About Me

My photo
Hi my name's Paul, I'm studying A levels in a school in Kent and am aspiring to go to The University of Nottingham to study Plant Bioscience. Enjoy my blogs, they will mainly be about Biology. Contact me at rubiscoactivase@gmail.com

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Biggest Threat to Food Security?

One of the main reasons I am interested in genetic modification is I believe it can help solve food shortages around the world by make crops such a wheat produce greater yields. But driving home today I saw a field full of rape seed and it got me thinking. What exactly is the greatest threat to global food security?

Originally I thought the primary threat was global warming. Greater weather extremes are devastating crops, from droughts to floods. Even increased pest numbers (locus for example) due to the higher temperatures. I believe that both of these issues can be effectively combated by genetic engineering. Both pest resistant crops and drought resistant crops can be developed through genetic engineering. But is this the main threat to food security.

The rape seed got me thinking. If all that land is being used to grow this inedible crop for use in biofuels, then that means there is less available land for growing edible crops. I did a bit of research about this and it turns out that many LEDC farmers are growing crops for biofuel production because it is more commercially viable. This means that in areas around these farms there is less available food and so food prices increase dramatically, leaving many people starving.

So what do you guys think is the biggest threat to global food security, Global warming or land use? Or maybe something entirely different.



  1. The way I see it the biggest threat to food security is overpopulation. People are concerned about food shortages but tend to forget about the dramatic and uncontrolled population growth of modern times. Even if we found a way to provide enough food for everyone, at that point human society would simply increase its reproduction rate because the abundance of resources would allow it to. I have to admit I can't find a suitable solution to this problem. Before industrial revolution high mortality rates effectively prevented population overgrowth. Now that those dropped there's 3 possibilities, all of which are in my opinion unpleasant.

    1) Population keeps growing untill it exceeds earth's capacity, at which point not only many people will probably die of starvation but mankind in general might risk extinction because of pollution.

    2) Population overgrowth is stopped, but the only way I can see this happening is through birth control policies, which will strongly limit the individuals' freedom to procreate and also involve a strict control from governments over people's private sphere (this has already been tried in China, and strongly criticized by western democracies)

    3) High mortality rates are somehow restored, preventing population from growing beyond earth's capacity. The price for this will be the death of many and the most likely way for this scenario to occur is a full scale war for first necessity goods (water in particular).

    1. Interesting points there, it's true that the population of the earth is growing quite uncontrollably and I think that by developing crops that are more "efficient" and produce a much higher yield we can help feed this growing population. As for water, we can extract it from the oceans if worst comes to worst and then filter out the salt.

    2. we are producing enough food for the whole population, but the problem is that not everybody has the same access to that food. millions of people all over the world are starving and millions have obesity (i know that sometimes it is not their fault, but many people have obesity because they eat fucking mcshit all the time)

      thats why i try to dumpster dive as much as i can, i also try not to waste food.

    3. Yeah true, MEDC's are very wasteful with food. Where I think Genetically Modified crops can help is in inhabited areas most effected by global warming, which seems to be Africa. Africa is plagued by food shortages because their own souses of food are unable to thrive in such barren environments. If the food was grown else ware and then imported into countries within Africa then the prices would hike due to transportation costs and many people would be unable to afford food.

      You're point about the MEDCs is very true though, many people need to cut down on the amount of waste they produce, not just food waste.

  2. Since you're into genetics and science, maybe you can solve some problems. https://www.innocentive.com/ar/challenge/browse