May 08, 2018

09/05/2018: The need to feed

By Chris Jackson, Export Manager, UKTAG and BPA 

Chris Jackson
These notes come to you as I am travelling yet again. Never forgetting that I am very privileged to see our farming industry in practice in so many different countries and continents. All of which meeting different cropping technologies and scales of enterprise, most importantly, the people involved – from subsistence farmers to the owners of multi-national farming businesses.

Something that they all have in common of course, the weather that dictates all cropping involved. It is the one input that is beyond our total control.

Over the decades techniques have been developed to mitigate the effects of the climate in the northern hemisphere. For instance, the use of glass houses and poly tunnels to grow sensitive vegetable crops and in dry countries the use of irrigation, for instance to allow cotton and rice be grown using irrigation techniques in Australia.

In the meantime, our geneticists have developed varieties of crops to produce higher yields in shorter growing seasons. For cereal crops, drying techniques allow for harvesting crops with moisture content too high for storage. It is obvious that farmers worldwide must be the most innovative people in the industry, constantly striving to improve their incomes from the main fixed asset, the land itself, whilst having to work with the most variable of assets, the weather.

With an ever-increasing world population, the challenges are forever increasing. Across the world we see the best farm land being taken over for housing. Roads, railways, airports, factories and all over infrastructure with what seems to be no regard for the loss of food production capabilities - meaning that more has to be produced from dwindling assets.

So far, this challenge is being met. It is however a source of annoyance when I hear some experts say that the world is producing an excess of food, when people are still at best hungry – and at worst starving. Of course, the people in these categories are the very ones who cannot afford to buy food, and where they have land, face crop failures due to climate. They are the very ones who cannot afford the sophisticated technologies that could help them.

Really it is only in the life of our earth, that the last 300 years have seen the greatest change to farming, and the need seriously develop to get food into the cities and the urban populations. In earlier years the majority of people lived off the land, and if crops failed, whole communities starved. With the advent of the new industrial age, everything changed.

Read the full article, HERE.

The Global Miller
This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine Milling and Grain
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

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