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Is There a Relationship Between Population Growth and Hunger?

Touch the Soil News #833 (Feature photo – NASA Earth Photo) Over the past few months, global food experts have been unnerved by the increase in the number of starving/undernourished people. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome recently reported that from 2015 to 2016 an additional 38 million people were added to the ranks of the starving. This brings the total number of starving from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million at the end of 2016. What will 2017 bring? In the midst of the news about rising hunger, Africa has emerged at the focal point. Over the past 25 years, the number of…

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Could Feeding the World Be Hard on the Planet?

Touch the Soil News #583 This is a disconcerting thought at best. But are there any indicators that the scope of agriculture is overwhelming the eco-systems that sustain the world? In order to keep up with global demand for just cooking oil, tens of thousands of acres of a shrinking area of forests are being further deforested for palm oil every year. Repurposing land into farmland is the driving cause of global deforestation – a primary source of oxygen and biodiversity. Last week in Cancun, Mexico, representatives of 167 nations (195 total nations in the world) met to discuss, among other things, agriculture’s consumption (destroying) of global biodiversity. In short,…

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Words of Premonition?

Touch the Soil News #498 The chairman of the Chinese overseas trade council – Jiang Zengwei – recently made a foretelling announcement. “We must help Chinese agriculture go global, as people have an increased demand for agricultural products with improved quality.” Less than two years ago, China was still steeped in policies that obliged the nation to attempt to produce its own food. That failed, and China is now openly grazing around the world for agricultural assets. Yes, some of the food will be purchased on the global market. However, much of it will come in the form of owning agricultural assets – farmland, food manufacturing facilities, transportation facilities and…

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Clutching for Health

Touch the Soil News #471 Imagine waking up in the morning in a nation that must feed almost 1.4 billion people, but has slightly less productive crop land than the U.S. with only 325 million people. Now, if that is not enough, imagine that you must compete for a healthy diet with other consumers bidding up the price. Yes, you are in China. This all sets the stage for a booming demand in China for what is called algal EPA-fortified eggs. At the heart of the matter is algae and special strains of algae from which the EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is derived. Laying hens are given feed that contains the…

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The Emerging Food Domino Effect

Touch the Soil News #276 Emerging in the global food landscape is what could well be called the domino effect. In past decades, the effect of one nation’s struggle for food did not necessarily domino over to other nations. Most nations tried to be somewhat food self-sufficient. Many nations had subsidy programs to support and encourage their national foods and farmers. However, no nation ever considered balancing its population with its ability to feed itself. Then came the World Trade Organization (WTO). To join the WTO, nations had to eliminate subsidies in order for farmers across the oceans to be able to compete with farmers of someone’s homeland. The world’s…

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Feeding Ourselves Versus Climate Change

Touch the Soil News #272   For 2016, the Food and Agriculture Organization – FAO (a division of the United Nations) thought we ought to put climate change into perspective. That perspective being how climate change poses risks to global food production. Following are their some of their top concerns:   75 percent of the world’s poor and food insecure rely on agriculture and natural resources for their livelihoods. They are unprotected in the path of climate change. World food production must rise 60 percent to keep pace with population gains and emerging nations eating higher on the food chain. Crop yield declines of 10-25 percent may be widespread by…

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