Strategies to increase food supply

As the global population continues to increase, countries are finding ways to grow more food.

Irrigation

Irrigation can double the amount of food produced. Some parts of the world still do not have irrigation systems in place. Only 10% of the food produced in Africa comes from irrigated crops and so there is the potential to improve yields in these countries.

Aeroponics and hydroponics

Aeroponics and hydroponics are systems that allow plants to be grown without soil. Plants grown in this way take in water and nutrients efficiently. These methods are also good for countries where soil erosion or poor quality soil is an issue.

  • Aeroponics involves suspending plants in the air and spraying their roots with a fine mist of water and nutrients.
  • Hydroponics involves growing plants in a porous material (other than soil) and allowing water containing nutrients to filter through it.
A hydroponic system growing salad crops.
A hydroponic system growing salad crops

The New Green Revolution

The Green Revolution first began in the 1940s. It refers to the application of modern farming techniques in LICs, eg fertilisers and pesticides, irrigation and high-yield crop varieties. From the 1960s to 1990s, yields of rice and wheat in Asia doubled. Many LICs could still benefit from the Green Revolution.

The New Green Revolution involves using different seeds to help specific areas that are experiencing the impact of global warming, such as drought and flooding. There is also a focus on improving the nutritional value of crops, rather than just providing more calories. The New Green Revolution should help the poorest areas of the world.

Biotechnology and appropriate technology

Biotechnology is the selective breeding or genetic modification (GM) of plants and animals to produce specific traits. Both involve mixing two species, both of which have beneficial characteristics. Selective breeding has been used on dairy cows to increase milk yields. GM has been used on wheat to produce crops that are disease resistant.

Appropriate technology involves using suitable machinery and techniques in LICs. Appropriate technology is usually affordable and easy to use - it can improve yields for many communities.