The Ethics of Intensification: Agricultural Development and Cultural Change
November 23, 2010 Author: Paul Thompson
The Ethics of Agricultural Intensification: An Interdisciplinary and International Conversation Paul B. Thompson and John Otieno Ouko* Global agriculture faces a number of challenges as the world approaches the second decade of the third millennium. Predictions unilaterally indicate dramatic increases in world population between 2010 and 2030, and a trend in developing countries toward greater consumption of animal products could multiply the need for production of basic grains even further. Although global food production in 2000 was estimated to be adequate for the existing population, hunger and malnutrition are persistent problems that have led decision makers to recognize that increasing food production in specific regions may be the most effective way to address food scarcity for impoverished peoples. At the same time, there will need to be policy adjustments that improve poor people’s access to current food supplies without simultaneously undercutting the ability of local producers to obtain needed cash income. What is more, the uncertain effects of global climate change on agricultural ecosystems complicate planning for this process, while poorly understood processes of globalization create additional unknowns from the side of social systems. In short, despite surpluses in many parts of the developed world, finding ways to increase food production on both selected regional and a total global basis remains a priority for many farmers, policy makers and agricultural researchers.