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Population and Food Production: Prospects and Challenges for Asia

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  01,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.15052) @2003
Authors:   Gajendra Singh
Keywords:   Asia, population, food production, food security, sustainability, political will

The world population stood at 6,056 million in 2000, with 4,742 million in the less developed regions and 1,314 million in developed regions. Asia accounted for 3,672 million, i.e. about 61 percent of the world total. Currently, 2 out of 5 people in the world live in either China or India. The Green Revolution dramatically improved cereal productivity in Asia and other developing regions, easing the fear of endemic famine. During 1967-2000, per capita worldwide cereal production rose substantially mainly due to increasing cereal yields. While per capita cereal production in the developed world rose from 565 kilograms in 1967 to 665 kilograms in 2000, per capita cereal production in the developing countries rose from 176 kilograms to 253 kilograms during the same period. During the same period, many developing countries experienced rising incomes and shifting consumption patterns, which led to increases in consumption of livestock products, particularly in Asia. The number of food-insecure people in developing countries declined from 994 million in 1970 to 800 million in 2000. Increases in average per capita food availability are expected in all major regions of the world. However, since available food is not equally distributed to all regions, countries and individuals, a large proportion of developing country population is likely to have access to less food than needed. It has become widely accepted that political will is the key ingredient in any recipe for sustainable food security. This paper presents an overview of the food demand and supply situation along with changing trends in population growth. It also discusses possible strategies and guidelines in relation to achieving sustainable food security, particularly in the context of developing countries of Asia.

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