Why we need globalization: Locally grown food could only feed 27% of the world’s population

grain shipment
Credit: Equiports

 It is true that in North America and much of Europe you can grow plenty of wheat locally, but in most of the world temperate crops can’t be found within 2,000 miles.

A recent study modeled the minimum distance between crop production and consumption that humans around the world would need to be able to meet their food demand. It factored in six key crop groups for humans: temperate cereals (wheat, barley, rye), rice, corn, tropical grains (millet, sorghum), tropical roots (cassava) and pulses.

The distances between production and the consumer for both normal production conditions and scenarios where production chains become more efficient due to reduced food waste and improved farming methods were inputs and [the study] found that only 27 percent of the world’s population could get their temperate cereal grains within a radius of fewer than 100 kilometers.

Related article:  Vulnerable system? What if world's breadbaskets experience crop failure at same time?

The share was 22 percent for tropical cereals, 28 percent for rice and 27 percent for pulses. In the case of maize and tropical roots, the proportion was only 11-16 percent. 

Many countries would need to ramp up their usage of fertilizers and pesticides, some would not have enough water. Greenhouse gas emissions would likely rise without globalization ….

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