• Green Revolution
– The use of technology to increase productivity of
– Started in the 1960s.
– Key success is in the Less Developed Countries
– 4 key pushes
• High-yielding varieties
• Fertilisers and pesticides
• Improved irrigation
• Strains of crops with increased growth rate.
• Developed through cross-breeding of selected
• Bred for favourable characteristics.
– Resistance to pests and diseases
– Short growing season.
– ‘wonder rice’ - 100 day rice
– IR8 (HYV rice) promoted across Asia, success in
• Substances added to provide nutrients.
• Solution to soil nutrient depletion.
–Commercial farms do not have allowance
–Land is not allowed to recover
• Fertilisers reinstate the nutrient in the
soil, helping the crop yield of HYV.
• Chemicals to kill insects and small animals
• Herbicides kill weeds (plants).
• Large amount of pests / weeds can decimate
• Use of Pesticides and Herbicides will help
maintain the crop yield.
• Manmade supplying of water to land.
• Introduction of water to arid areas
– Areas with minimal water supply
• Increased arable land worldwide
• Reclaiming desert areas as agricultural land
– Libya, Great Man-made River.
Read Pg 135
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• Used of advanced machinery to perform
• Speeds up processes
• Increases efficiency
• Reduces reliance on human labour.
• Combined Harvester, Planes, etc.
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a video on
Genetically modified food (GM)
• Food crops that have been genetically modified.
• Genes are selected based on predetermined
• Transplanting of genetic material from different
• Search for positive characteristics that would
assist in :
– Faster rate of growth
– Better quality of product
2 stages of GM food development
HYV crops (1960s – present) GM crops (1990s – present)
• Cross-breeding • Alternation of genes
Benefits • Shorter growing season
• Resistant to pests and
• Shorter growing season
• Resistant to pests and diseases
• Resistant to extreme weather
• Health benefits
Examples • Super rice
• Wonder rice
• FlavrSavr Tomato
• Golden Rice
Effects of continuing intensification of
• Intensification of food production brings
• It increases the total amount of food
• With extended intensification, there is also
large scale environmental damage.
• Waterlogging – situation where too much
water seeps into the soil and cause the soil
to be over-saturated. Roots drown.
• Water added during irrigation evaporates and
leaves salt behind.
• With insufficient drainage of excess water,
groundwater rises and brings up dissolved
• Victoria, Australia. Combination of tree
clearing and irrigation led to salinisation of
• Presence of excess nutrients in water leading
to algae bloom.
• Algae depletes oxygen and blocks sunlight
from aquatic plants.
• Large scale death of aquatic plants and
• Decomposition of aquatic organisms lead to
further depleting of oxygen.
Measures to reverse eutrophication
• Control measures to prevent nutrients from
reaching the water bodies.
– Runoff management, use of hard engineering
measures to prevent runoff from reaching the
• Raising awareness through education
– Education in schools and public education
Take a Breather
• Click on the icon below and view a couple of
short videos on Eutrophication.
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Consequences of development of
• Long-term impact on human health unknown.
• Cultivation of GM crops restricted in some
countries like Peru.
• Most countries require clear labelling for
products made from GM crops.
• Some countries ban the sale of GM crops.
Benefits GM crops bring
• Increased income for farmers
–GM increases productivity
–Pest resistant crops save money on
–Higher crop yield brings higher
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• GM allows for modification to have
• Golden Rice (higher Vitamin A)
• Able to help reduce blindness.
• Large nutritional benefit for LDCs.
Decreased Environmental Pollution
• GM crops reduce dependence on chemical
• Reduce the potential of environmental
• BT Corn’s minimal reliance on pesticide sprays.
Threats of GM crops
• Dominance of agribusiness
–GM crops require high capital inputs
–Large companies are more able.
–Small scale farmers unable to afford
the GM seeds and techniques.
–Small scale farmers cannot enjoy the
Potential Health Risks
• Unknown effects on human health as
a result of genetic engineering.
• Concern over triggers of allergic
reactions due to the change in the
genetic composition of the crops.
Loss of biodiversity
• Success of GM crops harm other organisms.
• Transfer of pest resistance to wild varieties
lead to extinction of insects and animals that
feed on wild species.
• Monarch butterfly caterpillars die from eating
milkweed that were contaminated with pollen
from BT corn.
Causes of food shortages
• Physical factors
– Extreme Weather conditions, Climate change, Pests
• Political factors
– Civil strife, Poor governance
• Economic factors
– Demand from emerging economies, food policy, rising
• Social factors
– Lack of accessibility, Bad logistics and distribution,
• Change in weather patterns and global
climate affect growing season and crop
• Previously arable areas no longer
• Loss of glacial ice reduces freshwater
supply for river basins globally.
–Agricultural land dependent on these will
Extreme weather events
• Droughts, cold waves, heat waves,
• Lead to destruction of crops, farmland
and potential food shortage.
• Extreme weather events more common
due to climate change.
• Rising global temperatures encourage
growth of pests.
• Swarms of pests increase to larger
• Locusts swarms and Caterpillar invasions.
• Country faces major internal conflicts.
• Riots, unrest, or civil war.
• Disputes over control of resources.
• Reduction of food production.
– Farmland loss to war and conflict are unable to
contribute to production.
• Corruption, policy errors and inability
to implement policy causes food
• Prioritising other developmental
needs over ensuring food security
leads to re-allocation of farm land to
Demands from emerging economies
• Rise of large LDCs (Brazil, Russia, India and
• Increase in size and affluence leads to increase
in demand for food products.
• Larger demand leads to food shortages in
• Governments use stockpiles to
ensure food security.
• However stockpiling may lead to
• Reduction in global supply lead to
shortage for LDCs.
• Money paid or tax deductions to make food
• Countries with substantial economic reserves
able to use it to help citizens.
• Countries who are not rich enough to provide
subsidies will have large populations facing
Spike in fertiliser and transport costs
• Sudden rises in production costs lead to price
spikes of food.
• Without corresponding rise in income lead to
poverty and food shortages.
Loss of farmland
• Growing industrial crops leading to loss of
• Switch to biofuels lead to increase demand for
land for biofuel crops.
• Higher price of biofuel crops trigger shift from
food crop to biofuel crops.
Lack of accessibility
• Lack of transport facilities hinder accessibility
• Location and quantity of food outlets also
affect the accessibility of food.
• Inability to access fresh produce leads to a
smaller food intake.
• The movement of food from farm to retail
• Dependent on good transport network.
• Physical barriers and natural disasters can
disrupt distribution patterns and reduce the
Rapid population growth
• Population growth is exponential
• Food production increment is unable to catch
up without technological advances.
• Larger population leads to further need for
land and reduction in existing farmland.
• Sub-Saharan Africa is at highest risk.
Is technology in food production the
• Current global food production exceeds global
• Many areas are still suffering from shortages.
• Technology is one part of the solution, other
factors need to be managed.
• People in DC and LDCs have different levels
and types of food consumption patterns.
• Food consumption patterns are influenced by
economic, socio-cultural and political factors.
• Inadequate food consumption leads to
malnutrition and starvation.
• Excess food consumption and choice of diet
may lead to obesity, lower productivity, food
wastage and dieting.