Population growth

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Never mind your figures are made up, but why the hell not?

There is, besides productivity can be increased.

You could do better if pressed (but there is no need to).
Some facts to make you think: The largest exporter of agricultural goods in the world are the USA. Which country do you reckon is no. 2? Wait for it: The Netherlands.
One of the most densely populated countries on earth, a quarter of it is taken up by what is basically one giant metropolis. But it cannot only sustain itself, but even export groceries (and tulips :). Granted they import food as well, as bananas and coffee don't grow in northern climate, but their import/export balance is close to zero. That means in theory the Netherlands could feed their comparatively large population on that small surface, even in an adverse northern climate where plant growth basically stops for a few months each year. Not just that, they enjoy one of the highest living standards at the same time.
And don't say that it goes at the expense of nature. The Netherlands are not an environmental wasteland, but a overall pleasant place and even a popular tourist destination.
All it takes is for the rest of the world to adopt Dutch style agriculture (or any other method of increasing productivity). Of course that takes work, but it's doable. It's just a thought experiment though, the actual challenge is much easier.
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How exactly?

They're actually number 3 but I'm not quibbling. Who is number 5? Britain. But we still need to import 40% of all the food we consume, and that will rise to 50% by 2030.
The Netherlands are not *net* exporters. They, like Britain, are huge net importers. What they export are high value crops like tomatoes and flowers, not stuff the world actually depends on to eat, like wheat, which they have to import.

No, it is far from being self-sufficient, just like Britain.

No it isn't. They export about $19.8 million of agricultural products, but import about $49.5 million.
http://www.mapsofworld.com/world-top-ten/world-top-ten-agricultural-exporters-map.html
http://www.mapsofworld.com/world-top-ten/countries-by-agricultural-imports.html

Which is nonsense.

They won't when the food runs out and there's nothing to import.

You can't live on tomatoes and tulips.
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wrote in

Rededicate unused grasslands to agriculture, intensify farming by various methods (notably greenhouses) etc., obviously do away with wasteful experiments such aus "biofules".

This paragraph makes no sense in several ways. First I don't dispute that they import a lot, but at the same time they export a lot too. Second the kind of produce is irrelevant, you can eat vegetables too you know :).

But it could be made to be with some restructuring, the volume of produce would be sufficient to feed the Dutch.

You have to compare the sums by volume, or weight, or ideally calories, not market prices.

Yes you can live on tomatoes (even if I hate them), and the surface currently dedicated to flowers would need to be rededicated for food production.
Remember this is a thought experiment to prove a point, namely that surface is not a limiting factor to feeding the world, not a symposion on the actual economic structure of the Netherlands.
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So, you dig up all the parks and gardens, you cover the country in glass, and rely on non-renewable sources of energy. And you get, what? About 5% more produce you can eat. What do you do next?

We are talking about the food the world needs to sustain its population. That means big crops. Staples like wheat, rice, other grains, and rapeseed. We're not talking about peripherals and incidentals like tomatoes, lettuces and tulips.

I doubt it. I doubt it very much indeed.

Off you go then. Compare them.
But the problem is that The Netherlands produces high-priced luxuries from all its expensive greenhouses, and *still* runs an enormous financial deficit. A comparison by any other criterion would result in an even bigger proportional gap between what it produces and what it consumes. There aren't many calories in lettuces and tulips.

But surface *is* the major factor limiting global agricultural production. Always has been, always will be.
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Most flowers exported by the Dutch are first imported.

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On 30/10/2015 10:20 AM, Norman Wells wrote:

I think it's fair to say that, as we are increasing in population, we are more than capable, globally, of feeding ourselves.
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Yes, that that is why we don’t see famine anymore except where the place has degenerated into the most obscene levels of civil war and civil chaos or let some fool like Kim Jong Il rule the roost. And even the first is trivially fixable by air dropping the food into those places. We worked out how to do that almost 80 years ago now.
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But that's because 100% of the land mass is "flat" and has a benign climate.
many of the world's areas of low population density are mountainous and many of the areas of low agricultural production are climatically unsuitable (and/or mountainous).
It isn't anywhere near as simple as "if the Dutch can do it ..."
tim
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wrote in

The northern European climate is actually quite harsh. You want tropical climates for good crop yields.

But as you say, most of the world has low population density. I think famine is worst in Africa, but population density there is actually quite low, and there's lots of land that could be cultivated. What's lacking there is not space or the right climate, but a developed economy that makes tractors and fertilizer available. Getting there is the problem. It's kind of a viscious circle because you need agriculture to develop the economy. But Europe made it out of its own, which shows it can be done.
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On 30/10/15 14:23, Wolfgang Schwanke wrote:

I take it you have never ever been to Africa, nor bothered to research your vapid opinions to ascertain whether there is any factual basis to them?
(hint: there isn't).
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On 30/10/2015 2:31 PM, The Natural Philosopher wrote:

I believe satellite large areas of forest in both Southern Africa and South America, as well as large areas in the North African deserts, have shown that not only did large, well organised complexes/townships exist but, they were interconnected-networked.
That, there is nothing 'pristine' about the Amazon forest. There is actual film of some large production industry. This is what remains of the disease brought from the West.
Below the sands of North Africa have been found huge water deposits. Made viewable by satellite which also revealed river systems in the rock.
These areas were once abundant.
They will be again.
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The only reason that isn't done currently is because there is no need to.
We're free to use nukes to desalinate sea water and use that for food production in areas where the lack of that is the problem too.
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On 30/10/2015 14:23, Wolfgang Schwanke wrote:

Rhodesia used to have a huge production surplus and it fed most of Africa. Then came independence and things went downhill.
It was politics that destroyed it, and politics that will make sure it stays destroyed. Africa would rather starve than give its farms back to people who knew how to make the land productive. And the people who understood the land have been off it so long that the memory of how to do it has pretty well died off, along with the people with that knowledge.
Jim
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It's more that Mr Ebagum is quite happy with things as they are. He and his cronies are rich and well off, and he's quite happy that the mass of the populace is poor and hungry. Such people are too busy surviving to have a revolution. And easier to control these days with modern armaments and methods of communication. Also, he has the race card to play when required.
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On 30/10/2015 17:41, Tim Streater wrote:

The point I was trying to make, perhaps too obliquely is that in the midst of a thread claiming that the world could feed a lot more people than it does, is that the people who get to run countries are not the ones renowned for altruism. Si regardless of the theoretical possibilities, it isn't going to happen.
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wrote:

Yes, much too obliquely.

The real point is that very few countrys are run by anyone anymore, they are nothing like that.

Bet it does if those in the first and second world start to starve when not enough food is produced.
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On 31/10/2015 00:16, Rod Speed wrote:

*Plonk*
I won't waste any more time feeding the troll
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You never could bullshit your way out of a wet paper bag.
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Yes.

Like hell it did. Africa mostly fed itself and still does.
And Rhodesia wasn't the only place in Africa with extensive industrial scale agriculture either.

Like hell it has in places like the RSA.
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It might not be good enough for multiple yields per year
but it is pretty certain for one
lots of other parts of the world are not
try cultivating the Australian outback, for example
tim
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