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But:

It seemed that the Green Revolution was not an ideal strategy to end the shortage of food.

More food for those who do not have enough, is not a solution. Those who go hungry must be empowered to have access to food on a regular basis. The concentrated distribution of economic power (favouring only a certain part of the population), and especially the limited access to land and spending power, must change.

The Green Revolution (including technology as such) did not solve the problem of the high birth-rate.

It is in Asia (including India) where new seed varieties contributed to the biggest production successes, that two-thirds of the world’s underfed population live (more than in Africa where the problem used to be the biggest). In India 5 000 children die of malnutrition every day. A third of India’s 900 million inhabitants are poor. There is an urgent need for development on different levels. Is this also the case in our country? Where?

Statistics show that the amount of food available to each person the world over, has risen by 11% from 1970 to 1990 (the GR period), while the number of hungry people has decreased from 972 million to 786 million. But if China’s statistics are not taken into consideration, it seems that the number of those who go hungry has risen from 536 million to 597 million. The improvement in China which distorts the world-wide figures, must rather be ascribed to the changes that have been introduced to give more people access to land.

Do we need technology to combat famine?

Technology-based farming is more expensive, which means that the profit margins become smaller, making a bigger turnover essential. The peasant farmer cannot afford the initial costs, and he does not generate the necessary turnover. Hence a vicious circle is established. The peasant farmer is forced out of the system, while agriculture is taken over by “super farms”. This aggravates the lot of the poor as they have no land to farm on, they cannot supply their own foodstuffs, even on a small scale.

Technology-based farming is not ecologically sustainable. The land is impoverished, asking for more and more additives.

Technology-based farming makes a country dependent on the import of raw materials (fertiliser, poisonous substances, etc.). As the country can no longer afford it, or it becomes isolated due to trade sanctions, the situation may become disastrous, as has happened in Cuba. Cuba was a model of technology-based farming until sanctions prevented them from obtaining the necessary raw materials. This caused the country’s biggest food crisis in history. Cuba then reverted back to a more self-reliant farming system and traditional farming methods, which led to an admirable recovery.

Summary

Under what conditions are bigger crops not the answer, and hunger not prevented?

  1. When farmland, like any other commodity, is bought and sold, and society allows super farms to swallow all the remaining agricultural land, the old family estates disappear.
  2. When the main producers of food (smaller farmers and farm workers) do not have the power to negotiate with suppliers of farm implements and product dealers, they do not get a fair share from their farming output. Can you name a few practical examples?
  3. When too much technology destroys the future food production by impoverishing the soil, or when there are problems with pests and weeds, it gets more difficult to maintain good crop yields. This means that the farmer has to invest more than he eventually earns from his crop. In the long run he gets poorer and poorer, until he may even lose his land and possessions. In this case we get deterioration

Assessment

Learning outcomes (LO)
LO 1
GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH The learner can apply research skills to study geographical and environmental concepts and processes.
Assessment standards(AS)
This is clear when the learner:
1.3 analyses and makes inferences from sources such as photo’s, maps, atlases, graphs and statistics [working with sources];
1.5 recognises information in the field and records it [working with sources];
1.7 reports and formulates knowledge obtained during the research by means of an argument and interpretation based on sources of information; uses maps, diagrams and graphics; uses, where necessary, computers in the presentation [communicating the answer].
LO 2
GEOGRAPHICAL KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING The learner can demonstrate geographical and environmental knowledge and understanding.
This is clear when the learner:
2.1 gives a well-argued explanation of some approaches to development [people and places];
2.2 identifies ways in which Science and Technology have a positive and a negative influence on development [people and resources];
2.3 explains how sustainable [people and environment development can have a positive influence on people, places and environments].

L O 3

EXPLORING THE ISSUES The learner can take informed decisions on social and environmental issues and problems

This is clear when the learner:

  1. identifies social and environmental conflicts in South Africa and compares it with other
  2. contexts [identifies the issue];

Memorandum

ACTIVITY 1:

  • All these techniques are applied in the wheat districts of the SWARTLAND (Malmesbury,

Moorreesburg and Piketberg).

  • Own initiative

Agriculture and Agricultural Science

  • Farmer, farm manager, agricultural officer, agricultural research, fertiliser industry
  • Universities and at one of the 12 agricultural colleges such as Elsenburg near Stellenbosch
  • Farmers: must farm economically to contribute to the economy

must create and maintain jobs for farm workers

Labourers: low wages, poor housing and other services, etc.

  • Own initiative

Decide on your own

  • Challenges: to farm successfully

to overcome negative factors

drought, floods, etc.

Advantages: own boss

could be financially very viable

Disadvantages: very lonely and isolated

could be dangerous

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, Geography grade 9. OpenStax CNX. Sep 14, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11057/1.1
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