as well as the early
introduction of such Western Hemi-
sphere crops as corn and peanuts into
Slaves were a tremendously im-
portant source of labor in Latin
America and in southern North Amer-
ica and were therefore a strategic
factor in the development of com-
mercial agriculture in the Western
Negro slaves became the major
source of nonfree agricultural labor
in the Western Hemisphere for several
reasons. They were strong, hard work-
ing, and healthy. Negroes were gen-


erally immune to many of the diseases
that plagued the workers of plantation
agriculture. They were inexpensive.
A master could buy an African slave
for life for the same price it cost him
to get a European indentured servant
for o years. They were politically un-
protected. They had no monarch to
whom they could appeal against
abuses, as did white men. They were
easy to recognize. If they decided to
run away, they could not blend in
with the nearby Indian or white com-
munities. There seemed to be an in-
exhaustible supply. The supply of
Indian slaves was limited, and white
indentured servants became increas-
ingly difficult to obtain.

THE CHINESE expansion into the
"Southern Ocean," as they call the
islands and peninsulas of southeastern
Asia, is the last of the truly great ex-
plosive migrations.
The Chinese have been migrating
to the Southern Ocean for centuries.
They apparently brought the use of
bronze and iron to Indonesia about
300 B.C. They were entrenched in
Malacca before the arrival of the
Portuguese, in the Philippines before
the arrival of the Spanish, and in
Indonesia before the arrival of the
Dutch and the English.
But the great flood of Chinese ex-
pansion into the Southern Ocean oc-
curred after Europeans had invested
capital in enterprises such as planta-
tions and tin mines. While the Chinese
were attracted to the Southern Ocean
by the economic development that
was being stimulated by the European
influence, they were also driven there
by famines.
Famines in China and migrations
away from centers of famine on the
China plains are apparently as old as
Chinese history. During the past 2
thousand years, more than 1,8oo
famines have occurred in various parts
of China. During the second half of
the 19th century, a succession of
severe famines caused the death of

The Chinese moved outward in all
directions. Several million of them
entered Manchuria. Lesser numbers
went to Mongolia.
Migration from southern China had
already shoved large numbers off the
shore and into the sea. Some had
colonized nearby islands, including
Taiwan. Others stayed on the water
and today still live by the tens of
thousands on their boats.
The severity of the famines during
the late I9th century, plus the fresh
fields of opportunity that had been
created by European enterprise and
capital in southeastern Asia, provided
an exceptionally strong impetus to
move to the Southern Ocean. It paid
to migrate as it had never paid before.
More than 12 million Chinese now live
in the non-Chinese lands stretching
from Burma through Indonesia to the
The great flood of Chinese expansion
into the Southern Ocean occurred
soon after its conquest by the Western
World. Politically and economically,
the Chinese migration was as impor-
tant there as was the Western arrival,
for the Chinese are the eternal middle-
men of southeastern Asia.
The Chinese for many years have
taken care of the marketing of most of
the native tobacco, corn, copra, coffee,
rubber, wood, fruit, and so forth in
Chinese have retail stores in cities
throughout the Southern Ocean. It is
said that Chinese control most of the
rice trade in Thailand. They control
the rubber marketing system in Ma-
laya so completely that a saying has
developed that if all the Chinese in the
country simply stayed home one day,
not an ounce of rubber would move
out of the country. In the Philippines
they are moneylenders and brokers
and control two-thirds of the island's
largely agricultural export trade.
The Chinese for a long time have
had a crucial role in the credit system
of southeastern Asian peasants. They
often developed a lending business in a
series of communities and would call

each week at the door of their custom-
ers to offer a loan or collect the install-
ment on one previously given.
The non-Chinese of the Southern
Ocean often resent the success of
Chinese businessmen. Most of the
countries of the area have laws di-
rected against this minority. A law
adopted in the Philippines in 1954, for
example, provided, among other
things, that aliens (Americans ex-
cepted) are prohibited from engaging
directly or indirectly in the retail
trade. Nearly 20 thousand Chinese
retailers were affected. Later legisla-
tion required retail enterprises owned
by Philippine citizens to employ only
Philippine citizens.

THE FIVE great migrations I have re-
viewed are not the only significant
ones in recorded history. Recent lesser
migrations have changed agriculture.
During this century, for example, a
steady trickle of Japanese vegetable
growers has headed for Latin America.
They are a minority of the immigrants
into Latin America, but they have
set an excellent example for the other
Latin American vegetable growers.
Before and after the formation of
Israel, about a million Jews from
around the world settled in the ancient
homeland. Israel was confronted with
the problem of building an agriculture
with people who were willing to farm
but who knew almost nothing about
farming. To compensate for this lack,
they invented a new form of agricul-
tural resource organization, which
they called the kibbutz. The kibbutz
was organized with an individual, or
a few individuals, who knew how to
farm and a large number of individuals
who did not, but who were willing to
contribute their labor and share in
common the fruits of their joint efforts.
The partition of India in 1947 was
followed by the mass transfer of about
16 million people. The distance in-
volved was not far compared to the
other migrations I have mentioned,
but the transfer caused great disrup-
tion of agriculture.

THE AGE of great international migra-
tions seems to have drawn to a close
just as the age of great internal migra-
tion is getting into full swing.
The trend in movement of people
now is toward cities. In the Western
World, the urbanization has been a
phenomenon of the past 150 years,
but in much of the world it is only
recently gaining force.
Most Americans lived in rural areas
before 1920. The urban population
since has been in the majority, and its
relative size has been steadily increas-
ing. A large part of the world's popu-
lation, however, is still rural. About 55
percent of the world's labor force was
engaged in agriculture in 1964.
The development of commercial
agriculture to a large extent made
possible the growth of the cities. At
the same time, the growth of the cities
has been a stimulant to the further
commercialization of agriculture.
Around the world, city populations
are growing faster than rural popula-
tions. By the year 2000, barring some
worldwide disaster, the earth's popu-
lation will be clearly urban oriented.
The need for a highly productive,
commercial agriculture in underde-
veloped parts of the world will become
increasingly urgent as the trend to-
ward urbanization continues. As a
consequence, the role of agriculture
in the technical assistance programs
of the developed world will have to
be increasingly stressed, as will the
importance of agriculture in economic
development programs.

PHILLIPS W. FOSTER joined the staff
of the University of Maryland in i965 as
an associate professor of agricultural eco-
nomics. A specialist in international agri-
culture, his research interests center on the
role of agriculture in developing areas.
He has served with the Department of State
as a consultant on economic development.
He has degrees from Cornell University
and the University of Illinois. He spent 4
years as an extension specialist in agricul-
tural economics and public policy at Michi-
gan State University.



To Be



cousins and offspring of natural, social,
and economic conditions and are linked
so closely that an upset in a locality may
be felt on the other side of the globe.
The one that comes first to mind is
the hazard of drought, flood, cold, in-
sects, diseases, and other elements of
Nature that at times have reduced the
production of food to the point of
famine, as in Bengal in 1943, when
more than a million persons died.
In some regions, such as western
Europe, our Corn Belt, and the Pam-
pas in Argentina, soils and weather are
such that with the employment of
scientific methods, anything approach-
ing a crop failure seldom occurs. In
countries like Denmark and the United
Kingdom, the intensified application
of good practices has brought steady
rises in output per unit of land. In the
United States, Australia, and Canada,
where much of the farming is done in
areas once susceptible to crop failure,
agricultural advances are helping to
obtain increased yields in the years of
intemperate weather that once would
have reduced output sharply.
But in many underdeveloped coun-
tries where technology has made less
headway, the vagaries of weather are
apparent in low and in variable yields
from year to year, and in some coun-
tries-in western Asia, for example-
extremely variable yields continue to

occur because of the adverse weather.
Thus in much of the world, weather
is still a major problem in farming.
Closely connected with weather and
the availability of food are low stand-
ards of living, which have character-
ized agricultural populations through
the centuries. Only within the last
three centuries has the situation im-
proved significantly-and that almost
entirely in industrial countries.
One of the major problems in his-
tory arises when the population on the
land becomes so dense that the average
producer cannot grow enough food to
provide for his family.
An equalizing factor between popu-
lation density and farm output used to
be the high human death rate from
disease and famine. The situation has
changed, however, and the popula-
tion pressure on the land has increased
with the developments of medical
science. Relieving the situation in the
more densely populated countries of
Europe, especially during the i8th
and Igth centuries, were movements
of people off the land to industrial
centers and to new opportunities in
North America, South America, Aus-
tralia, and New Zealand.
No such relief has been available in
most parts of the world, particularly in
mainland China, southern Asia, and
the Middle East. Improvement of the
economic position of the rural popula-
tion is still one of the greatest problems
of underdeveloped and the developed
countries alike.
In the less-developed countries whose
populations are predominantly agri-
cultural, a billion persons, one-third of
the world population, live in rural dis-
tricts. The value of their per capital ag-
ricultural output averages less than
I 0 dollars a year. The per capital
gross domestic product for the agricul-
tural sector of the economy in the less-
developed countries is one-fifth of the
GDP of the nonagricultural sector. In
newly developing countries that have
significant nonagricultural industry,
the per capital GDP for agriculture is
one-fourth to one-third that of the non-

agricultural sector. In the most ad-
vanced industrial countries, the aver-
age per capital GDP for agriculture is
usually little more than one-half of that
for the nonagricultural sector of the
Governments of developing coun-
tries have undertaken the slow and
costly work of raising the efficiency of
peasants and helping them to have a
more active place in a commercial

ONE HANDICAP that becomes apparent
immediately is the damage being done
by natural elements and man to an es-
sential agricultural resource-the land.
The need to eke out an existence has
caused overgrazing, unwise cropping,
the exhaustion of fertility, and the use
of manures as fuel. The exploitation
by continuous cropping of land that
should be fallow, the burning over of
second-growth forests, and the burning
of stubble or fodder after removal of
the grain have ceased entirely in only a
few advanced regions.
Deforestation still proceeds in many
places, and the naked land is open to
the natural forces of erosion that car-
ries away much of its soil.
The immense knowledge we have of
science in agriculture can build up the
land or tear it down. A man and a
machine and a day's time can destroy
the land's usefulness for years.
Strip mining with large earthmoving
equipment, construction of one-story
industrial plants on flat alluvial soil,
modern highways, and the extensive
bulldozing of land for construction of
dwellings, as the population movement
to urban centers continues pellmell in
many parts of the world, denude the
The farmer himself has been partly
to blame. He tends to overlook some
of the destructive consequences re-
sulting from what he judges to be
expedient use of his new machines and
chemicals. The use of custom op-
erators, or employees, more skilled in
operating machinery than agriculture,
for plowing, cultivating, spraying, and

harvesting on a large scale increase
the danger that farmers themselves can
harm the land.
Suitable soil, the right amount of
moisture and sunshine, fertilizers, in-
secticides, and mechanical power and
other equipment are only a part of the
inputs into agricultural production.
There are also essential skills-whether
supplied by the farmer with his own
hands, by other members of his family,
or hired workers-plus planned and
scientific management under con-
stantly changing circumstances.
Application by the modern producer
of scientific knowledge-handed down
from past generations, the result of his
own experience, or the result of com-
paring the results of his own efforts
with those obtained on other farms and
demonstration plots-is a most im-
portant consideration.
The inputs into a modern agricul-
tural production unit are becoming
increasingly costly in many parts of the
world. Land in high-producing regions
tends to become capitalized at levels
that reflect efficient production.
In the most underdeveloped areas,
extensive education, structural changes
in farm credit and marketing, new
roads, housing, and certain utilities
may be necessary before efficient pro-
duction is attained. The investment in
machinery and in management and
skilled labor, if it must be hired or
trained, is expensive. Because suitable
new agricultural land is becoming
scarce and costly and other inputs also
are becoming more and more expen-
sive, the capital investment becomes
more important in the development,
maintenance, and improvement of
commercial farms.

MANY PROBLEMS have arisen in con-
nection with marketing. Some, such
as adjustment to changing world de-
mand, have worsened since the First
World War.
Even before then, however, func-
tioning of the marketing process was
far from perfect. Producers in colonial
countries and major independent agri-


cultural countries claimed that their
products were undergraded, under-
weighed, and underpriced. Railway
cars and ships were not always avail-
able in peak shipping seasons. Freight
rates often contained inequities. In
addition to the state-defined standards
for weights and measures used by
traders since ancient times, there was
a certain amount of market regulation.
Some countries had highly protective
import duties. Some had preferential
duties. Some had preferential trans-
port regulations. Some even had export
To assure value received to agricul-
tural producers, governments provided
for regulation of services to farmers or
registration of certain persons per-
forming agricultural marketing serv-
ices, such as public weighers, graders,
auctioneers, warehousemen, and trad-
ers. They set freight rates to protect
farmers and sometimes set rates for
milling of farm products. They some-
times set quality standards for export
commodities of great importance in a
country's national economy. Some
countries established state monopolies
for domestic buying, milling, export-
ing, and importing some products.
Agricultural products, until trans-
portation comes within easy reach of
the producer, usually are sold locally
for local consumption or to a buyer's
agent at a price that often does not
represent competitive demand in world
market places.
When adequate services and rela-
tively free competition among traders
existed, a definite relationship devel-
oped between the prices of staple farm
products in the export country and the
price in world commodity markets
until 1914.
For example, making allowance for
a rising or declining trend in prices,
the price paid to the American farmer
for wheat and the price at Minne-
apolis-St. Paul bore a constant rela-
tionship to the export contract price.
At the same time, the United States
export price showed a definite rela-
tionship to the cost, insurance, and

freight import price in London, Liver-
pool, Rotterdam, or Hamburg.
Though the foreign demand was
generally strong for farm products
during the 25 years before the First
World War, definite price cycles were
apparent among annual average prices
for major farm products in world
trade; there were wide variations be-
tween lows and highs for the same
commodity; and there were sharp
price changes from one year to another
for the same products.
The United States export price of
wheat declined from 1.03 dollars a
bushel in 1892 to 80 cents in 1893;
that of cottonseed oil declined from
40.8 cents a gallon in 1909 to 6.6 cents
a gallon in 1910. The annual average
export prices of corn ranged between
31 cents and 75 cents a bushel. Up-
land cotton prices ranged from 5.4
cents to 14.48 cents a pound. The
average annual prices of bacon and
ham ranged from 7.5 cents to nearly 14
cents a pound.
Contributing to the uncertainty of
price in the world market were uncer-
tainties as to the volume of a com-
modity that would be purchased in the
world's leading markets or what com-
petition would be encountered.
Contributing to the uncertainty of
the situation in the world market and
uncertainty of farm income were vari-
ations in domestic production. In
Iowa, already the largest corn-pro-
ducing State in the 1890's, farmers
produced a crop of 251.8 million
bushels in 1893, 81.3 million bushels
in 1894, and 321.7 million in 1896.
Seasonal prices varied more than did
the average annual export price for
the same commodity. Average month-
ly prices received by Nebraska pro-
ducers during 1895-1914 for wheat
were 37 cents to I.1o dollars a bushel;
for corn, between o1 cents and 72
cents a bushel; for butter, between 8
and 27 cents a pound.
Many major agricultural exporting
countries went through a much more
grueling experience than did the
United States from the I88o's to 1914.

Countries that depended on exports of
farm products for the gold and foreign
exchange to maintain their economies
became bankrupt. Currencies were
depreciated. Central banks failed.
Industrial development came to a
standstill. Governments were shaken.
Legislation was enacted to encourage
both domestic cooperative marketing
and exports by cooperative pools, and
experimental programs, such as re-
distribution of land, state ownership
of railroads, and payment of bounties
to agricultural producers.
The decline of prices of farm prod-
ucts relative to prices of other products
became a worldwide phenomenon,
particularly between 1920 and 1933.
To offset tendencies that were causing
economic stress and reduced standards
of living, programs initiated before or
during the First World War were re-
assessed and extended to protect agri-
cultural producers.
Governments in the more economi-
cally developed countries generally
took various measures that helped to
raise the income level of agricultural
producers. They specified minimum
prices for farm products. They pur-
chased commodities to support their
prices. They made acreage payments
to producers. They restricted imports
of competitive products. They made
payments to the producers to cover the
difference between prices received by
farmers and a goal price.

PROGRAMS devised as remedies to farm
problems and widely enacted uni-
laterally to cope with the effects of
adverse weather and radical price de-
clines and to give greater economic
security to agriculture and society have
themselves become a major problem
in the handling of many commodities.
Wheat, which vies with cotton as the
most widely traded agricultural com-
modity in world commerce, is also
one of the most widely regulated. It
is regulated in exporting and deficit
countries alike in order to maintain
or stabilize incomes of producers. It
is regulated in nutritionally deficit
712-224 -64-4

countries in the interest of consumers.
In major exporting countries, meas-
ures to stabilize producers' incomes
have arisen out of the uncertainties
respecting yields, prices, and foreign
demand and the increasing costs of
materials needed to produce it. The
measures include government-guaran-
teed prices to producers for certain
specified quantities of wheat or un-
limited quantities, payment of in-
surance or ad hoc grants in case of
reduced size of crop resulting from
adverse weather conditions, purchase
and storage of wheat to support the
price, control of the imports, export
quality control, and the use of bilat-
eral government-to-government sales
Governments in exporting countries
use bilateral agreements among other
methods of assuring export markets.
Australia, for example, has used bilat-
eral agreements to cover much of that
country's commercial wheat and flour
sales abroad. They have been made
with West Germany, Japan, main-
land China, and the Soviet Union. A
"gentlemen's agreement" between
Australian wheat export authorities
and groups controlling the flour in-
dustry in the United Kingdom assures
a market for specified amounts of
Australian wheat at the world market
In the more economically advanced
"wheat-growing deficit countries, pro-
ducers are encouraged by such incen-
tives as a guaranteed market at high
guaranteed prices, subsidization of
production requisites, or other pay-
ments. Millers may be required to mix
homegrown wheat into their flour for
bread. The price they pay for wheat
and the price they charge for bread
may be controlled. Imports may be
subject to high customs duties, vari-
able levies, and price fixing.
High guaranteed prices and govern-
mental control of imports in western
Europe stimulate domestic production
that tends to displace wheat that can
be produced much more efficiently in
oversea countries. The price for do-

mestic wheat per bushel in 1959 (be-
fore the inception of control of agricul-
tural prices by European Economic
Community among member coun-
tries) was 2.86 dollars in Germany and
2.83 in Italy. For the same year, it was
4.xo dollars in Switzerland, 3.43 in
Norway, 2.78 in Japan, and 1.81 in the
United States.
In less-developed countries, subsidi-
zation of wheat production is much
more limited than in the more affluent
countries. Yet there may be many con-
trols, such as governmental purchase
to support the domestic market price,
fixed prices, compulsory planting or
subsidization of production requisites
to encourage increased wheat output,
specified extraction rates, and maxi-
mum retail prices.
Controls over wheat are so complete
in some countries that they amount
virtually to governmental monopoly.
In Norway, for example, the Norwe-
gian Grain Corporation controls im-
ports, exports, and domestic distribu-
tion of wheat, feed grains, and other
feeds. In Canada, the Canadian Wheat
Board buys all homegrown wheat ex-
cept that used for domestic feed and is
the sole wheat importer and exporter.
The common agricultural policy of
the European Economic Community
requires that imports of wheat be sub-
jected to variable import levies so that
imported wheat cannot interfere with
the operation of the administered price
system for wheat grown in European
Economic Community countries.
Most countries of the British Com-
monwealth and some that are no
longer members give preferential tariff
treatment to imports from other Com-
monwealth countries. The United
Kingdom and a few others do not have
duties on wheat imports or do not give
preferential tariff treatment to each
other. Some, however, do give such a
preference on wheat and many give it
on wheat flour. For example, wheat
flour entering the United Kingdom
from Commonwealth sources enters
duty free; flour from Australia and
Canada thus largely has the British

market, because flour from the United
States or Argentina would pay an ad
valorem duty of io percent.
An international wheat agreement
among the principal wheat exporting
and importing countries tends to have
certain short-term stabilizing effects on
the world wheat prices, without inter-
fering with the operation of production
incentives, price supports, or the other
domestic wheat programs.

THE DETAILS I have given at length
about wheat exemplify questions that
pertain to other leading crops and
Should their production and prices
be controlled? How? What is the
effect of our policy of supporting the
domestic prices of cotton, say, on
the production elsewhere? Do pricing
policies restrict consumption-of sugar,
for example? To what degree do the
international agreements interfere with
the marketing of a crop, like tobacco,
on a competitive commercial basis?
What is the effect of import licenses,
duties, and price schemes on trade
in fruit and vegetables?
I could cite many more. They are
considered in later chapters. They
emphasize two salient points: Agri-
cultural production and trade are
tremendously and increasingly com-
plex. We need to bring to the con-
sideration of such questions and
problems a great amount of knowl-
edge, wisdom, fairplay, and humility
to achieve the goal of a decent living
for all people.

EXPANSION OF OUTPUT and adjustments
of production on a scale never before
achieved in most countries will be re-
quired of agriculture before the end of
another decade.
The annual population growth rate
of the world from the end of the Second
World War to 1964 rose from I percent
to 2 percent. Before 1975, at a growth
rate of 2 percent annually, the popula-
tion of the world will increase by about
650 million.
Agriculture is not alone responsible

for provisioning mankind with food
and other products, but it does have a
major role in providing food, fiber, and
other important products. The record
since 1955 points to serious shortcom-
ings in the supply-demand equilibrat-
ing factors. Per capital production from
crop year 1954-1955 to 1963-1964
showed an increase of only 3 percent in
the period, and a decline of 5 percent
in the 5 years 1958-1959 to 1963-1964.
Moreover, the distribution of the in-
crease was uneven by regions and by
The rate of increase in the world ag-
ricultural output from year to year
will have to be increased 50 percent
above that of 1958-1959 to 1963-1964
if it is to keep pace with the rate at
which population is rising. The race
between population growth and ag-
ricultural production is too close for

IT MAY BE presumptuous to say that
famine could not cause starvation in
our time. Major agricultural produc-
ing areas are frequently subject to
weather conditions that sharply re-
duce the level of harvested crops be-
low food requirements.
India, with more than 450 million
people, and other populous countries
of southeastern Asia have historically
been subject to droughts and floods.
Mainland China, whose estimated
population is 650 million, has had seri-
ous droughts and floods since 1959.
The Soviet Union, with 218 million
people, has become more susceptible
to the effects of weather since wheat
growing was extended into the "new
lands" area east of the Urals, which
has variable and low rainfall and short
growing seasons.
Countries of southern Asia would
have had a series of food crises during
1955-1964 had they not drawn heavily
on supplies of wheat in the United
States, Canada, and Australia.

FOREMOST among problems is whether
developing countries, which have had
difficulties with balance of payments

and are heavily populated, can im-
prove their earning capacities to meet
the rising requirements of an unprece-
dented growth in population.
Success requires the development of
agricultural methods suitable to the
natural conditions peculiar to each ag-
ricultural area; construction of fertil-
izer plants and other costly programs,
such as land clearing or irrigation; and
the application by producers of the re-
quired changes in techniques.
Success in the application of im-
proved agricultural production tech-
nology was a major factor in the
changes that occurred in the pattern
of commodity output between 1950
and 1964.
While world wheat output increased
by 19 percent and rice 32 percent,
corn production rose 43 percent. In-
creases in the production of such
tropical oilseed products as palm oil,
coconut oil, and palm kernel were
small. The production of peanuts,
largely in underdeveloped countries,
and olive oil somewhat outpaced the
growth in population. The production
of soybeans increased 50 percent,
largely in the United States.
Production of cash crops for export
in underdeveloped countries were gen-
erally subject to better farm manage-
ment and cultural practices than crops
grown in the same countries largely
for domestic use. Thus, for example,
the output of tea rose 47 percent;
cocoa, 52 percent; coffee, 64 percent;
and sisal, 66 percent.
The total increase in agricultural
output has been greatest in countries
that were becoming increasingly in-
dustrialized and could purchase food
and other farm products in the world
market to meet deficits due to in-
creasing populations and rising indus-
trial activity.
The increase in per capital farm out-
put from 1954 to 1964 was 15 percent
in West Germany, 17 percent in
France, 18 percent in the United King-
dom, 34 percent in Austria, and 43
percent in Japan.
On the other hand, in nutritionally

deficit and underdeveloped countries,
which have had serious balance-of-
payment problems, the increases in
per capital production were slight. In
Latin America and northern Africa as
a whole and in several African coun-
tries south of the Sahara, per capital
output in 1963-1964 was no higher
than in 1953-1954.
Per capital agricultural output in
1963-1964 was below the 1935-1939
level in Afghanistan, Burma, Cambo-
dia, Ceylon, Indonesia, Laos, Pakistan,
South Vietnam, and Taiwan, and
only 3 percent above 1935-1939 in
Significant price changes for farm
products occurred in the fifties and
early sixties that affected both import-
ing and exporting countries. Some
such changes accompanied the disturb-
ances to markets at the time of the
Korean war and interruption of traffic
through the Suez Canal.
Decline in the world price of farm
products of all types, food, beverages,
fibers, and raw materials, such as vege-
table oils for nonfood purposes and
natural rubber, amounted to 24 per-
cent from 1951 to 1955 and 15 percent
from 1957 to 196I.
The prices of some commodities,
such as sugar, coffee, and cocoa,
showed sharp year-to-year fluctuations
in the fifties and often necessitated
adjustment in a country's economy.
The prices of many products vitally
important in the export trade of under-
developed countries continued to show
sharp declines between 1957 and 1962.
The world price of cocoa declined by
46 percent, coffee by 33 percent, sugar
by 25 percent.
What avenues should be taken to
protect the interests of producers and
consumers in production, pricing, and
marketing of farm products?
Should countries declare their con-
trols to be an essential mechanism to
defend their industries against the prob-
lems of production and aggressive
agricultural policies of other countries?
The result could be controls so com-
plete that production and trade would

be determined not by economic utili-
zation of resources but by a govern-
ment's administrative ability to control
imports and financial ability to subsi-
dize domestic production and exports.
The dangers inherent in the present
situation are reflected by the many pro-
posals advanced during 1954-1964 that
nations ameliorate conflicting agricul-
tural policies by joint action.
Yet countries feel strongly the urge to
continue their efforts on a national basis
to protect producers and consumers
from such vagaries as drought, extreme
price fluctuation, and ad hoc protec-
tionist action of other countries.
Thewelfare of producers, traders, and
consumers is involved in such inter-
national programs as regional economic
integration, commodity agreements,
reciprocal reduction of trade barriers,
and economic assistance to underde-
veloped countries and in such national
programs as those for advancement of
resource development and conserva-
tion, crop insurance, and farm credit.
The development of agricultural re-
sources in line with the most economic
utilization of those resources should not
be forgotten in any reorientation of
national or international programs.
At the same time, if we are to achieve
output needed for the future world
population, programs must encourage
maximum utilization of private capital
and individual production incentives.
Much can be done along these lines
in view of the greatly improved com-
munication techniques and the knowl-
edge and skills being developed in pro-
duction, marketing, and use of infor-
mation on future demand for farm
products arising from population
growth, urbanization, and changes in

MONTELL OGDON is an international
agricultural economist in the Economic Re-
search Service. Before joining the Depart-
ment of Agriculture in 1939, he was an
assistant in the College of Agriculture,
University of Illinois; a Carnegie fellow at
the University of California; and a profes-
sor at Texas Tech University.


Nutritional Status

of the World


PEOPLE must be well fed if they are to
be healthy, productive, happy, and
secure. Millions of people do not have
enough to eat, and so problems of
food supplies and nutrition must be
attacked on an international scale.
The first step in solving the problems
is to define and assess them-to deter-
mine the extent and severity of mal-
nutrition in the world.
One avenue is through estimates of
the kinds and amounts of foods con-
sumed in different countries and the
extent to which the diets meet the
nutritional needs of the people.
These food balances-supplies of
food balanced against the populations
to be fed-are developed by the Food
and Agriculture Organization of the
United Nations as a part of its con-
tinuing study of the state of food and
agriculture. They are prepared also
by the Department of Agriculture to
measure the world's food resources.
Food balances are developed for
each commodity on the basis of domes-
tic production, imports, exports, and
changes in stocks to get the supply
available for all uses. From that total
are deducted amounts used for feed,
seed, and industrial purposes and es-
timated waste. The remainder, rep-
resenting amounts for human con-
sumption, is divided by the number of
persons in the population to give per

capital consumption of each type of
food. Estimates of the calories, protein,
and other nutrients available for
consumption can then be made.
Seldom are food balances models of
precision. The basic data are incom-
plete, unreliable, or lacking in some
countries, and estimates must be based
on fragmentary information. Also,
population statistics for many coun-
tries are unsatisfactory. Food balances
nevertheless serve reasonably well to
indicate variations in dietary patterns
and levels of consumption and to
measure changes over time.
A comparison of food balances
prepared by the Department of Agri-
culture for more than 80 countries
reveals some sharp differences. For
example, some countries rely heavily
on grain products and other starchy
foods. Those items are much less im-
portant in other countries, where
people eat more meat and other costlier
foods. The calories per person per day
may range from fewer than 2 thousand
to more than 3 thousand. The con-
sumption of total protein may vary
from less than 50 grams to more than
Ioo grams per person per day. The
consumption of fat varies even more.
It is more meaningful, however, to
evaluate the food available per person
within one country in terms of the
calories and amounts of nutrients the
food provides as compared to amounts
needed to maintain normal health and
activity in the country.
In the Department's study, The
World Food Budget, 1962 and 1966
(Foreign Agricultural Economic Re-
port No. 4, October 1961), nutritional
reference standards were established
for calories, protein, and fat as being
major indicators of dietary levels.
Reference standards for calories for
major regions were based on require-
ments as developed by the Food and
Agriculture Organization in the Sec-
ond World Food Survey for 36 coun-
tries. The requirements take into ac-
count environmental temperature,
body weights, and the distribution by
age and sex of the national popula-


tions. Reference standards used by the
Department of Agriculture varied from
2,710 Calories in Canada and the
Soviet Union to 2,300 in the Far East
and Communist Asia.
The reference standard for total pro-
tein was set at 60 grams per person per
day. Some attention also was given to
the sources of protein. Nutritional
needs for protein can be met by foods
of vegetable origin if they are com-
bined in rather exact proportions so
that the shortages of amino acids-the
components of proteins-in the staple
food are made good by those in other
kinds of foods. Protein needs are much
more likely to be met, however, if some
foods of animal origin are included in
the diet. Some of the better plant
sources, such as dry beans, peas, and
nuts, also help to safeguard protein
The reference standard for animal
protein based on 10 to 15 percent of
total protein was set at a minimum of
7 grams-the approximate amount in
an ounce of cheese or one egg or one
frankfurter. An additional io grams of
protein from pulses (peas and beans)
was specified also, or, if animal pro-
tein exceeded 7 grams, enough from
pulses to bring the total to 17 grams.
The amount of fat required for a
nutritionally adequate diet is not well
defined. The reference standard we
adopted was the amount of fat that
would provide 15 percent of the refer-
ence calories. This level was based on
judgment as to what might be a rea-
sonable nutritional "floor."
The approximate nature of these ref-
erence standards should be empha-
sized. Although stated as fixed figures
for purposes of calculations, knowledge
of human requirements does not pro-
vide a basis for such precise averages.

SET AGAINST these standards, the food
balances of many countries reveal diets
that are adequate and even more than
adequate on the average. Among them
are the United States, Canada, Aus-
tralia, and New Zealand, all of which
have large land resources and a mod-

ern and mechanized agriculture and
produce food in export abundance.
Also included are Europe, the Soviet
Union, and the southern parts of
South America and Africa.
In short, the industrialized countries,
which have one-third of the world's
population, have the science, technol-
ogy, financial resources, and manage-
rial ability to command the food sup-
plies needed for good nutrition.
Some 70 countries, including most of
Asia, Africa, and Latin America, have
food supplies that are deficient in one
or more nutrients, and many lack
sufficient calories. Here live 2 billion
people, two-thirds of the world total.
Some of the more severe deficits in
consumption per person occur in Af-
rica and Latin America.
Because of the far larger numbers of
people and greater density of popula-
tion, however, the Far East and Com-
munist Asia constitute the center of
the world food problem. This becomes
clear when deficits in daily per capital
consumption of calories, protein, and
fat of each country are translated into
tons of specific foodstuffs necessary to
meet the deficits for the entire popula-
tion for a whole year.
The essential nutrients are available
in a wide variety of foodstuffs, but for
convenience and ease of understanding
it is useful to express the deficits in
terms of a few widely known and used
foods. Thus deficits in animal protein
can be expressed in terms of nonfat dry
milk and those in pulse protein in
terms of dry beans and peas. Deficits
in other protein and calories can be
converted to tons of wheat, and those
in fat to tons of vegetable oils.
With allowances for increases in
population and likely changes in pro-
duction, trade, and consumption, a
world food budget for 1966 shows that
additional quantities of foodstuffs
would be needed in all the countries in
which diets are less than adequate to
meet the nutritional standards equiva-
lent to 29 million metric tons of wheat,
3 million tons of vegetable oil, 1.6
million tons of nonfat dry milk, and

165 thousand tons of dry beans and
The non-Communist Far East has
two-thirds of the projected wheat
shortage and nearly half of the short-
ages in animal and pulse proteins and
fats. This region accounts for 42 per-
cent of the population of the diet-def-
icit regions and has 60 percent of the
overall food deficit. Communist Asia
accounts for most of the rest of the
animal protein and fat shortages and
more than io percent of the wheat
The deficits as calculated are on an
annual basis after an allowance for
consumption of foodstuffs provided
under the Food for Peace program.
On an overall basis, they represent
only about 2 percent of the value of
world agricultural production. This
appears at first glance to be an amount
of modest dimensions-merely 2 per-
cent. The world's farmers increase
production this much and more (2.4
percent) from one year to the next.
But (and here is the rub) the world's
population increases nearly as fast as
the gain in production. Farm produc-
tion increased more rapidly in 1954-
1964 than ever before, but so did
Thus gains in production per person
come slowly, and the slight increase
that was made over the past quarter
century occurred principally in regions
where diets already were adequate.
No improvement is registered in the
70 countries where diets are deficient,
yet it is there that gains must be made.
Seen in the light of other compari-
sons, to produce or to buy the addi-
tional foodstuffs that represent the
nutritional deficits poses a challenge
of no small proportions. Twenty-nine
million tons of wheat, for example, is
more than 6 percent of the production
of all cereals in diet-deficit areas.
It about equals the amount of all
cereals imported annually by these
countries in recent years, and it is
not far short of the level of carryover
wheat stocks built up in the United
States over a period of years.

The prospects of doubling imports of
food grains are not bright because
most of the countries have foreign ex-
change problems and lack substantial
industry to produce for export. Their
economies are mostly agricultural, and
the agriculture is not highly produc-
tive. Their arable land is limited and
population is dense. Farms are small,
methods are backward, and yields and
output are low.
Undernutrition, or too little food to
give needed calories, exists in all coun-
tries, even in the United States. The
fact that a country's food supply pro-
vides enough calories per capital to
meet the nutrition reference standard
means only that. Averages assume
values below as well as values above,
but in those countries with calorie
averages below reference levels, one
can expect to find widespread under-
nutrition as well as malnutrition.
Although nutritional needs can be
met by many different combinations of
foods, it is agreed generally that diets
in which more than two-thirds of
the calories are derived from cereals,
starchy roots, and sugars are likely to
be of poor nutritional quality, espe-
cially if the staple foods are largely
cassava, bananas, sweetpotatoes, or
highly milled corn or rice. The pro-
portion of calories from them and from
sugar in some developing countries
is as high as 75 to 85 percent, whereas
in well-fed countries it is more like 40
to 50 percent.
The amount and sources of protein
in a country's food supply is another
clue to dietary adequacy. In the World
Food Budget, nearly half of the coun-
tries had food providing less than the
reference standard, 60 grams of total
protein per person per day. Of these,
9 countries had less than 7 grams from
animal sources and 13 had less than
17 grams of protein from animal foods
and pulses combined. These protein-
deficient countries were in the same
three areas of the world where calories
were short-Latin America, Africa,
and the Far East.
Diets in many countries are low in

fat or oil. The reference standard, the
amount to provide at least 15 percent of
the reference calories, amounted to 36
to 42 grams of fat per person per day.
That equals aboutthree tablespoons of
oil. Twenty-four countries and Com-
munist Asia had less than this amount
of fat in their food supplies. In two
countries of the Far East, the average
quantity was only half as much as the
reference standard.
The nutritional significance of such
low-fat diets is not known, nor is there
a scientific basis for setting an opti-
mum level of fat in the diet. Some fat
is needed to furnish essential fatty
acids and to aid in the absorption of
fat-soluble vitamins. From a practical
viewpoint, a moderate amount of fat
in diets is advantageous. Because they
are so concentrated, fats contribute
needed calories without much bulk.
It is not surprising that many of the
countries with food supplies low in fat
were also low in calories.

IN THE BETTER FED countries where
food supplies are ample in kind and
amount to provide for nutritional
needs of the population, severe under-
nutrition and malnutrition are the
exception rather than the rule. Never-
theless, with freedom to buy foods of
their choice, except when limited by
low incomes, many people make poor
selections and end up with diets low in
essential nutrients.
In the United States, for example,
many individuals have in their meals
less than recommended amounts of one
or more nutrients, especially calcium,
ascorbic acid, and vitamin A. Others
may be short in thiamine and ribo-
flavin. Clear-cut cases of deficiency
diseases, such as pellagra or scurvy,
are seldom seen, but wiser food choices
would mean the attainment of much
higher levels of health and vitality.
A more serious problem in the better
fed countries is that of overnutrition or
excessive calories in relation to need.
The result is overweight. Part of it
may be ascribed to the relatively high
consumption of fat. Fat, a concen-

treated source of food energy, provides
more than twice as many calories per
unit of weight as protein and carbo-
hydrate. It is estimated that about 25
percent of residents of the United
States are overweight to a degree that
is considered a health hazard.
There is evidence that the kind and
amount of fat in the diet may be a
contributing factor in cardiovascular
disease, one of the most frequent causes
of death in the United States, in much
of Europe, and in well-to-do groups in
other countries. Thus malnutrition re-
sulting from too many calories or a
poor balance of food sources of calories
can be just as serious in terms of life
expectancy as undernutrition.

WITH TOO LITTLE food-too few
calories-for long periods, the body
adapts to a lower plane of existence by
conserving expenditure of energy. For
adults, that means a loss of weight,
lower physical activity, and conse-
quently less output of work. Poor
physical stamina coupled with low
income, limited technical knowledge,
and perhaps lack of water or fertile
soil are basic causes of food shortages.
A cycle of cause and effect operates
to perpetuate the situation.
When children have too little food
or the wrong kinds, growth and de-
velopment are affected and general
health is impaired. A greater suscepti-
bility to disease is a natural con-
comitant. Malnutrition among young
children is especially serious. It is
largely responsible for the high mor-
tality rate, which for children I to 4
years old, is said to be up to 40 times
greater in some of the developing
areas than in the United States or
other economically well-off countries.
A shortage of protein, as well as
calories, is common in the postwean-
ing period, when the child may be
given a starchy gruel low in protein.
It is especially common in places
where cassava and yams are the staple
foods. Sometimes a better diet may be
available, but the mother continues
these poor feeding practices because of

tradition and from lack of knowledge.
Protein-calorie malnutrition of chil-
dren is perhaps the most serious and
widespread deficiency disease in the
world. In its severe form, known as
kwashiorkor in some areas, it exists
in most of the food-deficit countries
of the Far East, the Middle East,
Africa, and Latin America. Charac-
teristics of the disease include growth
failure, muscular wasting, edema,
skin and hair changes, mental apathy,
liver damage, anemia, and sometimes
associated infections. If diets are not
improved, the rate of mortality may
be high.
Deficiencies of other nutrients in
the diet also leave their mark on the
nutritional status of people, adults as
well as children. This is to be expected
with diets so high in cereals and starchy
roots and so low in dairy products,
eggs, meat and fish, fruit, pulses, and

urement of nutritional status around
the world is being made under the
program of the Interdepartmental
Committee on Nutrition for National
The committee was established in
1955 to assist countries in which the
United States has a special interest to
identify and assess nutritional prob-
lems of the people and to help them
use their resources to best advantage
in solving their problems.
When a country requests it, a sur-
vey mission of American specialists
assesses the nutritional health of pop-
ulation groups through dietary studies,
clinical examinations, and biochemical
measurements. Working side by side
with their counterparts in the host
countries, the specialists also study
the quality and availability of the food
supply with a view to recommending
measures for its improvement.
The committee's teams by 1963 had
completed nutrition surveys in eight
countries in the Far East, four in the
Near East, eight in South America and
Central America, two in northern

Africa, and one each in the West Indies
and Spain.
The surveys have underscored simi-
larities in the nutrition problems of
different countries. Besides protein-
calorie malnutrition of young children,
certain other deficiencies are widely
Endemic goiter (enlargement of the
thyroid gland) is common in sections of
food-deficit countries and in many
other countries. Its prevalence is asso-
ciated with insufficient intake of io-
dine, which is unevenly distributed in
food and water and generally is more
abundant near a seacoast.
Endemic goiter occurs to some extent
in the United States and Canada. It
has been a serious public health prob-
lem in most of the countries in Central
America, South America, and the Far
East. A large goiter belt extends some
1,500 miles across the north of India,
where the incidence varies from 29
percent in one district to more than
40 percent in another.
Goitrous areas also exist in Thailand,
Burma, and other countries in that
part of the world. In a small village in
Vietnam, for example, 34 percent of
the individuals examined by scientists
of the committee's survey team had
thyroid enlargement. The proportion
exceeded 50 percent for females under
15 years and was more than 60 percent
for pregnant and lactating women.
Endemic goiter can be controlled
through the use of iodized salt. Many
countries have adopted legislation re-
quiring iodization of salt, but prob-
lems of production and distribution of
iodized salt to needy areas remain to be
solved in some countries.
Evidence of riboflavin deficiency was
a common finding in the nutrition sur-
veys conducted by the committee. Ri-
boflavin deficiency is associated with
diets low in milk, meat, green vege-
tables, and legumes.
In the United States, nearly half of
the riboflavin in the average diet comes
from milk and milk products, and one-
fourth from meat, fish, and eggs. In
countries where those foods are not

available to most of the people, short-
ages of riboflavin and of other nutri-
ents they provide are common.
Vitamin A deficiency in its most se-
vere form, xerophthalmia, is a princi-
pal cause of preventable blindness in
some countries in southern and eastern
Asia. It is especially prevalent among
children under 5 years and often is as-
sociated with protein malnutrition in
this age group. If untreated, vitamin A
deficiency may lead to blindness or
In Malaya, half the cases of blindness
are said to be due to vitamin A defi-
ciency. It is considered the commonest
cause of preventable blindness in In-
dia. Reports from Indonesia indicate
that perhaps thousands of small chil-
dren die or go blind every year because
of lack of vitamin A along with a gen-
erally poor diet. Among contributing
causes may be the poor nutritional
status of the mother during pregnancy
and lactation, a diet low in vitamin A
following weaning, poor absorption of
vitamin A or of carotene because of
limited dietary fat or intestinal disturb-
ances, and possibly because of other
dietary shortages affecting metabolism
of vitamin A.
Food sources of preformed vitamin
A, such as egg yolk, whole milk, and
liver, usually are not available to the
groups affected. Yet many excellent
sources of provitamin A (carotene),
such as red palm oil and leafy vege-
tables, are available but are not given
to young children.

FOR MANY COUNTRIES at least fragmen-
tary information is available about the
nutrition problems that need attention.
Even within a country the problems
may differ among specific areas or
among different segments of the popu-
lation. In general, the most seriously
malnourished are the so-called vulner-
able groups-mothers during the re-
productive period and young children.
Families everywhere with incomes
barely adequate to sustain life show
evidence of malnutrition and too little

Despite the similarity of nutrition
problems around the world, efforts to
improve diets and nutritional health
must be developed separately for each
country or perhaps for areas within
Planning must take into account the
particular characteristics of the area
and the people; the general economic
level, agricultural resources, and capac-
ity to increase or modify food produc-
tion and to process, preserve, and
distribute needed food; and the cul-
tural aspects of food habits, including
traditional practices.
Many disciplines are involved in the
complex problem of improving diets.
Specialists in agriculture, economics,
food technology and nutrition, public
health, and education all have a part
in bringing about a situation where
enough of the right kinds of food is
available to all groups of people.
Cooperative effort is needed from
the cabinet level to the rural commu-
nity, where plans to improve diets may
include home production of certain
kinds of foods, child feeding projects,
or even the provision of adequate
water supplies.
Everywhere there is need for educa-
tion in agricultural methods, sanitation
and public health, homemaking, and
the feeding and care of young children.
Progress will be slow because of the
enormity of the problem, but much
has already been accomplished. Lead-
ers in many countries are taking the
initiative in attacking the problems of
food and nutritional health. With the
help of international agencies and
other government and nongovernment
groups, important developments are
taking place.
Since its founding in 1945, the Food
and Agriculture Organization has
completed more than 2 thousand tech-
nical missions to help increase food
production. The programs emphasize
expansion of agriculture where fea-
sible, better farming practices to im-
prove crop yields, and control of
animal diseases and destructive pests.
The program in India includes ex-

panded fisheries, poultry keeping, milk
production, and the growing of more
legumes, fruit, and other protective
foods. Demonstrations of food produc-
tion are given in some districts as a
practical kind of education in nutri-
Fish farming, developed in Thailand
and other countries with the assistance
of Food and Agriculture Organization
experts, has provided a source of
dietary protein of good quality for
many people for whom meat, milk,
and eggs are not available.
A vigorous agricultural program car-
ried out in Mexico by the government
in cooperation with the Rockefeller
Foundation has brought about a sub-
stantial increase in food production,
partly by obtaining much larger crop
yields. The result is a more varied diet
with more animal protein foods and
higher calorie levels for many Mexi-
In Taiwan, rice enrichment for the
armed forces was started in 1958 at
the recommendation of one group of
the Interdepartmental Committee on
Nutrition for National Defense. Nutri-
ents added by enrichment include
thiamine, a deficiency of which causes
beriberi. In some rice-eating countries,
other measures are taken by the gov-
ernment to prevent beriberi, such as
the production of parboiled rice or
control of the extent of milling to re-
tain some of the thiamine.
A food cannery in Iran was modern-
ized with technical assistance from the
International Cooperation Adminis-
tration. This plant made possible a
supply of canned meat, fruit, and vege-
tables for the armed forces and civil-
ians. This and many other activities
contributing to improved nutrition in
Iran were stimulated by the medical
nutrition survey of the interdepart-
mental committee.

DEVELOPMENT of suitable sources of
protein that will help to improve low-
protein diets has challenged nutrition
research workers and food technolo-
gists the world over.

A number of products have been
developed and tested for biological
effectiveness and human acceptability.
Some are in use in special feeding pro-
grams. Although ways of solving the
problem will differ, the principles are
the same. For long-term planning,
locally available sources of protein
must be found that are nutritionally
effective, low in cost, and acceptable to
people. Equally important are plans
for getting the foods to the people who
need them most.
School feeding programs have been
established in many countries. Meals
at school offer a way of providing milk
and other nutritious foods to a needy
group and encourage the development
of good food habits.
The full potential of school feeding
programs will be reached only when
sufficient funds, food, and equipment
are available and when there are
enough trained personnel to conduct
the program.
In all countries there is great need for
more professional workers-physicians,
nurses and other health workers, nutri-
tionists, teachers-with knowledge of
foods and nutrition. Consequently,
expanded opportunities for training
are provided by United Nations agen-
cies, nongovernment organizations,
and other groups.
Educational programs that actually
reach families are an important objec-
tive. In the last analysis, it is only
through better meals eaten in the
homes of the country that nutritional
improvement of the population will
occur. Special knowledge and skills
for this kind of teaching are needed by
extension workers in home economics,
welfare and health workers, and the

ESTHER F. PHIPARD is Chief of the
Diet Appraisal Branch, Consumer and
Food Economics Research Division, Agri-
cultural Research Service.
RILEY H. KIRBY became Assistant
Chief of the Far East Branch, Regional
Analysis Division, Economic Research
Service, in 1958.

World Sources

of Protein


PROTEINS are the scarcest and most ex-
pensive of all our foodstuffs; millions of
people in the world have never had the
amount or the quality of proteins they
need for nutritional well-being.
Proteins are present in every animal
and plant cell, and they have to be
made by living cells. All proteins
come directly or indirectly from plants,
which combine nitrogen, hydrogen,
oxygen, and carbon from soil, air, and
water as they grow to make these vital
People and animals cannot use such
simple materials and must get protein
from plants or other animals. Once
eaten, the proteins are digested into
smaller units and rearranged to form
the many special and distinct proteins
of the body tissues. These are basic
substances in all the body's muscles,
organs, skin, hair, and other tissues.
Proteins are made up of different
combinations of 22 simpler nitrogen-
containing materials, the amino acids.
Eight are classed as essential or indis-
pensable because they must be sup-
plied to the animal body in readymade
form. The other amino acids are also
essential for body tissues and functions,
but the body can build them from
carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitro-
gen furnished by food.
The value of any food in meeting the
body's needs for protein depends on

the amount and assortment of amino
acids, especially the essential ones.
Also important is the ability of the
body to digest and metabolize the
food, and what and how much protein
the food supplies in relation to what
and how much protein the body needs.
The amount of protein needed for
health depends chiefly on the person's
age, whether or not he is growing or
otherwise forming new tissue, and on
the adequacy of his supply of energy.
Supplying energy needs takes priority
over all other uses of food. When
there is a shortage of energy sources,
proteins are used for that purpose, and
their amino acids will not be avail-
able for maintaining body tissues.
In the United States and Canada,
animal products provide two-thirds of
the protein in human food. The pro-
teins in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and
dairy products are ideal for human
consumption. They are palatable and
are nutritionally complete, as they
comprise adequate amounts of each of
the eight indispensable amino acids. In
fact, gelatin, which is deficient in cer-
tain amino acids, is the only protein
from animals that is nutritionally in-
complete with respect to amino acids.
There are about 6 billion head of
livestock and poultry in the world-
about two animals for every human
being-but the distribution is far from
uniform. The world has slightly more
than three times as many people as
cattle, but major livestock countries,
such as Argentina and New Zealand,
have about two and one-half times as
many cattle as people. Densely popu-
lated countries like Pakistan, Burma,
Thailand, Ceylon, and Cambodia may
have four to six times as many people
as cattle.
It is said often that in densely popu-
lated countries people and animals
may actually compete for proteins:
The supply of feed and food there is
such that the conversion of plant prod-
ucts to nutritious animal products by
animals is too expensive, and animals
are too inefficient in converting feed to

Animal scientists, however, have
made great strides in lowering the feed-
to-food ratio, particularly in chickens
and swine.
Under efficient management condi-
tions, the following pounds of feed are
required to produce I pound of animal
gain or product: Milk, I.o; broilers,
2.3; eggs, 3.1; turkeys, 3.5; swine, 3.6;
beef, 8.0; and lamb, 8.7. Thus the effi-
cient producer can expect a pound of
milk from each pound of feed and a
pound of live-weight broiler per 2.3
pounds of feed. He must use 8 pounds
of feed to produce I pound of live-
weight gain as beef. Since poultry
dresses out much higher than cattle, the
price of steak naturally is much higher
than the price of dressed chicken.
Scientists have determined the pro-
tein-conversion efficiency for the same
products-the amount of protein ani-
mals require in their feed to make a
pound of crude or total protein in the
animal product.
Thus, the pounds of protein required
are: Milk, 3.9; eggs, 4.1; broilers, 4.6;
turkeys, 6.2; pork, 7.1; beef, 1o.o; and
lamb, I2.5. That range is as great as
the feed-conversion efficiency; the
protein-conversion efficiency of the
livestock classes falls almost in the
same order.
The figures indicate that in milk,
eggs, and broilers, under good manage-
ment, we get I pound of protein for the
investment of about 4 pounds of
protein in the feed. For a pound of
protein in beefsteak or lamb chops,
however, we must invest two and one-
half to three times that much protein.
These comparisons must be qualified
in several respects. The crude protein
of the feed is determined by analyzing
for total nitrogen and multiplying by
the factor 6.25, which gives a good
measure of protein. But this method
measures all the protein, much of
which would not be digestible by
people. In fact, animals can utilize
only 30 to 95 percent of the total
protein in feeds, the percentage de-
pending on the digestibility of the
feedstuffs used. Furthermore, we must

keep in mind that the animal uses
protein for maintenance as well as for
growth or production of meat, eggs,
and other products. The conversion
ratios would be higher when manage-
ment conditions are not efficient-
when animals have poor rations or
forage for themselves and get little
supplemental feed, as they do in
many feed-deficient countries.
Ruminant animals, such as cattle
and sheep, can convert a combination
of carbohydrates and synthetic nitro-
gen compounds to proteins. In fact,
nearly one-third of the nitrogen re-
quirements in the ration of fattening
cattle may be supplied in the form of
urea. In the ordinary feeds, however,
nitrogen occurs mostly as proteins.
The ability to use nonprotein nitrogen
therefore is not thought to be of any
great importance when a balanced
ration is fed.
We must conclude that large differ-
ences in feed and protein conversion
exist among animal classes and prod-
ucts. With even the most efficient
conversion, however, approximately 4
pounds of crude protein are required
to produce I pound of animal protein.
Some of this crude protein could
not otherwise be converted to human
use. Finally, in most countries only
animals can harvest vast rangelands,
woodlands, and wastelands. Also,
many plant residues occur as the by-
products of the harvested crops. Even
though conversion rates may be
unfavorable, grazing is the only means
of utilizing much of these resources.

SOCIAL, RELIGIOUS, and dietary cus-
toms of some countries may reduce the
consumption of animal proteins.
India, for instance, pooling cattle
and water buffaloes, is estimated to
have about one-half animal per person,
about the same as the cattle-human
ratio in the United States. Since
many of these animals are unclaimed
and wander about the countryside,
statistics are not accurate. Some esti-
mates have been as high as one animal
per person.

Even with the large numbers of
cattle and buffaloes, animal foods
make up a small part of the Indian
diet. Bullocks are a major source of
farm and transport power. More im-
portant is the opposition to slaughter
of cattle dictated by religious doctrines.
The reluctance to slaughter cattle is
an outgrowth of the great famines
during the rule of the Mongol em-
perors in the 14th century, when deci-
mation of breeding stock was threat-
ened. It was incorporated into the
Hindu religious philosophy and persists
today. Slaughter of cattle is prohibited
by law in more than half of the 15
Indian States. As a consequence, India
is largely a country of vegetarians, and
consumption of animal products is re-
stricted chiefly to dairy products and

FISH also are a major source of animal
proteins. About three-quarters of the
annual catch of 41 million metric tons
is used for human consumption. On a
world basis, this amounts to 22 pounds
per person, in comparison with 20.5
pounds of beef and 20.3 of pork.
Fish flour, sometimes called fish
protein concentrate, has received in-
creased international interest. It con-
sists of finely ground whole fish and is
used as a food additive. It is said to be
the world's cheapest, most abundant,
and biologically richest source of ani-
mal protein. It contains up to 95 per-
cent protein, and all of the essential
amino acids occur in adequate quan-
tity. With present systems of process-
ing, however, the meal is not accept-
able for human food in some countries
because it includes the offal of the fish.

PLANT PROTEINS, particularly in the
Western World, have long been con-
sidered poor relatives of the animal
Advances in dietary research and de-
velopment of refined analytical tech-
niques have done much to clarify the
situation. First, the concentration of
proteins varies greatly among plants
and plant parts. Secondly, plant pro-

teins vary greatly in nutritional qual-
ity, which is determined by the ratio or
balance of the eight essential amino
acids required by people.
Most of the people in the world are
fed by relatively few major crop plants.
These crops may be grouped into six
general classes: Cereals (rice, wheat,
and corn); sugar plants (sugarcane and
sugarbeet); root crops (potatoes, sweet
potatoes, and cassava); tree crops
(banana and coconut); oilseed legumes
(soybeans and peanuts); and pulses
(dry beans and peas, chickpeas, and
broadbeans). If high yields of cotton
can be combined with the newly dis-
covered glandless (gossypolfree) genet-
ic characteristic, cottonseed also may
become a major source of food.
Rice illustrates the importance of
these crops in human nutrition. It has
been estimated that at least 60 percent
of the energy of half the people in the
world is derived from, rice. More than
30 percent of all human energy on this
globe therefore comes from one crop.
Because cereals as a group are the
most widely grown crops for human
food, they probably contribute as
much vegetable protein to the human
diet as all other crops combined. But
their protein concentration is not high.
Rice has a protein content of 7.5 per-
cent; wheat, 13 percent; and corn, 9.5
The man of average weight requires
about 70 grams of protein a day. If he
were to get it from rice, he would need
to eat more than 2 pounds daily. He
would need .75 pounds of corn or 1.25
pounds of wheat.
The sugar crops, sugarcane and
sugarbeet, are processed almost en-
tirely for sugar, which contains no
protein when refined. The residues,
sugarcane bagasse and sugarbeet pulp,
contain protein, but they are not used
for human food. Sugar that is pro-
duced by noncentrifugal means usually
is consumed in an unrefined condition
and is sticky and doughy. The prod-
uct, known as gur in India, panela in
Latin America, and jaggery in Africa,
contains small amounts of proteins as

impurities, but they are not of dietary
Potatoes, sweetpotatoes, and cassava
are largely starch crops. Cassava is
grown only in tropical and subtropical
countries. The processed product with
which we are most familiar is tapioca.
On a fresh basis, both types of potatoes
contain only about 2 percent protein;
cassava roots contain even less. In
fact, to supply the required 70 grams of
protein, a man would need to eat 8
pounds of potatoes or 25 pounds of
processed tapioca.
The protein concentration in ba-
nanas is low and is similar to cas-
sava root in this regard. Coconut, on a
dry-weight basis, is similar to rice in
total protein content.
We should not infer that those major
crops that are low in protein are un-
desirable food. Most are important
sources of energy-rich starches, and
many contain important mineral con-
stituents of the diet.

OILSEEDS in general are first-rate
sources of protein. The protein con-
tents of most oilseeds are much higher
than in cereals. Many varieties of soy-
beans contain more than 40 percent
protein, peanuts fall in the range of 25
to 30 percent, and cottonseed contains
about 16 to 18 percent.
Extraction of oil and removal of
seedcoats concentrate the protein in
the remaining oilmeal and oilcake. The
protein in the meal and flour produced
therefrom exceeds 50 percent. Concen-
trates that contain 72 to 74 percent
protein, which is higher than that in
meat on a dry-weight basis, can be
made through additional processing.
High-protein soybean concentrates
have been used to supplement diets in
countries where nutrition is inade-
quate. One cup of soybean concen-
trate, approximately I70 grams, will
supply the daily requirements of pro-
tein, vitamins, and minerals for an
average adult.
The quality of protein in the oilseed
crops generally is good. All are slightly
lower than ideal in methionine. The

quality of protein in soybeans, how-
ever, compares favorably with that of
animal products.
Dry beans and peas are a major
source of food throughout the world.
All of the edible beans and peas are
legumes. Internationally, they are col-
lectively referred to as pulses and some-
times as grain legumes. They include a
goodly number of crops and species. In
the Western Hemisphere, Europe, and
Africa, dry edible beans consist mostly
of beans belonging to the same botani-
cal species as snap or wax beans. They
include navy, great northern, pinto,
red kidney beans, and others. In the
United States, we also grow lima
beans, dry peas, cowpeas, lentils, and
The grain legume produced to the
greatest extent in the Far East is chick-
peas. Pigeonpeas, mungbeans, urd-
beans, and dry peas also are produced
in large quantities. Others include
moth beans, broadbeans, hyacinth
beans, and the twinflower Dolichos.
The protein contents of pulses fall
within the range 22 to 26 percent on a
dry-weight basis. The quality of pro-
tein in chickpeas, pigeonpeas, lima
beans, and twinflower Dolichos is ex-
ceptionally good and comparable with
that of animal proteins. Proteins in
most of the other pulses have excellent
quantities of lysine but are slightly low
in the sulfur-bearing amino acids,
methionine and cystine.
The full possibilities of the pulses
of the world have not been realized.
Grain legumes generally have not been
improved as much as many other
crops, partly because emphasis has
been placed on the improvement of
crops that are exported extensively,
such as cotton, tea, and coffee.
In tropical countries, most pulses are
grown largely during the dry period,
with little or no irrigation. Yields are
much less than optimum. The devel-
opment of improved varieties and
systems of culture that would give
maximum production would greatly
increase the potential of this important
class of protein-bearing crops.

United States Department of Agri-
culture was intensified several years
ago. Cultivated plants and the plants
from natural stands in their native,
uncultivated habitat have been sought
in many lands. The primary objective
is to find new crops to provide raw
materials for industry. Principal atten-
tion is given the composition of seeds,
particularly their content of proteins,
special oils, gums, and waxes.
The total proteins of seeds vary
among plant families. Proteins in
species within families vary, but not
so much as some other constituents,
such as oil content. For example, the
species of the legume family may have
12 to 55 percent of protein; members
of the grass family may have 2 to 33
percent. Despite such variations, one
would expect search among the leg-
umes to yield more high-protein
species than among the grasses.
Families of plants also reveal certain
patterns in the quality of the proteins
in their seed. Amaranthaceae, the
family to which pigweed belongs, and
Umbelliferae, the parsley family to
which dill and carrots belong, are
moderately low in total proteins but
are high in lysine. Leguminosae in
general also are good sources of lysine,
but a few species, such as peanut, are
low. Most legume species are low in
methionine. Species of Gramineae,
the grass family, tend to be very low
in lysine but high in methionine.
The family to which sesame belongs
has similar protein quality. Com-
binations of corn and soybeans or
sesame and soybeans therefore make
a good source of balanced proteins.
In quantity and quality of protein,
the four most promising families for
sources of seed protein for man and
nonruminant animals are Legumino-
sae (soybeans, alfalfa, clover, and
others); Compositae, to which saf-
flower and sunflower belong; Cruci-
ferae, which includes rape, mustard,
and cabbage; and Cucurbitaceae, of
which melons, cucumbers, and gourds
are members.

Man's principal sources of vegetable
protein are seeds. Other parts of
plants, particularly of vegetables and
fruit, are eaten but do not constitute
major sources the world over.
Bearing in mind the growth of the
world's population, we must take a
fresh look at all possible sources of
protein that might be available to
man. We know that huge amounts of
proteins exist in certain plants that
have never been used very much for
human food.

PROTEINS occur abundantly in the
leaves of many plants. They usually
are considered to be animal feed and
are used directly by people to only a
limited degree.
On good land in the North Central
States, an acre of soybeans may yield
700 pounds of protein. Alfalfa, how-
ever, harvested or grazed from a
similar acre, may readily contain 1,2oo
to 1,400 pounds of protein. Most of
this protein could not be digested by
Animals can convert leaf protein to
nutritious and palatable animal pro-
tein-although man could expect to
recover only one-fourth to one-twelfth
of the protein eaten by animals. From
the more efficient animal conversions,
such as milk, we can at best expect to
obtain only half as much protein from
an acre of alfalfa as from an acre of
soybeans used directly as human food.
If we prefer our protein in the form of
lamb chops, we are realizing only one-
seventh as much protein as from soy-
beans. There is no question that we
prefer milk or lamb chops to some
form of plant protein. If expanding
populations, however, required a
change, the question must be raised
as to whether we can use alfalfa pro-
tein directly as human food.
Research on the processing of protein
from leaves has been conducted in
Great Britain. The protein is ex-
tracted by a pulping process, which
consists of breaking open the leaf cells
by cutting or rubbing. The juice is
pressed out, and all coarse particles

eliminated with fine sieves. The starch
grains and chloroplast fragments,
which contain the green coloring of
leaves, are removed by a high-speed
centrifugation. The protein in the
juice is separated from the water-
soluble components of the leaf by acid-
ification to approximately pH 4 or by
heating to 700 to 800 C. About 75
percent of the protein in young, suc-
culent leaves-but only 15 to 20 per-
cent of the protein in leaves nearing
maturity-can be extracted.
The product is dark green and does
not have a desirable flavor. Flavoring,
of course, can be added, and the color
can be masked by encasing the protein,
as in ravioli. Some experiments indi-
cated that leaf protein has a nutritive
value only slightly below that of milk
protein. In feeding experiments with
swine and other animals, it compared
favorably with fishmeal. The economic
feasibility of the process had not been
demonstrated in 1964.

MANY PLANTS lower on the evolution-
ary scale also can combine nitrogen
with compounds containing carbon,
hydrogen, and oxygen and thereby
synthesize the basic components of
proteins. In fact, the capacity of rumi-
nant animals to make proteins from
urea and corncobs or straw is really
the synthesizing of proteins by micro-
organisms in the digestive tract of the
Lower plants that have been investi-
gated as sources of protein include the
algae, yeast and other fungi, and the
The algae include thousands of
species. Some are single-celled, micro-
scopic plants, such as those that cause
green color in water allowed to stand
uncovered in sunlight for a few days.
Some are the giant kelps of the ocean,
which may be more than ioo feet
long and have leaflike structures sev-
eral feet across. They have differ-
ent forms, colors, and conditions of
growth. Algae flourish in ponds,
lakes, streams, and oceans. Some grow
on trees and in soil-even on snow.

Nearly all algae bear chlorophyll,
which permits them to combine carbon
dioxide and water to form sugars, a
process called photosynthesis. Sunlight
is the source of energy for the process.
The enormous part that algae have
had is shown in the estimate that algae
have synthesized 90 percent of the
world's organic carbon.
Many algae can grow in sea water.
As only 30 percent of the world's sur-
face is covered by land, it stands to
reason that 70 percent of the solar
energy that reaches the earth falls on
the sea. As solar energy is necessary
for photosynthesis, one could reason
that the seas potentially offer greater
opportunities for food production than
the land.
Algae in general utilize solar energy
more efficiently than higher plants do.
The single-celled algae are particularly
efficient. Few higher plants capture as
much as 2 percent of the sun's radia-
tion; indeed, it has been estimated that
only 0.2 percent of the solar energy
that falls on a cornfield is utilized.
Because single-celled algae are dis-
tributed much more uniformly through-
out the medium in which they grow,
they miss less sunlight. Every cell is a
chlorophyll-bearing, productive unit,
whereas in higher plants many cells
have been differentiated into conduc-
tive and storage tissues and are no
longer productive. The photosynthetic
efficiency of some of the green algae
such as Chlorella, at low light intensi-
ties, approaches use of 25 percent of
light energy.
We are interested primarily in the
few algae that have a particular food
potential, the large marine algae and
single-celled algae adaptable to mass
Marine algae, or seaweeds, are not
new in the human diet. Orientals, even
during the era of Confucius, regarded
seaweeds as a delicacy. Chinese, Jap-
anese, Filipinos, and Hawaiians were
particularly fond of them. Until 18oo,
peoples of the Western World did not
use them, but since that time certain
types have come into food use, partic-


ularly in Scandinavia, Scotland, and
the West Indies.
Several species of brown and red
algae with large forms are cultivated
for food in Japan. They have large
holdfast structures that superficially
resemble roots. Bundles of bamboo, to
which the seaweeds attach themselves,
are "planted" in the mud bottom of
shallow marine waters. In other coun-
tries, natural stands of more than a
score of species are harvested.
In general, all marine algae used as
human food have large forms and are
low in protein, fats, and digestible car-
bohydrates. The aversion of western
people to extensive eating of seaweeds
is due mostly to their poor digestibility
and palatability. Odd as it may seem,
digestibility of seaweed seems to in-
crease with regular eating over a
period of time. It is theorized that
certain microflora, which aid in the
digestion, are acquired and built up in
the human digestive tract.
The amount of protein composition
of seaweeds approximates that of the
more highly developed plants. Also,
like the protein in leaf tissue, it has
poor digestibility unless it is processed.
It rarely exceeds 15 percent in brown
algae and often drops to 5 percent in
late summer. Seaweeds of the red algal
group may contain 25 percent of crude
protein. Marine algae differ from fresh
water algae and land plants in that
they contain considerable nonprotein
nitrogen. Ruminant animals therefore
find them more nutritious than non-
ruminants and people do.
Except for the abundant minerals in
them, seaweeds must be regarded, be-
cause of poor digestibility, as having
low food value for human beings and
can be only a minor supplement to the
normal diet. As animal feed, particu-
larly for ruminants, they have moder-
ate value.
Culture of algae under controlled
conditions has the potentiality of pro-
ducing large quantities of proteins in a
relatively small space. Algae may be
cultured in large vats in the open, in
large tubes on the roofs of buildings,

or, when the temperature needs to be
controlled, in large jars or vats in a
greenhouse. This means of food pro-
duction merits particular attention in
operations such as space travel.
For mass culture, single-celled spe-
cies are considered more efficient than
the complex forms. The most widely
used genus in experiments is Chlorella.
For most efficient production, the
water medium in which the algae are
grown must be fertilized with plant
nutrients, aerated with carbon dioxide,
and agitated to prevent settling and to
assure uniform lighting of all cells.
Temperature control and supplemen-
tary light may be required.
Experiments with Chlorella on a
pilot-plant scale were conducted for a
few summer months in the United
States and for several years in Japan.
In the United States experiment,
conducted in one large polyethylene
tube on the roof of a building at Cam-
bridge, Mass., the cost of Chlorella
production was estimated as 25 to 30
cents a pound and the yield was cal-
culated as 8 tons of protein per acre
per year. With the large production
systems, potential yields up to 20 tons
of protein per acre have been estimated.
In Japan, Chlorella was produced
in culture ponds covering about I acre.
Sunlight furnished the only source of
energy, and production was continued
the year around. Over a 2-year period,
about 2,200 pounds of protein a year
were produced on I acre. The product
sold for nearly 2 dollars a pound.
The protein content of the single-
celled algae suitable for mass culture
varies among species and with environ-
mental conditions. Japanese-produced
Chlorella averaged 40 percent crude
protein.Other experiments have shown
as high as 55 percent for this species.
The quality of protein also varies.
Most tests show low values for the
amino acids methionine, histidine,
and tryptophane.
Feeding trials with rats and rabbits
showed higher gains than obtained
when proteins were supplied with soy-
bean meal, particularly when the

algae were supplemented with amino
acids that are deficient. No digestive
difficulties were encountered in hu-
mans conditioned to the diet, except
when more than oo grams a day were
Certain conclusions can be drawn.
production of algal protein in mass
culture as a common food is not ec-
onomically feasible at present. Digesti-
bility of algae is difficult for people,
and additional processing studies are
needed. The bitter, strong, spinach-
like flavor is objectionable to most
westerners, and further research on
palatability is required.
A number of micro-organisms be-
sides unicellular algae have been in-
vestigated as sources of proteins. Most
of them do not contain chlorophyll and
therefore cannot synthesize sugars.
Waste sugars, however, occur in many
products, such as citrus-waste press
juice, molasses from sugarbeet and
sugarcane, and wood sugars. In the
presence of inorganic nitrogen, many
micro-organisms can synthesize pro-
teins from such wastes.
One class of organisms, yeasts and
yeastlike micro-organisms, has shown
particular promise. Production of a
species of food or nutritional yeast,
known as Torulopsis utilis, which is
unlike baking or brewing yeasts, is an
established industry in some places.
Thousands of tons of food yeast were
propagated and eaten by Germans
during the Second World War, and
food yeast is now being produced in
the United States, British West Indies,
Sweden, and Germany. The product
is known as torula. Yields of proteins
vary with the waste sugar material on
which the yeast is grown. The range
of crude protein generally is 40 to 60
percent. The protein is of good
quality except for a deficiency in the
sulfur-containing amino acids, partic-
ularly methionine.
A number of other yeast and yeast-
like organisms are being investigated
experimentally and commercially for
the production of food yeast.
A technique was developed to con-

vert whey, a waste product from the
cheese industry, into food yeast. The
yeast micro-organism used in the proc-
ess belongs to the genus Saccharomyces.
It grows well on whey sugar, and
within 3 to 5 hours produces one-half
pound of yeast for each pound of whey
Of the myriad species of fungi in the
world, a goodly number can grow in a
medium containing sugar and inor-
ganic nitrogen salts. A near-theoretical
conversion of inorganic to organic ni-
trogen is accomplished by some species
within 4 days. The protein productions
of o1 genera of Fungi Imperfecti have
been reported.
Crude proteins of the products of the
different genera varied from 6 to 35
percent. From the better fungi, a con-
version of i pound of protein was
obtained from 6 pounds of hexose
sugar. The product was white to very
light buff and usually odorless and
tasteless. Mouse-feeding trials indi-
cated that the substances were not
toxic. From performance of the better
fungi, it was calculated that the sugar
produced by an acre of sugarcane with
added nitrogen could be converted by
fungi to more than 2.5 tons of protein.
The economic feasibility of such con-
version is questionable.
As in the case of yeasts, potential
commercial production probably must
be reserved for sugars occurring as
industrial waste products.

STILL ANOTHER class of micro-orga-
nisms, the bacteria, is worth scrutiny.
Like the yeasts and fungi, many
species of bacteria can synthesize their
own proteins from sugars and inor-
ganic nitrogen. Certain bacteria also
can utilize free nitrogen from the air.
One group with this capacity is the
Rhizobia, which enter into a sym-
biotic relationship with legume plants.
Another group, the Azotobacter, is
free living in soil. Because of its ability
to grow with only the air as a source of
nitrogen, a species known as Azoto-
bacter venelardii has been investigated
as a protein-producing organism.


In its natural habitat, the soil, the
organism grows on decaying plant
materials and available minerals.
When soil nitrogen is limited, it uses
nitrogen of the air to build up protein
within its body. Upon death of the
bacteria, this nitrogen becomes avail-
able for the nutrition of plants. Scien-
tists in the Soviet Union have reported
appreciable increases in plant yields
after inoculation of new lands with
Azotobacter, but studies in the United
States failed to support this claim.
When grown in an aerated, liquid
medium containing sugar and a few
simple salts, Azotobacter multiplies
rapidly. If it is harvested, killed, and
dried at the time of maximum growth,
the nitrogen remains locked in the
bacterial proteins and becomes avail-
able for the nutrition of people or
animals ingesting the bacteria.
Feeding trials with mice indicated no
toxic substances. Human taste panels
did not distinguish biscuits in which
the flour contained 2 percent Azoto-
bacter powder. Protein content ap-
proached 75 percent, which is ex-
tremely high for vegetable products.
The amino acid balance of the protein
compared favorably with that from
yeast and other micro-organisms.

LET us summarize the sources of
proteins for nutrition.
At the outset, we must realize that
man and animals are completely
dependent on plants to synthesize
proteins; that is, to combine inorganic
nitrogen with sugars. Plants, as used
in this statement, include the highly
developed plants, algae, yeasts and
other fungi, and the lowly bacteria.
Whether the synthesis occurs in the
sunny fields, the ocean, the paunch
of a cow, or in the vat of a commercial
establishment, the process is similar
and equally vital.
Many proteins are incorporated into
plant parts that are indigestible to
humans. Animals can convert a large
part of these proteins to digestible
proteins. Regardless of population
densities, animals will continue to

serve as effective converters of pro-
teins indigestible to humans and as
machines to harvest plant materials
in inaccessible terrain. When animals
are fed proteins that are digestible
by man, the conversion efficiency is
low, as only one-fourth to one-twelfth
of the protein will be available to man.
High-protein plant sources must be
exploited to supply the protein needs
of the ever-increasing numbers of
people. Among the higher plants,
particular attention must be given the
pulses and oilseed crops.
Direct extraction of protein from
green leaves and mass culture of
single-celled algae have great potential
for maximum protein yield per unit
area. Until digestibility and palat-
ability of these sources of protein
can be improved, they cannot be
considered ideal sources of nutrition
for direct human consumption.
The mass culture of yeasts and other
fungi and bacteria has great poten-
tiality in producing high yields of
protein with acceptable amino acid

MARTIN G. WEISS began his research
career with the Department of Agriculture
in 1936 in Iowa as a breeder of new soy-
bean varieties. Improved varieties resulting
from this program, notably Hawkeye,
Adams, and Blackhawk, were grown on
more than half of the United States acreage
at the peak of their production. Soybeans
have become a major source of protein in the
United States and were grown on more
than 29 million acres in 1964. Dr. Weiss
became leader of soybean production investi-
gations for the Department of Agriculture
at Beltsville in 1950, Chief of the Field
Crops Research Branch in 1953, and
Associate Director of the Crops Research
Division in 1957.
RUTH M. LEVERTON, a nutritionist,
has spent all her professional career in re-
search and graduate teaching in agricultural
experiment stations and land-grant universi-
ties before joining the Department of Agri-
culture in 1957. In 1961 she became Assist-
ant Administrator, Agricultural Research


Population, Income,

and Food


published in 1798 an essay that tried
to prove that population tends to in-
crease faster than does the production
of food and other goods. The human
race, he maintained, was continually
threatened with food shortages, severe
malnutrition, and at times starvation
because of overpopulation.
At that very time, though, by an
extraordinary coincidence of history
there was beginning in Europe an in-
dustrial revolution, which over the
years brought tremendous economic
growth and large increases in income.
We know now that the industrial
revolution and the accompanying agri-
cultural revolution banished the spec-
ter of food shortages from economically
developed countries. Malthus died be-
fore it became plain that the great in-
creases in productivity destroyed his
theory for nations whose economic de-
velopment has been rapid.
But we know also that in many other
countries population has grown apace
while productivity has remained much
the same.
Population in the presently devel-
oped countries grew less than 1.5 per-
cent a year during the period of in-
dustrialization. Today in many of the
underdeveloped regions the rate of
population growth is 2.5 percent a
year or more, primarily because of
improved health conditions.

Newly developing regions, in order
to have more food and other goods for
every citizen-or even to maintain
present per capital incomes-therefore
must increase production much faster
than the presently developed countries
had to in the past.
In order to estimate how much more
food is needed in a country, we need
to know something about its growth in
The United Nations estimated that
the population of Africa increased 2
percent a year during the fifties. In the
Western Hemisphere, the average
rate of population growth was esti-
mated at 2.1 percent. The rate in the
United States was 1.7 percent and in
Asia, 1.9 percent annually. In Europe,
where countries are well developed, it
was only 0.8. The United Nations
calculation of the average growth
rate of world population from 1950 to
1960 was 1.8 percent a year. There
were nearly 20 percent more people in
the world at the end of the decade than
at the beginning. The total world pop-
ulation for 1962 was estimated at 3.15
billion persons.
The rate of growth of world popula-
tion has increased since the industrial
revolution. It is now higher than it has
ever been.
Population experts in many parts of
the world have been studying the fig-
ures. They have analyzed the history
and development of the industrialized
countries and have observed a typical
pattern of population growth during
economic development.
Before economic development oc-
curs, about as many people die each
year as are born. Typically, there are
4 or 5 births and about the same num-
ber of deaths per Ioo persons in such
countries. As a result, the total popula-
tion of the country remains approxi-
mately the same or increases a little
from time to time when harvests are
particularly good and in long periods
of peace.
When economic development begins,
health and other conditions usually
improve, and the number of births ex-

ceeds the number of deaths. As a na-
tion continues to develop economi-
cally, however, birth rates drop.
Some European countries in the past
few decades have had birth rates of 2.5
or less per hundred persons. These low
birth rates are associated with urbani-
zation, higher incomes, and the dis-
semination of knowledge of methods of
family planning. The death rates in
those countries are low-about 1.5
deaths per hundred persons are com-
mon. Thus, with birth rates at 2.5 per
hundred and death rates at 1.5 per
hundred, the population increases i.o
percent a year.
The demographers predict increased
rates of population growth during the
next few decades in most of the world,
except Europe, the United States,
and a few other countries.
Some studies indicate an increase
in world population of at least 1.7
percent a year over the next decade
or so. We know therefore that world
food supplies must increase at least
that much if people are going to con-
tinue to eat as much as they have in
the past.
In many of the newly developing
countries, however, population is ex-
pected to increase by 2.5 or even 3
percent a year. Over countries that
have not achieved similar increases in
agricultural production, Malthus' pre-
diction still hangs.

ALL of the developed countries have
succeeded in increasing their food sup-
plies faster than their populations
have grown. They did so by boosting
agricultural and industrial productiv-
ity. Income per capital went up.
As income per person increases,
people spend more money on food to
improve their diets, according to a
generalization formulated by the Ger-
man economist Ernst Engel in 1857.
This generalization, known as Engel's
law, specifies the relation between in-
creased family income and expendi-
tures for food, clothing, and housing.
In the United States in the mid-
thirties, for example, when per capital

income averaged about 8o1 dollars
(in 1947-1949 dollars), the market
value of food consumed per capital
averaged about 222 dollars. In the
late thirties, when income per person
reached an average of I,oo6 dollars,
food consumed was worth 249 dollars
per capital. By the midfifties, per
capital income had increased to about
1,400 dollars and food consumption
to 331 dollars per person. A higher
value of food consumption of 336
dollars per person was observed.
Economists believe this high level was
due to the special conditions that fol-
lowed the Second World War. Similar
increases in food and incomes have
been observed in many countries.
The figures pertain to increases in
the cost, or value, of food consumed
per person as income rises. The value
of food measured thus includes pack-
aging and the full price paid for meals
served in restaurants.
If we should measure food by weight
instead of measuring it by its money
value, a different picture is presented.
The weight of the food consumed
per person generally remains about
the same, although in the United
States the weight of food consumed
per capital has dropped from 1,616
pounds in 1909 to 1,455 pounds in
1961. The decline is explained partly
by the fact that Americans now do less
physical labor. Because the weight of
food eaten is determined by the size
of a person's stomach, the amount.
consumed, as measured by weight,
remains about the same regardless of
higher incomes.

LET US RETURN to money measures of
the value or cost of food.
Engel's law suggests that increases
in income cause increased food con-
sumption. The relation between in-
creases in income and increases in
food consumption is called the income
elasticity of food and is measured by
an income elasticity coefficient. A posi-
tive coefficient indicates that consump-
tion of food will increase as income
rises. If the coefficient is greater than

I.o, consumption will rise faster than
income. A negative coefficient indi-
cates a decline in consumption as
incomes rise.
For example, in the data I cited for
the United States, the income elastic-
ity coefficient of food consumption is
approximately 0.7. This means that an
increase of io percent in income will
cause an increase of 7 percent in the
value of food consumed. A coefficient
of 0.7 is high for developed countries
and in this instance was due to special
historical circumstances-a major de-
pression and the war period-which
made a coefficient of elasticity greater
than in more normal periods. Most
of the estimates of the current income
elasticity for the value of all food in the
United States are in the range of 0.3
to 0.5.
In many newer countries, the income
elasticity coefficient for food consump-
tion appears to be considerably greater
than it is in the industrialized countries.
An elasticity coefficient of 0.8 or even
0.9 appears to exist in some countries.
That means that for every o percent
of increase in income, one may ex-
pect an increase of 8 or 9 percent in
the value of food eaten. This high
elasticity is due largely to the fact that
incomes in many of the newly de-
veloping nations are so low that a
high proportion of increased income
is used to purchase additional food.
The proportion of income a person
spends for food is another aspect of
Engel's law. "The poorer a family is,"
he said, "the greater the proportion
of the total expenditure which it must
use to procure food." This relation is
true for countries also. Expenditures
for food in the United States averaged
about 20 percent of per capital income
in I964; in many low-income countries,
about 50 to 60 percent of incomes is
spent for food.

RISING INCOMES also affect the national
diet. A poor man must buy inexpen-
sive foods that fill his stomach and
give him enough energy for work-
rice, potatoes, noodles, macaroni,

bread, and other things made from
cereals. He will buy more preferred
foods as his income increases. In each
country, the preferred foods are con-
sidered luxuries. Usually fruit, fresh
vegetables, dairy products, and many
meats are in this group. These foods
have high income elasticity coefficients.
An example is given in United States
data. The pounds of preferred foods
consumed per capital, including dairy
products, meat, fruit, and leafy vege-
tables, have increased since g909 from
679 pounds to 783 pounds in 1962.
The amounts of potatoes, flour, and
cereal products declined from 512
pounds in 1909 to 252 pounds. Changes
in the per capital consumption of other
foods have been less striking.
In percentage terms in I909, the
preferred foods I mentioned accounted
for 42 percent of the weight of food
consumed per capital. In 1961, these
foods had increased to 54 percent of
the weight of food consumed. Potatoes,
flour, and cereal products represented
32 percent of the weight of food con-
sumed in 1909, but declined to 17
percent in 1962.
Not all the changes in diet are due
to rising incomes, of course. Food
tastes change over time. Also, because
less physical work has been required
of the average American workman,
he has come to eat less energy-pro-
ducing foods such as potatoes and
cereals. Another factor is that the
average weight of a population may
change as its average age goes up.
Older people tend to be more seden-
tary and need less food. All in all,
though, higher income is the main
reason for changes in national diets.
We can use a simple equation to
estimate food requirements: The rate
of increase in national food consump-
tion, c, is equal to the rate of popula-
tion growth, a, plus the rate of increase
in income per capital, b, times the
income elasticity coefficient for food, x.
Thus: c=a+bx.
The equation requires data for the
three variables, a, b, and x.
For the rate of expected population

growth, a, we have used the medium
estimates of population growth in the
different parts of the world made by
the United Nations Department of
Economic and Social Affairs in 1958.
As to the rate of growth in per
capital income, b, we cannot know how
fast the economies of nations will grow.
In general, rapidly growing countries
have achieved a per capital rate of
income growth of some 2 percent a
year. In the past two decades, the
United States rate has been around 2
percent. At that rate, it takes 35 years,
or about a generation, to double per
capital income.
Many countries now have economic
development plans that try to increase
income faster than that, but I doubt
whether many newly developing coun-
tries can sustain higher rates of growth
for long periods. So I use 2 percent as
the rate of increase of per capital in-
come, recognizing that the rate of
increase in food consumption will be
less if this rate is not achieved.
The income elasticity coefficients to
be used in the calculation are based
on the best available evidence. In
general, as I said, they tend to be
high-o.7 or 0.8 in countries of low
per capital income and low (0.3 to 0.5)
in industrialized countries.
The lowest rates of growth in food
consumption-about 1.6 percent a
year-are expected in the United
Kingdom and France. In the United
States, Japan, and the Soviet Union,
the expected rates are 2 to 3 percent a
year; in India and the Philippines, 3
or 4 percent. The figures are higher in
quite a number of countries-Taiwan,
the United Arab Republic, Brazil,
South-West Africa, and Mexico.
The average for the world is about
3 percent a year. To repeat: The
estimates refer to the money value or
cost of food eaten and not to its weight
or volume.
We can see the magnitude of the
task in some developing nations if we
compare their expected rates of growth
in food consumption and the rates in
industrialized countries.

In France, for example, the expected
rate of growth in food consumption is
1.7 percent a year, but Brazil has more
than twice that rate, 4.2 percent a year.
The data indicate that many low-
income countries are likely to have a
rate twice that of the so-called ad-
vanced countries because their popu-
lation is growing rapidly and their
income elasticity coefficient of food is
considerably higher.
I foresee little likelihood that either
factor will change much in the near
future. The coefficient of food in low-
income countries very likely will re-
main high, because the first thing poor
people want when they receive more
money is more and better food. Some
form of severe government control by
such methods as rationing is about the
only way to prevent increases in per
capital food consumption in countries
as development occurs. Rates of popu-
lation growth will remain high for
some time, as there is little evidence
yet of declines in birth rates.

INDUSTRIALIZED and developed nations
have demonstrated that they can pro-
duce or import more than enough food
to meet the increased requirements for
food. They also have adjusted the mix
of farm products produced and im-
ported to meet the demands for changes
in diet associated with economic
growth. They should have no shortage
of food in the foreseeable future,
barring war or other unforeseen ca-
lamities. In fact, some of them have
produced too much of certain food
products and have had to take meas-
ures to discourage the production of
some foods.

FOR THE LOW-INCOME countries, Mal-
thus' prediction that food supplies
cannot keep pace with food needs
remains a serious prospect.
As we have seen, food needs are
increasing much faster in those coun-
tries than in the developed countries
because of higher rates of population
growth and higher income elasticities
for food.

Can they attain an increase of food
availability of 3 or 4 percent a year?
We have evidence, on the one
hand, that developed countries have
achieved increases of 3 percent or
more, that it is physically possible for
developing regions to achieve the
rates of growth in food production
and imports they require, and that
ample technical knowledge is avail-
able so that enough food may be
produced for all.
On the other hand: Many of the
low-income countries are not pro-
ducing enough food or raising produc-
tion fast enough. How large their food
shortages will become and when they
will succeed in meeting their food
needs through an increased domestic
production or greater commercial
imports of food are serious questions.
Some countries have shortages of
productive land and other restraints
on increasing domestic food production
rapidly. Some of them therefore may
have to increase their exports so they
can buy the food they need from other
Major hindrances to increased pro-
duction and food-generating exports
are lack of the necessary social and
governmental institutions, lack of
education, and lack of local technical
knowledge. These hindrances remain
even though many countries are
working hard to develop new in-
stitutions that will serve agriculture
and other sectors of the economy
better. Improvements in educational
systems and the search for needed
technical knowledge are going for-
ward-but in many countries with
too little effort and money to meet the
impending food needs.

ROBERT D. STEVENS joined the De-
velopment and Trade Analysis Division
of the Economic Research Service as
international agricultural economist in Ig6r.
Previously he taught at the National
College of Agriculture, Bao-Loc, Vietnam,
under the sponsorship of the Council on
Economic and Cultural Affairs, Inc., of
New York.

Potentials for

Food Production


A REASONABLY prosperous agricul-
ture-one that produces more than
the needs of the rural families-laid
the foundation for industrial develop-
ment and economic growth in coun-
tries that we describe as developed.
As their industries grew, machines
and chemicals became available to
make agriculture even more efficient
and to make the fullest use of their
soils. It was not accomplished in a day
or a generation.
So, also, in the developing countries
of South America, Africa, and south-
ern and eastern Asia, great efforts
have been made to extend farm pro-
duction and economic growth. Yet
measures that reduced illness and
death have been so effective in many
countries that improvements in agri-
culture, far short of the potential, are
partly offset by population increases.
Then, too, other needs tend to compete
with agriculture for the domestic re-
sources, scarce foreign exchange, and
the small cadre of educated people.
In a developing country it can seem
that everything needs doing at once.
Priorities are necessary, and a degree
of patience. I repeat: It cannot be
done in a day. The factor of time and
the principle of interactions of several
practices in the use of soil are points I
stress over and over in consultations
with representatives of other govern-
ments who seek ways to improve their


agriculture and economic progress.
The machines and chemicals we
have had for years made it possible to
till some soils not naturally suited to
crop production. Thus, yields were
improved on some of the soils already
in use, and new acres could be pre-
pared for crops. Many of the soils
unresponsive to our new methods for
crop production now have been put to
other uses.
From the beginning, cultivators-
the people who till the soil-have
had to prepare their soil for crop use.
Land clearing, stone removal, ma-
nuring, tillage, and simple drainage
and irrigation are old practices. Then
came liming and fertilization. These
and other practices can now be done
more easily and designed more pre-
cisely to fit local situations.
Nearly all kinds of soil now are
modified for efficient crop use. The
plant nutrients are increased and
balanced, especially with chemical
fertilizer. Water is controlled by com-
binations of drainage, irrigation, and
control of runoff.
Powerful machines can plow the soil
deeply to break up hardpans, can
shape the surface for ease of control
of water, can dig ditches and lay tile,
and can throw up terraces and small
dams. New crop varieties have been
bred for high yields on improved
soils. Science has given cultivators new
ways to control insects and diseases.
Some of the most productive soils
of western Europe and the United
States have been reconstituted by
combinations of practices that have
drastically altered the original char-
acteristics of the soils. Many of these
practices were unknown in earlier
centuries. A few, such as deep digging
and shaping land surfaces, were done
before power tools and are being done
now in developing regions, but with
low labor returns. Science now gives
us more powerful methods for creat-
ing good arable soils out of indifferent
Even soils of high potential require
skillful management. Different kinds

of soil require different combinations
of management practices. Contrast-
ing kinds of soil are being brought to
similar high levels of efficiency, but
by different sets of practices.
Any one kind of soil is a unique com-
bination of many features: Depth of
rooting zone; permeability to water;
slope; hazard of erosion or soil blow-
ing; reserves of the different plant
nutrients being released from mineral
and organic fractions; capacity to
hold and release water to roots; pro-
portions of stones, sand, silt, and clay;
degree of seasonal waterlogging; acid-
ity; abundance of soluble salts; and
Under modern management, one
partly changes the soil and partly
selects management practices and
kinds of crops to develop a system that
gives the optimum harvest for effi-
ciency in terms of output over input.
The skillful agriculturist no longer
asks: "What will this soil produce
with simple management?" Today he
asks: "How will this soil respond to a
management system to bring out its
potential efficiency, considering ma-
chines, chemicals, water-control de-
vices, crop selection, and so on?"

LET US CONSIDER some of the critical
qualities of a generalized ideal soil,
realizing that the ideal is not identical
for all crops and that the effect of any
one depends also on the others.
I. The soil must have a balanced
supply of the essential plant nutrients
available to the roots for the crops to
be grown. These include phosphorus,
nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, potas-
sium, sulfur, iron, boron, manganese,
zinc, molybdenum, and perhaps others
from the soil, in addition to carbon,
hydrogen, and oxygen from air and
For efficient use, nearly all soils
require chemical fertilizers, even in
addition to farmyard manure, green
manures, and compost. People com-
monly think that fertilizers simply help
increase the yields of crops that could
be grown anyway. Yet without fertil-

izers it would be uneconomic to have
pastures in our Southern States, com-
mercial vegetables along the Atlantic
coast, or sugarcane in Hawaii. Nearly
all soils of the Tropics require chemical
fertilizer for economic yields of crop
Fertilizers are better now than a
generation ago. The percentage of
plant nutrients in commercial fertil-
izer has been increased, and so the
costs of shipping the actual chemical
nutrients are lower. A better under-
standing of symptoms of deficiencies,
better soil tests and fertilizer trials, and
modern ways to classify soils have
made possible more precise recommen-
dations of fertilizers to apply to specific
SThe machines to apply fertilizers
are being improved. New Zealanders
have made a dramatic advance. They
have special airplanes for spreading
fertilizer to bring otherwise productive,
well-watered, steep soils into use for
high-yielding sheep pasture.
2. The ideal soil has a deep rooting
zone for growth and for the storage of
water, air, and nutrients. Rooting
zones can be deepened by heavy tillage
that breaks up lower layers or by the
addition of soil material to the surface.
Rooting zones in other soils are
deepened by applying lime and fertil-
izers deeply and by using strongly
rooted crops, such as alfalfa, that add
organic matter in depth and furnish
food for the micro-organisms that help
change a massive soil into a granular
3. The soil must be able to furnish
both water and air to the plant roots.
This means water control within the
soil to have enough of it without
crowding out the air that roots need.
Water-control practices (terraces, ir-
rigation, or drainage, or some com-
bination of them) and special tillage
were used to make good arable soils
of a high proportion of the most
productive soils in the world today.
These practices and the protection of
low-lying soils by seawalls and river
levees have been improved greatly

since the Second World War. Huge
dams store water to control floods and
to use for expanded irrigation.
4. The ideal arable soil is stable.
It does not slip down the slope, blow
away, or wash onto low ground or into
streams. The hazards of erosion on
many steep soils and of soil blowing
on many sandy or powdery soils in dry
and windy places are too great for
them to be made into arable soils.
Here, too, gradual progress is being
made, first to appraise the hazards
before development and then to use
for crops only soils on which the
erosion or blowing can be controlled
by proper tillage, terracing, wind-
breaks, crop selection, and related
5. Soil and air temperature must
permit growth. Temperatures too low
for crop growth probably limit the use
of more acres of the earth's land sur-
face than any other single factor.
Yet the boundary between soils not
potentially arable because of cold
and those potentially arable is being
pushed back toward the poles through
breeding of short-season crops, im-
proved fertilization for rapid growth,
and combinations of tillage and water
control to assist early warming of the
soil. In the United States, corn is
grown considerably north of where it
was grown in the thirties. In Canada,
the Scandinavian countries, and the
Soviet Union, small grains and other
crops can be grown farther north.
Two other sets of requirements are
essential in the management of a good
arable soil.
6. Kinds and varieties of crops, in
monoculture, mixtures, or sequences,
must be grown that have the genetic
potential to respond to the modified
soil and environment. If seeds are
saved over generations from crops
grown on soils of low fertility, the
variety is unlikely to respond enough to
improved water and fertility to make
the practices economic. On many
acres, all three-fertility, water con-
trol, and seeds-must be changed at
the same time.

The story of hybrid corn is well
known. On the best farm soils of the
Middle West, farmers using the hy-
brids had an immediate response over
the older sorts because these had
lacked the growth potential to use
all the moisture and nutrients in the
soils. Yet hybrid corn did not show a
significant advantage in the Southern
States until additional fertilizer was
used at planting time, supplemental
nitrogen was added in early summer,
and the plant population was in-
creased. Now many of the highest
corn yields are in the South.
7. The crops (and soils) must be
protected from insects, diseases, and
other hazards, else the other manage-
ment practices may come to nothing.
Of these seven principal sets of
practices, four are vital on every acre
of cropland in the world: A balanced
supply of nutrients, water and air when
the plants need them, an adapted kind
and variety of crop, and crop pro-
tection. The others are also vital on
many of the acres.
Thus the total harvest from an acre
and the harvest per man-hour depend
on a complex of interactions among
the many features of the soil and the
practices of management. Each one
in the system has effects on the others.
This principle of interactions in
soil use is of the utmost importance
and needs all possible emphasis in
newly developing areas changing from
traditional to modern farming. Rarely
does an improvement in one prac-
tice-irrigation, fertilizers, or im-
proved seeds-give a satisfactory re-
sult. Cultivators and their advisers
always must think of the systems of
management in relation to the local
kind of soil they have.

So FAR we have considered some of the
major factors accounting for varia-
tions in soil use. They are important
in estimating the acres of soils in the
world that could be used to meet the
expanding needs and for suggesting
measures for making progress toward
that end.

Laying aside for the moment the
great educational, economic, and
institutional needs for a productive
agriculture in the newly developing
countries: Has the world enough soil
resources to produce the food people
The answer to this question changes
with time, partly because the standards
for the potentially usable soils change
with new knowledge and technology.
Continually we find new ways to
improve natural soils for crop use and
to rehabilitate old arable soils of low
productivity. Before the sixties, many
felt that the United States might run
out of cropland to take care of our
domestic needs and our commitments
abroad. Now a usable surplus of some
200 million acres that could be used
for crops is estimated.
Even though the total land area of
the world is relatively fixed, the
total area of potentially arable soils-
those that could produce food, fiber,
and industrial crops-is highly flex-
ible. The total depends on the state
of the agricultural arts. Getting good
harvests from it depends on the
arts of agriculture used in communities
all over the world.
The Production Yearbook for 1961
of the Food and Agriculture Organiza-
tion of the United Nations gave the
following percentages for the present
use of land in the world: Wasteland,
some of which may have potential,
40.5; forested land, 30; permanent
meadows and pastures, 19; arable land
and land under permanent crops, 10.5.
A figure of about 3,500 million acres
was given for soil now in use-arable
land and land in permanent crops.
Besides ordinary food and fiber crops,
it includes permanent crops (such as
vines, orchards, rubber, oil and coco-
nut palms, tea, coffee, cacao, and nut
trees), temporary meadows and pas-
tures, kitchen gardens, and temporary
fallow. The distinction between per-
manent and temporary pasture is
indefinite, and fallow land is hard to
identify, especially that associated with
shifting cultivation. Much of the for-

ested land in the humid Tropics and
subtropics, especially in Africa and
South America, has excellent soil for
Roughly one-half of the earth's sur-
face is unsuitable for crop production;
it is neither arable nor potentially
arable. Several large regions have no
present prospects for crop use. They
include the great areas of everlasting
ice and snow, essentially all the cold
tundra soils, the soils of the high and
rugged mountains, and soils of deserts
and semideserts that lack water for
irrigation. Some of the soils of the
deserts and high mountains offer lim-
ited use for grazing, and some have a
forest cover.
The soils now used are not neces-
sarily the best. The location of good
harbors and the position of land easily
reached from them had a lot to do
with the introduction of advanced ag-
riculture in South America and Africa.
Whereas transport in countries of
western Europe evolved slowly from
trails to wagon roads, waterways, paved
highways, railways, and finally to air-
lines, the intermediate steps of railways
and paved trucklines have never been
fully developed in Africa and South
America. The unnavigability of the
Congo River from the sea probably
held back the development of the
Congo Basin for two centuries.
Estimates of potential new cropland
I made after the Second World War
(in Food, Soil, and People, published by
the United Nations Educational, Sci-
entific, and Cultural Organization in
its Food and People Series in 1951)
have turned out to be conservative.
If made in light of today's agricultural
technology, the figure for potential
new arable land (1,300 million acres)
would be much higher-perhaps two
or three or five times the needs of the
world population in 1964. Yet many
persons thought my estimate was too
high at the time.
The Food and Agriculture Orga-
nization in 1963 published Possibilities
of Increasing World Food Production, by
Walter H. Pamley. It gave no esti-

mates, but the conclusion was un-
altered: "It is clear that the world
potentials for increasing food produc-
tion are very substantial indeed."
For a revised edition in 1958 of
Efficient Use of Fertilizers (Food and
Agriculture Organization Agricultural
Studies No. 43), a new general soil
map of the world was made in the Soil
Conservation Service. It is reproduced
here on page 63.

ON THE BASIS of more detailed soil
maps, A. C. Orvedal, Chief, World
Soil Geography Unit, Soil Conserva-
tion Service, and his staff made new
estimates of the acres of potential
arable land in the world for both cul-
tivated and noncultivated food, fiber,
and industrial crops. An accompany-
ing table gives those estimates for the
units shown on the general soil map.
This total of some 6,589 million acres
is not quite twice the figure the Food
and Agriculture Organization gave in
1961 for the arable land in use. Even if
this estimate is in error by as much as
15 percent either way, the conclusions
are unaltered-for a long time at
least, basic soil resources need not be
the factor that limits production if soil
management is reasonably good.
The additional acres of potentially
arable soils are not equally distributed
in relation to either national bound-
aries or population.
My 1951 estimate included 300 mil-
lion acres in northern areas, but this
figure would now be conservative for
the United States and Canada alone.
In addition, there is a considerable
area in northern Europe and Asia that
currently known practices make po-
tentially productive. The I thousand
million acres estimated for the Tropics
is low in view of current knowledge
and experience with tropical soils in
Queensland and many other places
where the prerequisites for modern ag-
riculture have been available.
Many people have little knowledge
of the great agricultural potentials in
the humid Tropics. Some still regard
these "steamy jungles" with the awe


Map Unit on Accompanying Soil Map
Prairie Soils, Degraded Chernozems ................. .............................
Chernozems and Reddish Chestnut.................. .............................
Dark Gray and Black Soils of Subtropics and Tropics ........ .........................
Chestnut, Brown, Reddish Brown................. ..................... ...........
Sierozems, Desert.............................................................
Podzols and Weakly Podzolized. ................. ................... ..............
Gray-Brown Podzolic. .................................... .......................
Latosols, Red-Yellow Podzolics .. .................. ............................
Red-Yellow Mediterranean. ................. ................... ..................
Soils of Mountains ................ ................... ................... .......

Potentially Arable Land in
Map Unit

Percent (millions)
80. o 242
7o. 66o
50.0 618
30. 892
.5 34
0o.o 320
65. 972
35. o 2, 780
15. 41
.5 30
.0 0

T otal ............. ........ ................... .................. ....... 6, 589
These criteria were used to define arable land:
That reasonably good management would be used including appropriate combinations of adapted crop varieties, water
control methods, pest control, and methods of plant nutrient maintenance, including some chemical fertilizers.
Crops include the ordinary food, fiber, and industrial crops that are normally cultivated as well as fruits, nut crops, rubber,
sisal, coffee, tea, cocoa, palms, vines, and meadow crops that may or may not be cultivated.
All regular fallow land is counted, including the natural fallow under shifting cultivation.
Irrigation of arid soils is limited by water from streams and wells. Sea water is excluded as a potential source.


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of early explorers before the period
of modern machines, chemicals, and
methods of research. Developments in
many parts of tropical Africa since the
Second World War, notably achieve-
ments of l'Institut National pour
l'Etude Agronomique du Congo, have
shown the great possibilities of tropical
soils under modern management sys-
tems adapted to them.
Great tracts in Africa and South
America could be developed. Yields on
the better soils in southeastern Asia,
which a dense population already oc-
cupies, could be greatly improved and
considerable new land rehabilitated
or brought into use, especially in sec-
tions now remote from transport.
Except for mainland China and per-
haps some of the small countries near
the Sahara, present and potential ar-
able soils are adequate for food needs
for a long time if international trade in
food remains at approximately its
levels in 1964.
Most of the developing countries
have large reserves of potentially ar-
able soils that are now used only for
extensive grazing or forestry or that
are not used at all.
Improved ground transport would
be needed to reach many of the un-
used but potentially arable regions. In
fact, some crops-sugarcane, bananas,
rubber, cacao, and several others-are
being produced where they are be-
cause soils are suitable and because
harbors, navigable streams, and rail
and truck routes are convenient. Large
tracts well suited for those crops are
lying unused in the Tropics and sub-
tropics because they are remote from
good transport.

OUR URGENT NEED is to make a start
toward adequate food production in
countries lacking it, not to make more
refined estimates of potentials, useful
as they are for analyses of future trade,
aid, and such.
The world has the resources, and the
major skills are known. Despite the
great potential for developing new ar-
able soils in many countries, the most

promising opportunities for increasing
food production are to increase the
harvests on the best of the good soils
now being used at low levels of
Better use of surface and under-
ground water will permit a great in-
crease in irrigation. Probably more
than one-half of the increase will be
used to improve the productivity of
soils now used for low- or uncertain-
yielding cereal crops.
Great opportunities exist in India,
Pakistan, the Soviet Union, and other
countries for making better use of pres-
ently cultivated soils with irrigation.
In the United States and western
Europe, irrigation to reduce drought
risks on presently cultivated land is
increasing. (Because opportunities for
wide-scale irrigation by desalinized
sea water were still speculative in 1964,
we do not consider them here.)

THE FOOD PROBLEM must be met
largely country by country. The food
moved through international trade,
important as that is, makes up only a
tiny percentage of the total. As a
country develops its own agriculture,
its trade, including trade in farm
products, increases. As the agriculture
of the newly developing countries
becomes more productive and more
efficient, the United States will be
able to exchange for their goods the
products that we can produce most
The urgent problem is not a lack
of soil resources but the will to give
cultivators the education, incentives,
and services needed for the work of
producing food.
First of all, many have not appreci-
ated the critical place of agriculture
in stimulating economic growth. Prin-
ciples of economic growth that apply
in countries already in an advanced
stage are not the ones most applicable
to a country trying to emerge from a
subsistence level. It is commonly for-
gotten that the advanced countries
first went through a stage of agricul-
tural progress. (See Peter T. Bauer's

Economic Analysis and Policy in Under-
developed Countries.)
Agriculture needs a higher priority
than many new governments have
been persuaded to give it. One cannot
expect a successful industry in the
midst of a depressed and inefficient
agriculture-unless there is some great
mineral wealth or other basis for capi-
tal development. For industry in
mainly agricultural countries to grow
faster than it did in western Europe,
agriculture must grow much faster.
Once agriculture gets a start, the
industries serving it can go forward
rapidly. Examples include service in-
dustries for transport, fertilizers, tools,
food processing, and the like. Then
further savings from agriculture and
these service industries stimulate the
basic industries. All highly efficient
agriculture today has access to the
chemicals, machines, and the other
products of industry, either within the
country or within a customs union
with other areas.
A second factor has been the low
social level of the cultivators. Many
have lacked either incentive or influ-
ence. The land policy of the United
States during its formative years was
directed to helping men get land at
reasonable terms. Farm people shared
in programs for education and in
political life. Some of the newly de-
veloping countries-India, for ex-
ample-are making strong efforts, but
lifting the social and political status of
great numbers of cultivators is bound
to take time. In many countries the
effort is weak.
A third great handicap, closely re-
lated to low social level, is the lack of
educational facilities in most rural
districts of the developing countries.
Few cultivators can read. Good gen-
eral education is a first necessity for
sustained agricultural development.
Success with modern agricultural prac-
tices requires operationally literate
people. Yet many cultivators are hav-
ing a new awakening; they see that
illiterate people have great handicaps
in all economic and political activity.
712-224-64- 6

They appear to realize the urgent
need for schools more than many of
their leaders and advisers.
Fourth, the principle of interactions
is the most important technical prin-
ciple to establish in the newly develop-
ing countries. The agricultural leaders
and cultivators must grasp a working
knowledge of it to achieve high and
efficient production.
As I have pointed out, that means
that several practices must be com-
bined, fitted together, and adapted
to the local kinds of soil. Each prac-
tice supports the others. Commonly,
for example, an improved variety by
itself gives a 0o- or 2o-percent increase;
fertilizer by itself gives a similar in-
crease; and proper water conservation
or irrigation alone can raise yields 20
percent. With the practices properly
combined on the same acre, the har-
vest may increase by Ioo to as much
as 6oo percent.
Much of the effort for improved
harvests in the developing regions has
fallen short of hopes and potentiali-
ties. In part, the departures from this
principle of interactions, or combined
practices, follow from the educational
handicap of the cultivators and the
notion that agriculture is a simple
Many seek a simple sloganlike pro-
gram to give a dramatic, single answer
to increasing production. Examples
are fertilizers, improved seeds, ir-
rigation, or pest control. In part, the
failure to grasp the principle of inter-
actions may result from the extreme
narrowness of experience and educa-
tion of advisers from the advanced
countries. Yet successful farmers in
the advanced countries understand
the principle; and so do the first-class
specialists who have worked with them.
Fifth, the highly efficient agriculture
essential to our modern society must
have many facility services from out-
side the farm units themselves. Besides
general education, higher education
and graduate schools must be available.
Since countries must depend on ed-
ucating most of their own scientists


and engineers, the earlier universities
can be well established the better.
Both field research and general
research stations are essential. Many
basic principles can be transferred
from the advanced countries, but their
application must be worked out locally.
Management systems for tropical soils
and crops will require new studies of
many of the accepted basic principles
themselves. Advisory services, organi-
zation, soil surveys, and country
planning also are needed. I mentioned
them in a paper, "Interactions in
Agricultural Development," prepared
for the United Nations Conference on
the Application of Science and Tech-
nology for the Benefit of the Less
Developed Areas and printed in
Volume III, Agriculture, in 1962.
Each country needs to appraise its
own soil resources. Methods vary
widely even on good soils. In any
scheme to improve soils or make addi-
tional arable soils, one needs to know
the potentials and the most effective
combination of practices to use.
Except for a few small areas, most
of the newly developing areas lack soil
maps for planning an efficient agri-
culture on either the present arable
land or the potentially arable land not
now being used. On the accompanying
outline map of the world, the approxi-
mate availability of soil surveys basic
to agricultural planning is indicated.
The soil surveys give people a bridge
between the whole body of agricultural
knowledge and its specific application
to a tract of land.
To make a soil map of any area,
there must be a classification of soils,
based upon the combinations of their
characteristics that reflect their basic
properties. In the United States, more
than 70 thousand local kinds of soil are
recognized, each with a unique set of
characteristics. Once we have a de-
tailed soil map of all the Tropics, we
may expect many more kinds of soil
there than in all the temperate
With both farm and research ex-
perience related to named and de-

scribed kinds of soil, the soil map is the
effective tool for selecting from our
knowledge the information that applies
to any specific tract.
Soil maps are especially needed to
avoid waste in the introduction of new
systems of use. The only alternative is
the direct help of a widely experienced
scientist who can recognize, without
soil maps, how the soils relate to others
under advanced use elsewhere.
Scientists have been studying the
properties, behavior, and classifica-
tion of soils in the temperate areas of
the earth for more than a century.
Since the Second World War, much
has been learned about soils of tropical
and subtropical areas. Except in the
places where advanced agriculture has
been long established and in a few
areas of concentration since the war,
the data about soils in these vast areas
are too scanty for the operational
planning of modern systems of use.
In any country, however, a first
approximation of a soil map can be
had by collecting and synthesizing all
the available data on soils, geology,
land form, relief, vegetation, and
climate. Such maps can be used tb
help locate the most promising broad
areas for development and for suggest-
ing the steps to take, provided the
classification is scientifically consistent
with basic principles.
Since soil management systems have
been worked out for many of the im-
portant kinds of soil in the world,
this knowledge can be transferred to
areas of like soils elsewhere. If we
know the kind of soil in a specific
area, we have a basis for starting an
appraisal. This method for transferring
the results of research and experience
from one area to another, even be-
tween continents, is called the method
of geographic correlation.
A world map of kinds of soil, classi-
fied by uniform standards, could
expedite this important method of
geographic correlation.
The minimum scale for a world soil
map useful in transferring agricultural
knowledge and technology would be

= BI.


A. Areas relatively unimportant for crops, except locally.
A 1. Existing soil maps of little or no usefulness for agricultural interpretations,
except in a few localities. Most soil maps highly schematic.
B. Areas relatively important for crops.
B1. Existing soil maps of little or no usefulness for agricultural interpretations,
except in a few localities; most maps small in scale and highly schematic.
B2. Coverage mainly by soil maps useful for broad agricultural interpretations
at the province level (political units about 70 million hectares-20,47 1,000
acres-in size); maps of medium scale and at least partly schematic.

E B2. =- B3.

Some regions lack such coverage but have detailed or semidetailed maps
(like B3) for scattered localities.
B3. Coverage, with some gaps, mainly by soil maps useful for moderately
detailed agricultural interpretations at the county level (political units
about 100 thousand hectares-200,471 acres-in size); high proportion
of maps detailed or semidetailed and based largely on field investigations.
(Boundaries are approximate and delimit dominant conditions only.
Hence, within any areas mapped as a given category, there may be small
areas of other categories.)


1: 2,500,000 (about I inch to 40 miles).
Such a map would need to indicate the
kinds of soil accurately in relation to
the principal railroads and highways,
rivers, market towns, and other local
features, so that the local users could
orient themselves and read the map.
From the map they need to be able to
tell the kinds of soil they are dealing
with locally and the other places in
the world with similar soils.
In this way they can learn from
what experiment stations and from
what developed areas they can most
likely obtain useful suggestions.
In addition to the kind of soil and
its associated climate, the agricultural
adviser must take account of the social
facilities available and the skill of the
It cannot be said that a complete
farming system can be transferred
from an area of one kind of soil in a
highly advanced society to an area of
the same kind of soil in a primitive
society. Improvements in land tenure,
such as the consolidation of fragmented
holdings, usually must also be under-
Yet through soil classification and
its interpretation, knowledge about
how the soils and crops need to be
treated can be transferred and much
improved local methods worked out
within the framework of services, ma-
terials, and skills available in the new
Such transfers of knowledge and ex-
perience permit selection of promising
tracts and general planning for their
development. For the general plan-
ning within a country, soil maps at
scales of i: 250,000 (about i inch to 4
miles) to : I,ooo,ooo (about I inch
to 16 miles) are needed.
As an essential first part of opera-
tional planning of a scheme, detailed
soil maps of large scale, say around
i: 20,000 (about 3.2 inches to the
mile), give a sound basis for planning
roads, water-control structures, the
consolidation of fragmented holdings,
and specific farming systems according
to the local kinds of soil.

Substantial beginnings toward an
efficient and abundant agriculture that
stimulates economic growth can be
made without a complete soil survey,
a full set of long-time experiments, the
latest in facilities for research in the
basic sciences, or the highly equipped
To appraise the fertilizer needs, for
example, a start can be made by
examining growing crops. The nu-
trient-deficiency symptoms of our most
important food and industrial crops
are well known. Exploratory soil maps
with detailed soil surveys of sample
areas can be made fairly rapidly.
Thus, through the method of geo-
graphic correlation, much information
can be made available to a new area
to suggest the soils most likely to
respond well to management and the
systems most worth testing.
Methods have been developed for
field testing fertilizers, new crops, and
other practices in combination rap-
idly. The best of the combined prac-
tices can be shown on demonstration
Thus does the appraisal of resources
and development proceed together.
As agriculture develops and the local
cultivators gain skill, the detailed soil
surveys can be completed and other
research facilities expanded to furnish
more precise recommendations of the
type highly educated farmers in the
advanced countries are familiar with.
In the advanced agricultural areas,
several techniques are used together to
appraise soil potentials and to give
advice to people growing crops. They
include a properly interpreted soil
survey, nutrient-deficiency symptoms
on plant leaves, results of chemical
tests on samples of soil, local field
trials, long-time field experiments,
and demonstration farms.
Actually, skilled soil scientists do
not depend on any one method
anywhere nor do they use all methods
everywhere. To speed up the process
of agricultural production in a devel-
oping area, they develop an advisory
system by selecting methods that give


reasonably acceptable results for the
costs, the recommendations of wide
acceptance and use, and maximum
support to the other practices used
by the cultivators.
A good approximation at once is
far better for cultivators just beginning
in modern agriculture than a long and
expensive wait for precise results.
The more precise data give their full
advantage only in a fully developed,
advanced soil use system where skill-
ful cultivators can make small differ-
ences in practices for high production
that they could not at first understand.
The great need now is to make more
substantial progress toward the great
potential abundance in our soils by
making full use of geographic correla-
tion with the best soil maps available,
and systems of simple testing methods,
for individual recommendations. These
can be improved with more elaborate
and expensive methods as the local
people have the income and the skills
to benefit from them.
And, of course, additional food
potentials exist in the sea and in the
lakes and streams. These have not
been considered here-only the soils.
Progress will require increased edu-
cation and skill. Fertilizers are needed
from the start on nearly all soils of the
newly developing countries. They will
reward the cultivator only if the
fertilizer and the associated practices,
including crop selection, to make it
effective are fitted properly to the
kind of soil he cultivates.

Administrator (for Soil Survey), Soil
Conservation Service. He received his doctor's
degree from Michigan State University
in 1929 and served on the staffs at the
University of Wisconsin and North Dakota
State University. He has headed the Soil
Survey since July 1934. His work has
taken him to many foreign countries as a
representative of the United States or
as a guest of foreign institutes. He was
awarded the degree of doctor of science
by Gembloux (Belgium), North Dakota
State University, and Ghent (Belgium).

Soil Conservation,

a World Movement


MEN FROM MANY countries have come
to the United States to study ways to
protect the soil and augment its pro-
Most of them were sent by their
governments. Men from Kenya, the
Union of South Africa, Cyprus, the
Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasa-
land, and Basutoland came first, in
the thirties. Twenty-five specialists in
agriculture from Central America,
South America, and Mexico arrived
in 1943; they knew the agriculture of
their countries but were uninformed
on modern methods of conserving soil
and water.
Several thousands since then have
come to work for a year or more with
technicians and study at universities.
When they return home, they set up
training programs for professional
Their studies embrace the manage-
ment of soil; the use of soil and water
in irrigation farming; the prevention
and control of erosion; ways to im-
prove soil fertility; and newly de-
veloped or redesigned conservation
Examples of the last are stripcrop-
ping and grass waterway systems,
which have come into use on slopes in
nearly every State and in Mexico,
Australia, New Zealand, Canada,
Brazil, Venezuela, and elsewhere.


In Spain, where a few years ago
there was no sign of the modern con-
servation pattern, many large tracts
now have flowing, curved plantings
and harvesting laid out in beautiful
Other practices of ancient origin,
like the bench terracing of the Phoeni-
cians and the Incas, have been refined
after research and demonstrations in
California, Puerto Rico, and in the
mountains of Mexico.

MANY COUNTRIES recognize that con-
servation of soil and water is a key to
food production for growing popula-
tions and that soil must be kept pro-
ductive year after year.
In the United States, per-acre in-
creases in yields made possible in
part by progress in soil and water
conservation, have enabled us to grow,
on fewer acres, agricultural products
to meet ever-rising needs. Thus we
have been able to take out of cultiva-
tion many acres that are not suited for
continued cropping and to compen-
sate for the food production lost on
much good land that has been taken
over by homes, industrial plants, high-
ways, and other nonagricultural uses.
Other countries, including Mexico,
Australia, New Zealand, and the
Republic of South Africa, also have
experienced significant per-acre in-
creases in yields. All have excellent
conservation programs, in which large
numbers of technicians work directly
with farmers and ranchers.
Italy and Taiwan are examples of
small and heavily populated countries
that have profited from conservation.

FOUR OBJECTIVES of soil conservation
in the United States are:
To control soil erosion at all times
and prevent soil damage in the future.
To use the better soils, wherever
crops can be grown efficiently, for
greater net gain per acre. The aim is
to help the farmer reach a level of
income and standard of living closer
to that of managers in industrial

To convert land least suitable for
cultivation to pastures, forestry, rec-
reation, and wildlife or other uses in
which the soil is not disturbed.
To protect and hold in reserve soils
not needed but potentially suited to
cultivation until there is a demand for
farm commodities from them or until
they may be needed for the balancing
of efficient farm units.
Good progress is being made in
planned conversions in land use in
our country. The acreage converted
by soil conservation district coopera-
tors to less intensive long-term uses
exceeded 21.5 million acres during
1952-1961. The conversions included
cropland converted to grass and woods.
The Soviet Union also has converted
much land not suitable for crop pro-
duction to conservation uses, such as
forests and grass or water storage. In
the regions of loess-highly erodible,
wind-laid soil materials-thousands of
gullies have been healed through con-
version of cropland to grass. Soviet
technicians and farmers have become
adept in controlling the type of gully-
ing peculiar to loess soils.

AN EXAMPLE of scientifically planned
clearing, plowing, and cropping of new
lands can be seen in Zambia, Malawi,
and Southern Rhodesia. Farmers and
agricultural specialists there have had
the unique experience of developing an
agriculture largely on virgin land.
They have used soil surveys, in terms
of land capability, as the base for
planning. Most other countries have
had to superimpose a conservation
agriculture on used lands, many of
them eroded and depleted of their
natural fertility.
Aside from the United States and
the Soviet Union, no large country
seems to have used the land conversion
principle very much. Extensive, sparse-
ly settled land does not lend itself to
this particular kind of planning be-
cause there is no need for it; nor does
a large, densely populated country,
such as India, because the urgency for
total use of the lands of all categories


does not allow the money, time, and
effort required.
In this period of increasing popula-
tions nearly everywhere, the four prin-
ciples and objectives of soil conserva-
tion, if used persistently in planning
for conservation, could help greatly in
solving the problems connected with
unbalanced, overbalanced, or uncer-
tain production.
Control of erosion is a fundamental
consideration because not even a good
crop of grass seed, an indispensable
item in any soil conservation project,
can be grown on eroded land.

IN CONNECTION with problems of using
water in semiarid countries, the Snowy
Mountains scheme of Australia, the
world's driest continent, wherein three
river systems are being diverted to
convert hundreds of miles of arid but
fertile plains to productive land, is an
interesting endeavor.
The Snowy Mountains Authority,
the agency responsible for the under-
taking-half completed in 1964-has
adopted intensive soil conservation
methods wherever the natural vegeta-
tion and soil surface have been dis-
turbed. Drainage is controlled by use
of a combination of stone and steel
drains, grassed waterways, absorption
and contour banks (terraces), and
settling ponds. Mechanical stabiliza-
tion of steep slopes is achieved by net-
works of woven wickerwork fences,
brush matting, and bitumen sprays.
Revegetation follows mechanical
stabilization. White clover has been
used extensively. Trees, particularly
willow and poplar, have been widely
To control erosion, grazing has been
eliminated on much of the high plains
that comprise the watersheds of the
various storage works. The deteriora-
tion of pasture cover because of harm-
ful grazing practices, including burning
the dry grass tops after the snow melted
each spring, had been a serious erosion
problem in Australia.
Grazing on much of the Snowy
Mountains country is strictly con-

trolled to prevent silting of the res-
ervoirs and damage to slopes.
Values of the Snowy Mountains
scheme, started in 1946, have become
apparent. Its two main products-
power for new industries and irriga-
tion water for agriculture-and its
important byproducts, recreation and
an anticipated tourist industry, are in
The soil conservation works, which
have been largely done by the Soil
Conservation Service of New South
Wales and the Soil Conservation
Authority of Victoria, are recognized
as assurance that a valuable national
asset will not depreciate through un-
controlled gullying, siltation, or de-
struction of the vegetation.
In the State of Israel, where water is
a limiting factor in agriculture, a
Soil Conservation Service has been
functioning since shortly after the
country was established in 1948.
Conservation plans were operating
in 1964 on all land used for cultiva-
tion; a third is under irrigation. Con-
touring of different types is used;
broad-base terraces are prominent
in the landscape. Water is conserved
in all possible ways, including care-
fully designed waterway systems, mul-
tiple-purpose ponds, and judicious
watering for irrigation.

SOME PROJECTS involve a studied use of
conservation techniques for opening
virgin land for farming and grazing.
An example is the huge Sabi Catch-
ment in Zambia, Malawi, and South-
ern Rhodesia. Soil surveys were made
of the region, which had never been
disturbed by man. The land was clas-
sified in detail for various uses. All
clearing, opening of grassland and for-
est, plowing, and other operations have
been done in accordance with the clas-
sification plan.
In the Republic of South Africa,
district committees are advised to give
special attention to the planning of
watersheds, big or small, for complete
conservation. Specific practices, such
as construction of contour banks, re-


ceive priority. The soil conservation
department of the Ministry of Agricul-
ture is helping the districts through an
intensive educational program in ad-
dition to technical assistance. Lectures
and demonstrations are planned for all
farmers in areas where there has been
a definite decline in the number of
farms planned for conservation.
Working toward conservation of a
complete river basin, the Soil and
Water Conservation Department of
Colombia has started from scratch to
make surveys and plans in the prov-
inces of Huila, Cordoba, Magdalena,
and Guabira. The surveys include all
the rich alluvial lands of the Sinu
River Basin.
Experiments have been undertaken
to determine ways to conserve the
soils of steep lands used for coffee
production in Colombia. Five methods
of contour planting, conforming with
the same number of slope gradients,
have been recommended for establish-
ment of all coffee plantations. Other
experiments involve the use of waste
materials from coffee harvesting and
processing to restore organic matter to
The United States Department of
Agriculture and ministries in other
countries maintain close working re-
lationships. Especially in research to
develop new practices for tropical
countries is a continuous correspond-
ence carried on among scientists and
technicians of the two Americas.
Chile in 1962 published an agrarian
reform law, which made ownership of
agricultural land contingent upon its
proper use and improvement.
Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Rio
Grande do Sul in Brazil organized
agencies that provide farmers with
technical assistance in solving soil and
water conservation problems.
In S2o Paulo, the first measures to
protect the soil against erosion were
taken in 1938, when the provincial
department of agriculture created a
terracing service. The agency was
replaced in 1940 by the Division of
Conservation, which became the ad-

ministrative unit for a Teaching and
Training Service, a Technical Assist-
ance Service, and an Expansion (Ex-
tension) Service. Special courses in
soil mapping, conservation planning,
and the application of conservation
practices are provided for college
graduates by the Teaching and Train-
ing Service. The Technical Assist-
ance Service supplies the technical
help that farmers need to apply con-
servation practices to the land. The
State is divided into io area conserv-
ancies. These are subdivided into 99
conservation units, which serve 505
townships. Equipment and. an oper-
ator to do conservation work are fur-
nished to the farmer on a rental basis.
In Rio Grande do Sul, the Soil and
Forest Conservation Service was cre-
ated in 1946 under the direction of the
secretary of agriculture. A Renewable
Resources Section was formed in 1956.
It includes the Soil Conservation Serv-
ice, which operates in 7 regions through
30 conservation units.

Union is in the tradition of early
Russian soil scientists, who were lead-
ers in the basic research into the na-
ture, genesis, and geography of soils
and soil classification. Conservation
needs and practices are included in
all farm plans, so that there are rela-
tively few instances of seriously mis-
used soils. Even in the newly opened
lands, care is given to protect soils
subject to wind erosion.
Vegetative practices for erosion con-
trol, such as tree planting and good
management of grass, are used in most
parts of the country. Shelterbelts and
windbreaks to protect crops against
hot winds and soil blowing and some-
times to control runoff are used on
collective and state farms. Legume-
grass mixtures are given emphasis in
acid podzolic soils and peat soils to
maintain soil fertility. Essentially all
farms have plans of crop rotation.
A water-conserving practice used in
northern Kazakhskaya and other areas
of the Soviet Union is snow ridging


with tractor-drawn machines. The
machines pack snow and push it into
contour ridges to hold as much as
possible on the field. It is said that as
much as a thousand tons of additional
water per hectare (2.471 acres) can
be conserved as soil moisture by this
The Republic of the Philippines is a
leader in soil conservation among
Pacific regions. Despite limited finan-
cial support and other difficulties, the
Philippine Soil Conservation Service
has completed soil surveys of 25 million
acres and erosion surveys on io mil-
lion acres.
Nearly ioo thousand acres have been
covered under cooperative soil con-
servation work. Numerous demonstra-
tions and scattered areas have been
treated with conservation plans and
practices. A handicap to overall con-
servation is the predominance of small
landholdings-2 to 4 acres. Conserva-
tionists have begun a concerted effort
among the country's conservation
agencies to correct the situation. They
advocate a type of land reform that
would permit formation of districts
including a large number of small
farms to be treated as a unit for con-
servation planning.
Another island country, Malagasy
Republic-Madagascar-with nearly
5 million inhabitants, has a conserva-
tion program that is an interesting
example of how the idea of soil con-
servation can be retained in the trans-
formation of a country from colonial
status to a republic.
Another interesting point is that the
great island is near Kenya, the east
African country where the work of
conservation has been carried on for
In 1940, Kenya, then a colony, dis-
patched its newly appointed soil con-
servation official to the United States
to learn about American methods. He
returned to Kenya to encourage the
conservation of Kenya's grazing lands,
managed almost wholly by native
In 1963, soon after Kenya was pro-

nounced a republic, the country's con-
servationists announced that 7 million
acres had been brought under conser-
vation use and protection. Loans from
the World Bank have helped Kenya
expand its program to include work to
improve tenure of land and farm
The Agricultural Rehabilitation and
Development Act was enacted in Can-
ada in 1962. It established a nation-
wide soil and water conservation and
development program. Work started
at once on about a dozen development
and research areas that covered large
acreages and included a number of
communities. Funds were appropri-
ated and plans were made for an initial
3-year phase of the program to end
April I, 1965. The Provinces, all of
which have carried on soil and water
conservation programs for some years,
benefited financially from the national
The Soil Conservation Service of
New South Wales in Australia has a
plant-hire plan, whereby heavy equip-
ment is available to farmers for build-
ing terracing systems and dams and do
other work in conservation. Officials of
several South American countries have
planned to use a similar scheme.
In China, an ambitious soil conser-
vation plan, involving a vast region
between the Yellow River and the
Wei, with deeply eroded and gullied
loess soil, was announced in 1955. It
was to be carried out in connection
with irrigation schemes, some of which
have been completed, to reclaim urgent-
ly needed cultivable land. Nothing is
known of the plan for soil conservation
between the great rivers. Also un-
known is the fate of the painstakingly
assembled soil and water conservation
experiment station and demonstra-
tions, flourishing in 1945, at Tien-Shui
in Kansu.
Across a few miles of the South China
Sea, on the large island of Taiwan,
Chinese have developed a soil and
water conservation program. About
500 trained technicians work closely
with farmers on the island.


In India, Pakistan, and the Sahara
fringes, work to halt desert creep has
been started in thousands of small
projects. Dune-control methods that
have been successful in certain places
in the Great Plains, Northwest coastal
areas, and dune areas of the Great
Lakes region have been used.
Surveys by Pakistani and United
States conservation technicians in Pak-
istan revealed that, aside from desert
creep, flash runoff from monsoon rains,
destruction of vegetation by overgraz-
ing, up-and-down hill cultivation, and
lack of vegetated contour bunds-ter-
races-are primary causes of extensive
Practical demonstrations of soil and
water conservation methods suitable
for Pakistan's different climatic and
topographic areas were set up for the
benefit of farm families and for train-
ing technicians, a procedure duplicat-
ing the period before formation of soil
conservation districts in the United
A doubling of per-acre yields of food
and forage crops, realized on test fields
by use of practices to conserve moisture
and fertilizers, gave impetus to Paki-
stan's plan to organize a soil conserva-
tion program for all the country.
An educational program launched
in 1956 to teach conservation prin-
ciples and methods to Indian villagers
still farming the primitive shifting-
cultivation way was bearing fruit by
1964. This was seen in many requests
from village councils for technical aid
in reclaiming blown soils and some
tracts riddled by gullying.
A new law passed in Turkey in 1960
created a soil conservation and farm
irrigation directorate and provided
legal authorization for an unusually
broad national program for all phases
of soil and water use and conservation.
The new agency's functions extend
from prevention of erosion and flood
damage to encouraging land consoli-
dation for conservation purposes. It
includes reclamation of brushlands,
irrigation services of all kinds, soil
surveys and land capability maps,

research on soil and soil fertility, and
the organization of soil conservation
and irrigation districts or watershed
The first activity carried out was
the training of technicians at regional
centers. Each training group was
charged with the development of a
demonstration of techniques. In this
way, the initial conservation work put
on the land immediately benefits a
significant amount of the country's
agricultural soil and water resources.

A NEW EXPERIENCE for the Soil Con-
servation Service-an extension of its
regular functions to another country's
land-began in 1962. The Republic
of Tunisia requested on-the-ground
technical assistance in planning and
developing a pilot tract of nearly 250
thousand acres, to be used for demon-
stration and training.
The Tunisian Government specified
that all applicable conservation and
range management techniques be ap-
plied in a planned sequence; Tunisian
technicians would do the work and
undergo training as soil conserva-
tionists from the beginning. Funds
were supplied by the Agency for Inter-
national Development.
A second project was approved in
1963. A working agreement was signed
with the Republic of Algeria, where the
Soil Conservation Service undertook
work on four large projects in conser-
vation and land management.
The agreement designated a two-
fold purpose: To provide immediate
employment among the rural popula-
tion and to bring about better use and
conservation of agricultural land. The
agreement called specifically for ero-
sion-control structures; terracing; re-
forestation of denuded slopes; clearing
of stony lands; and construction of
water-spreading systems, wells, pits,
and cisterns to store irrigation water.
Long-range guides and a pattern
of advisory and technical services are
to be developed to become a model for
the Algerian Ministry of Agriculture
in carrying out a long-term soil and

water conservation program. The
training of Algerian technicians in
procedures for conducting such a pro-
gram is considered essential, as is also
the devising of ways to influence the
rural population in the direction of
greater appreciation of its responsibil-
ities for preservation and improvement
of land, water, and forestry resources.
The stabilization of duneland, of
great importance in northern Africa,
has been under study and experiment
in the countries north of the Sahara.
Tests in Libya whereby sand is sprayed
with a thin oil to stop blowing were
started in I963. Acacia and eucalyp-
tus trees were planted in the dunes
that had moisture below surface. The
ground was sprayed immediately.
Excellent wind erosion control and
tree growth resulted on a large area
that once was under natural forest.

THUS soil conservation has become a
world movement. Its scientific and
economic implications are beginning
to be discernible, especially in coun-
tries where conservation is the people's
concern, the governments having the
role of technical and financial sup-
porter. There soil conservation is
understood and discussed by large
numbers of people.

RoY D. HOCKENSMITH became Director,
Soil Survey Operations, Soil Conservation
Service, in i952. His worldwide experiences
include service as chairman of the Com-
mission on Soil Technology of the Inter-
national Society of Soil Science, as partic-
ipant at the United Nations Scientific
Conference on Conservation and Utilization
of Resources, and at a Food and Agriculture
Organization Conference on Land and
Water Utilization and Conservation.
PHOEBE HARRISON joined the Division
of Information, Soil Conservation Service,
in 1936. As apart of its regular information
program, the Division handles foreign
requests for information on soil and water
conservation, makes studies of programs
and developments in other countries, and
maintains records pertaining to the world
conservation movement.

Water Has a

Key Role


To KEEP PACE with the needs of the
billion persons who have entered the
world since 1940 and the needs of
countless others who want to be better
fed and clothed, agricultural produc-
tion must rise. Agriculture can keep
up, but not without greater efforts to
increase efficiency and to expand into
undeveloped regions.
Agricultural production can advance
in two ways. One is to use more acres
of potential arable land. The other is
to increase the efficiency of utilization
of the land now farmed. Expanding
irrigation may be an absolute neces-
sity to extend crop acreage; it may be
the most productive of all possible
improvements on present cropland.
Water is the key. It makes possible
the full use of technology in farming-
the proper application of fertilizers,
suitable crop rotations, the best of
adapted varieties, and so forth.
Too little attention is being given to
irrigation in districts that already have
a high rate of output. Too much
attention is given to the glamorous
projects that will make the deserts
bloom. We might better concentrate
our limited capital to extending
irrigation into the existing farmlands
rather than developing new areas.
Nevertheless, the prospects that fire
the imaginations of engineers and
planners are the zones where agri-
culture has made little progress.


One is the arid zone, which occupies
more than one-third of the landmass
of the globe. Most of it is in the Tropics.
Deserts cover 37 percent of Africa but
only io percent of South America.
The arid zones are rich in solar energy.
Their soils generally are rich in
nutrients, but they lack water.
Another zone is the subpolar belt.
There the challenge is to select early
maturing crops for the short growing
season and to discover economically
feasible ways to control the effects of
the untimely frosts, chilling winds,
and occasional droughts.
Tropical rain forests have a great
potential. The forested, humid Tropics
occupy 41 percent of the total area of
Africa and 43 percent of South Amer-
ica. They produce an enormous mass
of vegetable substance, although the
land itself generally is not fertile. The
big question is whether to try to pro-
duce conventional food crops or by
research to try to find a way to convert
the canopy of the forests to usable pro-
tein extracts. It could well be that the
tropical belt can be made to yield a
vast supply of food from the leaves.
Irrigation was used on 370 million
acres in the production of crops in the
early sixties. This estimate is based on
my appraisal of available reports from
95 countries and territories. (By irriga-
tion we mean that water is artificially
applied to the land or rainfall is arti-
ficially held on the land, as in paddies.)
Thus at that time 13 percent of the
world's arable land was under irriga-
tion. The major regions of the world
had the following percentages of the
total irrigation: Europe, 5-9; the Soviet
Union, 8.3; Asia, 64.8; Africa, 3.8;
Oceania, 0.6; South America, 3.2; and
North America, 13.4. The United
States had io percent.
The hydroelectric capacity of Africa
is estimated at two-fifths of the world's
capacity, but it has no comparable
potential for irrigation. Roughly 4 mil-
lion acres are under irrigation in Africa
south of the Sahara and 8 million acres
in northern and northwestern Africa.
The whole continent has a potential

of about 36 million acres-about the
same as the irrigated acreage in the
United States in 1964.
This estimate assumes that the total
area under irrigation will reach 12 mil-
lion to 14 million acres in trans-Sahara
Africa; 14 million to I6 million acres
in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and the
United Arab Republic; and possibly
o1 million acres of swamplands that
could be drained and given supple-
mental irrigation.
The perennial and seasonal swamps,
a striking feature of Africa, cover about
I25 thousand square miles. The more
important are the Niger Delta, Lake
Chad, the fresh water swamps of
Nigeria, the Congo Basin, and the
Kafue flats in Zambia. Their immen-
sity suggests the possibility of draining
and pumping schemes, but whether it
is feasible and economically attainable
is a question.
A o-year program of the Govern-
ment of Tunisia to bring its irrigated
area up to 151 thousand acres in-
cludes dams for water storage to irri-
gate 43 thousand acres; drilled wells to
irrigate 14 thousand acres; and dug
wells and other small water develop-
ments to provide water for 19 thousand
acres. Irrigation works had been devel-
oped in 1962 for 74 thousand acres.
Estimates are that the full development
of all water resources in Tunisia could
provide enough water to irrigate 740
thousand acres.
Morocco has made prodigious efforts
to advance irrigation agriculture-to
make the country the California of
Africa. The National Office of Irriga-
tion, whose staff numbered 8 thousand
in 1964, is regarded as of unusual com-
petence. Each year between 1955 and
1964, an average of 34 thousand acres
were added to the irrigated area.

MEXICO had about io.6 million acres
under irrigation in 1964. Of that,
about 6.9 million acres had been de-
veloped by the government and 3.7
million by private enterprise.
There, as elsewhere in the world,
rehabilitation of the oldest irrigation

areas has become necessary because of
salinization. The rehabilitation of
seven irrigation districts has been un-
dertaken through two loans from the
International Bank for Reconstruction
and Development. The Ministry of
Agriculture embarked on a program
to finance the improvement of new
irrigated areas (some 173 thousand
acres a year) and the rehabilitation of
about 494 thousand acres a year. The
total area proposed for irrigation in
new projects is nearly 3 million acres.
A large part of the irrigation in
Central America has been developed
by private enterprise, but nearly all
the governments of these small coun-
tries started irrigation projects in the
Information from United Nations
sources included these figures on the
irrigated acreages and the percentages
of arable land under irrigation: Guate-
mala, 99 thousand, 2.7 percent; Hon-
duras, 82 thousand, 3.3; El Salvador,
49 thousand, 2.6; Nicaragua, 30 thou-
sand, 0.4; Costa Rica, 37 thousand,
5.3; Panama, 35 thousand, 3.1. Of a
total of about 18 million acres of arable
land in the six countries, 332 thousand
acres-1.9 percent-were irrigated in
the early sixties.

NEARLY ALL the island countries of the
Caribbean have been pursuing active
irrigation programs.
A survey by the Food and Agricul-
ture Organization in 1953 indicated
the countries had started projects that
would put ioo thousand acres under
irrigation and had scheduled projects
that would irrigate another 60 thou-
sand acres.
The Dominican Republic has made
plans to increase its irrigated acreage
by more than 250 thousand acres.
In Haiti, projects under construction
in 1964 were designed to bring into
irrigation 175 thousand acres.
Puerto Rico has a multipurpose proj-
ect to irrigate 26 thousand acres.
The United Nations reported the
following irrigated acreages and per-
centages of arable land:

The Dominican Republic, 334 thou-
sand, 19.9 percent; Haiti, 161 thou-
sand, 6.1; Cuba, 148 thousand, 3.0;
Puerto Rico, 96 thousand, 12.4; Ja-
maica, 54 thousand, 9.5.
The five countries thus had about 793
thousand acres (of a total of 10.6 mil-
lion acres of tillable land) under irri-

SOUTH AMERICA has comparatively
abundant water resources, whose full
potential has hardly been touched.
Most of the continent has enough
rainfall for farming, but roughly a
million square miles are deficient in
total annual rainfall, and other dis-
tricts are subject to major seasonal
The main arid zones are in Argen-
tina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, and Vene-
zuela. Colombia and Ecuador have
smaller ones. In what is known as the
drought polygon in northeastern Bra-
zil, rainfall is highly irregular.
Three-fourths of the irrigation in
South America is in Argentina, Chile,
and Peru. The irrigated land used for
crops and the percentages of arable
land in 1963 were:
Argentina, 2,772 thousand acres, 3.7
percent; Bolivia, 160 thousand, 2.1;
Brazil, 865 thousand, 1.8; British
Guiana, 148 thousand, 4.3; Chile,
3,370 thousand, 24.7; Colombia, 544
thousand, 4.3; Ecuador, 425 thousand,
8.3; Paraguay, 30 thousand, 2.3; Peru,
2,995 thousand, 62.0; Surinam, 35
thousand, 40.7; Uruguay, 64 thou-
sand, 1.o; Venezuela, 642 thousand,
The I2 countries thus had a total of
about 189 million acres of arable land,
of which 12 million acres-6.4 per-
cent-were irrigated.
The development of irrigation rela-
tive to need and relative to the rest of
the world has been gradual. Many
countries in South America have failed
to provide regular and continuous fi-
nancing for the construction and main-
tenance of the larger number of irriga-
tion projects on which construction has
been reported.


Available records for 1960 show little
increase over records for 1950, but proj-
ects started or planned since 1954 are
a sign of considerable momentum. A
study by the United Nations Economic
Commission for Latin America in 1963
estimated that 32 million acres, or
more than 15 percent of the cultivated
land, needed irrigation.
Chile has good resources of land and
water for the further development of
irrigation on about 5 million acres.
The Ministry of Public Works inau-
gurated an irrigation program to put
1.2 million acres under irrigation.
Studies have been started on projects
that could bring in 1.6 million acres.
Peru, too, has good water resources
and also can expand its irrigation by
several million acres. New projects in
Peru would provide water to about 1.8
million acres. The irrigation of 1.4
million acres more may be possible.
In Brazil, where irrigation has been
of minor importance, five separate proj-
ects under construction and planned
in 1964 could add 270 thousand acres.
In Bolivia, two projects involve 40
thousand acres; projects under investi-
gation could add 500 thousand acres.
Argentina began several projects and
has many others under study that
could more than double its irrigation.
Argentina has received United Na-
tions Special Fund technical assistance
in the study of the Viedma Valley in
the lower Rio Negro River Basin.

THE 1959 census reported that slightly
more than 33 million acres in the
United States were irrigated, an in-
crease of 7.3 million acres in Io years.
Over several decades, irrigation has
progressed steadily at the rate of about
750 thousand acres a year.
I estimate that about 37 million acres
were irrigated in 1963. Farmers are
equipped to irrigate at least 40 million
acres if water supplies are available in
the West and if there is a need in the
humid East.
The United States can still advance
its irrigation. A modest rate of increase
can be expected over the long run. In

any one year, the amount of irrigation
could decline where water supplies in
the West are low, economic conditions
are unfavorable, or rainfall is adequate
in the East.
The upper limit of irrigation in the
United States is estimated to be about
70 million to 75 million acres-about
50 million acres in this century.

CANADA has vast water resources and
has undertaken great waterworks for
navigation and power.
Little development of water supplies
for irrigation has been undertaken be-
cause natural water supplies generally
are adequate for the best adapted type
of agriculture.
Canada has developed 20 million
kilowatts of hydroelectric capacity out
of a total estimated feasible capacity
of some 53 million.
Of the 3 million acres of potentially
irrigable land in major projects in the
western Provinces, 1.5 million acres
have been or are in the process of
being developed.
The major irrigation districts in
Alberta actually irrigated 545 thou-
sand acres out of a classified irrigable
area of 90o thousand acres in 1960.
In British Columbia, the major irri-
gation districts, with an irrigable area
of 400 thousand acres, irrigated a total
of 218 thousand acres in 1962.
In Saskatchewan, 54 Provincial irri-
gation projects in 1961 covered some
440 thousand acres.
Under construction in 1964 were the
St. Mary project in Alberta, to add
214 thousand acres of new irrigation
to the 510 thousand acres already in
the project; the Bow River project
west of Medicine Hat in Alberta,
whose potential is 240 thousand acres;
and the South Saskatchewan River
Development project for 500 thousand
acres in central Saskatchewan.

THE AMOUNT of irrigation in southern
Europe is relatively small-about Io
percent of the cultivated land-in
relation to arable lands that could
benefit by irrigation. Studies of irri-

gable land and available water devel-
opment potential indicate that 24
percent of the farmlands could be
brought under irrigation.
In southern Europe, irrigation makes
possible a wide choice of crops and ro-
tations and contributes to the diversifi-
cation and intensification of farming.
In the Mediterranean countries, the
influence of irrigation is small for
winter crops and great for spring crops.
Irrigation is not so vital in France
and Yugoslavia, where irrigation is a
matter of supplementing the nearly
adequate natural precipitation.
Adjusted data for seven countries in
I96o included, respectively, the acres
of irrigated land and the percentages
of cultivated land that were then and
potentially could be irrigated: Cy-
prus, 195 thousand acres, 18.2 percent,
23.3 percent; France, 6,178 thousand
acres, I .6 percent, 20.4 percent;
Greece, 899 thousand acres, 10.3 per-
cent, 32.3 percent; Israel, 334 thou-
sand acres, 31.1 percent, 54 percent;
Italy, 6,864 thousand acres, 17.5 per-
cent, 23.8 percent; Spain, 4,524 thou-
sand acres, 8.6 percent, 21.2 percent;
Yugoslavia, 297 thousand acres, 1.4
percent, 35.9 percent.

THE EXTENT of irrigation in northern
Europe varies because of differences in
rainfall, soil conditions, and the type
of agriculture. Further expansion of
irrigation will not be so great as in
southern Europe, mainly because the
need is less great.
Irrigation in the northern regions is a
safeguard against crop damage during
occasional dry periods. In places that
have high winds and heavy evapora-
tion, sprinkler irrigation is valuable.
Some crops, particularly vegetables,
have requirements beyond the nor-
mally heavy rainfall. Extra water is re-
quired also in places of highly pervious
soils. Vineyards in Germany (195
thousand acres in 1962) are irrigated
for frost control.
Irrigation in northern Europe in-
creases grain yields by 20 to 50 per-
cent. Yields of sugarbeets have been

increased 70 to 80 percent and potato
yields, 60 to ioo percent.
Much of the irrigation in Europe is
by sprinklers. Flood irrigation is used
principally in valleys and mostly for
meadows and pastures. Flush irriga-
tion, used in mountainous areas, can
be carried out by simple means but
is wasteful of water and requires that a
field be cut up by numerous ditches.

ARTIFICIAL regulation of the water
table, which is possible only in fairly
permeable soils, is used mainly in the
Netherlands. The level of ground water
must be regulated precisely for the
production of flower bulbs.
The European Commission on Agri-
culture in 1961 reported these figures
as to the acres and percentages of
cultivated land that are irrigated:
Austria, 67 thousand acres, 1.5 per-
cent; Belgium, 117 thousand acres,
5 percent; Denmark, 74 thousand
acres, 1.1 percent; the Federal Re-
public of Germany, 642 thousand
acres, 3.1 percent; the Netherlands,
2,065 thousand acres, 80.4 percent;
Norway, 15 thousand acres, 0.7 per-
cent; Poland, 514 thousand acres, 1.3
percent; Sweden, 62 thousand acres,
0.7 percent; Switzerland, 52 thousand
acres, 4.8 percent.
Figures as to potential irrigation, as
percentages of all cultivated land,
were: Austria, 9.7; Belgium, 16.8;
Denmark, I.i; Federal Republic of
Germany, 9.4; the Netherlands, 96.3;
Norway, 0.7; Poland, 14-5; Sweden,
0.7; Switzerland, 9.3.

THE SOVIET UNION has a landmass of
8.65 million square miles, three times
the size of the 48 contiguous United
States, but has only 470 million acres in
farms, or about 9 percent of its area.
Most of the Soviet agriculture is in
the fertile triangle, which extends from
the Baltic and Black Seas eastward to
south-central Siberia as far as the
upper valley of the Yenisei River. Six
of the Soviet Union's largest rivers,
the Dnepr, Don, Volga, Yana, Irtysh,
and Ob, flow through the region.


Most of the territory south of 500
north latitude has an average rainfall
of 4 to 16 inches a year. Its major rivers
are the Dnepr, which flows into the
Black Sea; the Don, which empties
into the Sea of Azov; the Volga and
Ural Rivers, which enter the Caspian
Sea; and the two Darya Rivers, which
flow into the Aral Sea.
The eastern part has a great number
of channels formerly occupied by
streams-an indication that the region
has become dry through the centuries.
The Soviets have announced ex-
traordinary plans to develop the water
resources of this south-central region.
Soviet 5-year plans always have
listed huge targets for increased irriga-
tion. Since the severe winter of 1962-
1963 and the drought of the summer of
1963 caused Russia to make large
purchases of grain abroad, the Soviets
can be expected to accelerate their
reclamation programs. In order to
obtain a guaranteed crop of 30 million
tons a year, they have announced
plans of investing the equivalent of
15 billion dollars in new irrigation
projects and new irrigated farms.
In irrigated acreage, the Soviet
Union ranks with China, India, and
the United States. Before the revolu-
tion in 1917, Russia had fewer than 6
million irrigated acres. More than 13
million acres had been irrigated by
1932. The first 5-year plan added
nearly 3 million acres. The irrigated
area reported in 1949 was 23.7 million
acres and 30.7 million acres in 1958.
A scheme launched in 1955 was to
use the water of the Syr Darya River
to reclaim some 741 thousand acres of
the "hungry steppe" of central Asia.
Its main feature is a canal with an
irrigation network designed to provide
water to 390 thousand acres. Two
smaller canals were designed to irrigate
119 thousand and 151 thousand acres.
On the Amu Darya River, the Kara
Kum Canal diverts water from the
Amu Darya to the water-deficient
Murgab and Tedjen Rivers. Its first
stage is some 248 miles long and can
irrigate 250 thousand acres. Ultimately

the main canal will extend some 560
miles and will irrigate more than a
million acres.
Dams on the Dnepr are being built
with a view to irrigating some 3.7
million acres in southern Ukraine and
northern Crimea. Its main canal, 263
miles long, is designed to supply water
to 900 thousand acres.
Plans for dams on the Volga would
provide water for 2 million acres in
the Caspian-trans-Volga regions. The
Volga region has fertile soils, but its
rainfall is irregular, and occasional
droughts are severe.
Plans call for transforming the Volga
into seven reservoirs along its entire
course, with dams to regulate the
river discharge and provide hydro-
electric generation of a yearly output
of o1 billion kilowatt-hours of energy.
The Volga is to be linked to the Ural
River by the 370-mile Stalingrad
Canal, which is designed to bring
about 1.5 million acres under irriga-
tion. It is to be linked to the Don River
by the 63-mile Volga-Don Canal.
The development of the Don River
calls for a system of main and lateral
canals to irrigate 1.87 million acres.
One large reservoir will have a capac-
ity of Io million acre-feet. Smaller
reservoirs will be built on the tribu-
taries. The main canal will be 118
miles long and the total length of the
laterals will be 353 miles. A special
feature will be a system of 140 pump-
ing stations.
It has been said that the Soviet
Union can put about 102 million acres
under irrigation, about half of it in
central Asia, Kazakhskaya, and Trans-
Caucasia. That would mean a twofold
to threefold increase in irrigation in
drought areas. Russia in 1962 re-
ported advanced planning and con-
struction on projects to irrigate 16
million acres.
A plan advanced by the Soviet
engineers (as reported in Scientific
American in September 1963) would
dam off the Great Ob and Yenisei
Rivers, which flow north to the Arctic,
connect the reservoirs thus formed by

a canal, and then use canals, rivers,
and lakes to transport the water south
to the Aral Sea and the Caspian. The
achievement of that project and others
would mean that Russia may be the
first nation to make any sizable rec-
lamation of the great deserts of the

IRRIGATION is important in all Asia,
but I give some details of only a few
countries in which irrigation is most
Pakistan had 27.4 million acres
under irrigation in 1963. West Paki-
stan is dry, and much of the farming
depends on irrigation. East Pakistan
has abundant rainfall during the
monsoon season of 4 or 5 months. In
East Pakistan's tropical climate, irri-
gation could bring about the produc-
tion of one or two additional crops
during the 7 or 8 months of dry
East Pakistan, with its Brahmaputra-
Ganges-Meghna River complex, has
been a dreamland of planners of water
resource developments. Their plans
fill volumes but overlook some basic
facts and ignore the fundamental
human and social environment. For
example, the Brahmaputra-Ganges
multipurpose development of seven
major schemes would supposedly con-
vert East Bengal in 30 years into a
land of plenty for its burgeoning pop-
ulation of 50 million.
A start was made on one part, the
Ganges-Kobadak, which would pro-
vide for flood protection and irrigation
of 2.2 million acres. Plans were made
in 1952. Work started in 1954 as part
of East Pakistan's first 5-year plan.
Targets were to irrigate 150 thousand
acres by 1958 and another 50 thousand
acres by 1960. A large amount of
scarce investment funds was spent,
and much precious land was taken
from thousands of cultivators for a
huge network of canals that were used
only in part for the first time in 1963.
The first phase of the first unit was
opened with ceremonies in 1962, but
effective operation of the scheme failed
712-224"-64- 7

to be achieved. Many major problems
of civil engineering remained un-
solved in 1964.

IRRIGATION has been practiced in
India since ancient times.
Nearly 58 million acres were irri-
gated in 1959-35 percent by govern-
ment projects. The acreage in 1959 is a
gain of 6.3 million over that in 1951.
India in 1963 irrigated nearly 20
percent of her cultivated area, yet the
utilization of the water resources of
her major rivers is far from complete.
Only a little more than 5 percent of
the annual flow of the nine most im-
portant rivers is withdrawn for irriga-
tion. The target of the third 5-year
plan of India is 90 million acres of
irrigated land-nearly 30 percent of
the average planted acreage in India.
The long-term objective of Indian
planners is to bring about 175 million
acres under irrigation.
All reports I have seen indicate that
China has more farmland under irri-
gation than any nation. The Produc-
tion Yearbook of the Food and
Agriculture Organization shows an
unofficial report of 183 million acres
irrigated in I960-more than twice
the acreage reported for i957.
A news report in I960 quoted
Chinese authorities that mainland
China had irrigated 70 percent of her
266 million cultivated acres-a total
of 186 million acres irrigated. The
report may be untrue, for it came at a
time when China was exaggerating
details of its agricultural production
for political reasons.
China had 16 percent (42.5 million
acres) of her cultivated land under ir-
rigation in 1949. It is unlikely that
China increased her irrigation by 120
million acres in Io years. China
claimed in 1958 to have half of her
farmland-167 million acres-under
irrigation and announced the launch-
ing of a program to bring 80 percent
of the farmland under irrigation.
In making comparisons of irrigated
land, we should remember that much
of the irrigation in the Far East is so-


called "rainfed" irrigation, mostly
paddy. The system involves little, if
any, artificial control over water. The
paddies are basins that hold the rain.
Water may be lifted into the basins
during an occasional dry period.
The figure that is considered most
accurate, the one published by the In-
ternational Commission on Irrigation
and Drainage in 1955, is 77.3 million
irrigated acres in mainland China.
Mountainous Japan has 0oo million
acres of land, only about 15 percent of
which is tillable. Seven million acres
were under irrigation in 1950 and 8.5
million acres in 1960.
Japan has undertaken several large
projects. The first was the Aichi Irri-
gation project, for which World Bank
financing was obtained. It benefits 75
thousand acres, of which 41 thousand
acres of existing paddy fields are sup-
plied additional water, 28 thousand
acres of upland fields are irrigated, and
6 thousand acres are newly reclaimed
paddy fields.
A project on the Tedori River to be
completed in 1966 will distribute
muddy irrigation water in order to
build up the existing thin layer of soil
over 25 thousand acres. Its major
works include soil-hauling equipment,
mud-water mixing equipment, special
conveying pipes, and pressure pumps.
Other projects include the Nabeta
project to reclaim land from river
estuaries and provide water to 1,580
acres; the Nobi project, with 57 thou-
sand acres; the Toyokawe Irrigation
project, 54 thousand acres; and the
Iwate Sanroku Reclamation project,
30 thousand acres.

MEN since ancient times have had to
get, use, and manage water.
The aqueducts of the Roman Empire
were marvels of engineering; a con-
duit the Romans built 2 thousand
years ago to provide a water supply to
Tunis is still in use.
One modern counterpart-maybe
greater, even, than the aqueducts-is
the dredging, draining, and reclaim-
ing of the Netherlands. Holland has

been described as a sand and mud
dump left over from the ice age.
Starting about 400 B.C. with the
building of dwelling mounds by the
Frisians on the higher spots in the sea
marshes, the Dutch have fought con-
tinuously against the sea and have
made most of their productive land.
Of the total of arable land, 2,538,000
acres, 1,843,000 acres have been re-
claimed from the sea, river marshes,
and moors.
Beginning with the early mound
building, which involved moving by
hand a cubic yardage of earth equal
to that required in the original con-
struction of the Suez Canal, the work
moved into a second stage of building
seawalls and dikes. By 186o, the Dutch
had built 1,750 miles of dikes by hand.
A third stage was the digging of ditches
and canals, which drained and sepa-
rated the fields and were canals for
shipping. The ditches and canals
meant moving a billion cubic yards of
A fourth great task was the digging
of peat, which had the double purpose
of providing fuel and creating lakes,
which, when drained, gave more fertile
land than the original moors. Ten bil-
lion cubic yards were involved in the
digging of moors. In these four stages,
the Dutch had dug by hand the equiv-
alent of a ship canal 40 feet deep, 200
feet wide, and 5 thousand miles long
by I86o.
The great contemporary work is the
closing of the Zuider Zee (1926-1932),
diking and pumping the polders dry,
and building a thriving agricultural
economy. The reclamation of the
Zuider Zee is one of the greatest works
ever carried out by man. Its object was
to create 550 thousand acres of new
fertile land and provide a fresh-water
reservoir in the heart of the country.
The Dutch had a setback in their
fight against the sea in a flood in 1953,
which took 400 thousand acres of the
best tillable land in the southwest. The
reconquering and remaking of that
area have spurred those tireless people
to make bolder plans for the future.

The next great undertaking will be
the Delta scheme, the closing of the
great estuaries of the Maas and Rhine
Rivers. They expect to complete it by
1980. In the more distant future is the
Wadden reclamation, the closing of the
coast in northwestern Holland beyond
the enclosure dike of the Zuider Zee.

United States Bureau of Reclamation
in 60 years has made an outstanding
contribution to the economic develop-
ment of the West.
Its continuing work is vital to the
growth of western irrigation agricul-
ture, for private expansion of irrigation
has nearly reached its limit, easily
achieved irrigation projects are a thing
of the past, and further expansion be-
comes more difficult, more expensive.
The Bureau in 1964 had before it
134 proposals for projects and addi-
tional units that would provide full
water to nearly 3 million acres and
provide supplemental water to 1.6
million acres.
Reclamation projects from 1906
through 1962 produced a gross farm
value of all crops amounting to 18.9
billion dollars. That is five times the
cost of all reclamation projects, includ-
ing both irrigation and nonirrigation
features, such as hydropower, flood
control, and recreation and municipal
water supply. The 106 reclamation
projects and major units of projects
can provide water for 8.6 million acres
of irrigable land. Reclamation projects
in 1962 provided a full water supply for
the irrigation of 3.5 million acres, a
supplemental water service for 3.5 mil-
lion acres, and a temporary water
service to 188 thousand acres.
The Bureau of Reclamation has
built many record-breaking dams.
The 726-feet-high Hoover Dam, whose
storage capacity is 31 million acre-feet,
was completed in 1936. It kindled the
imagination of engineers around the
world and led to many larger works.
Bureau of Reclamation projects in
operation in 1963 included 216 storage
reservoirs, 136 diversion dams, 7,771

miles of main canals, 21,486 miles of
laterals, and nearly 1 thousand miles
of drains. Under construction were 23
storage dams and 2 diversion dams.
The water surface of Bureau reservoirs
covers 1.35 million acres. The hydro-
electric powerplants connected with
Bureau projects in operation and
under construction in 1963 have a
planned power capacity of more than
9 million kilowatts.
Among the mightiest projects of the
Bureau of Reclamation are the Colum-
bia Basin project, whose key feature is
the Grand Coulee Dam, which serves
about i million acres; the Central
Valley project, the Bureau's most com-
plex multipurpose project, involving
three river systems in the 500-mile-long
Central Valley of California; the Colo-
rado-Big Thompson project, which
involves more than 1oo separate major
engineering features that divert water
across the Continental Divide through
a 13-mile tunnel to provide supple-
mental water to 720 thousand acres;
the Colorado River Storage project,
which extends into 5 States and whose
4 huge dams will store 35 million
acre-feet; and the Missouri River
Basin project, which will cover io
States and ultimately provide irriga-
tion water for 3 million acres and
supplemental water to nearly 700
thousand acres of irrigated land.

ONE OF THE MOST extensive flood con-
trol and river stabilization projects in
the world is being undertaken in the
alluvial valley of the lower Mississippi
River. The complex system of levees,
floodways, controlled outlets, and
channel improvement, including cut-
offs, required to control Mississippi
floodwaters is the work of more than
150 years. The cost of works since 1927
approaches 2 billion dollars.
The Mississippi system drains
1,246,605 square miles in 31 States and
2 Provinces of Canada-41 percent of
the 48 mainland States. A flood in
1927 covered 26 thousand square miles
of land when levees broke. Several
great flows since then have been passed


to the Gulf of Mexico through the
improved flood-control works.
Today there are 1,599 miles of levees
along the Mississippi below Cairo, Ill.
In addition, there are 1,507 miles of
levees on tributary streams and 448
miles of levees in the Atchafalaya
Basin, one of the major outlets for
Mississippi floodwaters.
The levees are the best known fea-
ture of the lower Mississippi flood
control plan, but the modern program
for flood control and river improve-
ment involves several features.
Among them are reservoirs on the
tributary streams, within and outside
the alluvial valley, to hold back flood-
flow as much as practicable; levees on
the tributaries and on the Mississippi
to confine the flow to a carefully de-
signed channel and backwater area;
cutoffs on the river to speed flow down
the river and lower the flood stages at
key points in the system; revetment,
which is placed to protect flood-control
structures and to aid in stabilizing the
channel; and overbank floodways,
which divert flow from the river.
The plan also makes use of dikes,
pumping plants, siphons, floodgates,
and floodwalls.
The major remaining problem is to
stabilize the caving banks of this
meandering river. Work toward this
end has been underway for several
generations. The Mississippi is one of
the outstanding examples of a large
river on which extensive bank pro-
tection is being carried out. Many
types of works have been used on the
Mississippi and its tributaries.
Stabilizing a meandering stream the
size of the Mississippi is a stupendous
task. More than 375 million dollars
have been spent on this phase of de-
velopment since 1928. Considerable
sums were spent before 1928 by the
Government and by local levee dis-
tricts. Additional revetment, which
may cost 400 million dollars, will be
needed to halt river movement.
The tremendous energy of the river
is exerted constantly to continue its
natural meanders. The levee system

confines the flow to a channel about 3
miles wide. The width of the flood
plain averages 45 miles. The complex
phenomena that lead to bank under-
cutting and recession are not all
eliminated by the works that now
confine and regulate the flow. Engi-
neers are apprehensive that the ab-
sence of any great overflow since 1927
has led to complacency about the task
still ahead.

AROUND THE WORLD, the Tennessee
Valley Authority is the best known
and most talked-about river basin
development. Its application of a
unified approach to the development
of water resources for multiple pur-
poses has caught the attention of
water resource planners everywhere.
Countries-especially the newer
countries-want to pattern the de-
velopment of their own rivers after
TVA. To study TVA, 1,700 represent-
atives came from 86 countries in 1961,
2 thousand from 70 countries in 1962,
and 2,600 from 88 countries in 1963.
This is good, and America can be
proud of TVA's accomplishments,
but it is not all good, for two reasons.
One is that TVA has given most
emphasis to large-scale hydroelectric,
flood-control, and navigation work.
Only minor attention has been given
to agricultural development, and that
only in recent years. The TVA pattern
for an overall rich agricultural Nation
like ours may be satisfactory, but
agricultural purposes must be given
high priority in most underdeveloped
Furthermore, TVA works provide
for nearly complete regulation and
control of all the flow of the Tennessee
River-an objective that is proper
only for the most developed nations.
Few underdeveloped countries can
afford or should undertake that, no
matter how generous the foreign aid
given them. Countries with extremely
scarce capital would be well advised
to set a more limited objective for
river basin development until such
time as their agriculture, industry,

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Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs