Researchers at the Aalto University in Finland have, for the first time,
shown a broad connection between resource scarcity, population pressure, and
food imports. In a study published in the journal Earth's Future, the
researchers found that even less wealthy regions relied on imports, but not
always successfully. The food security of about 1.4 billion people has
become dependent on imports and an additional 460 million people live in
areas where increased imports are not enough to compensate for the lack of
The researchers conducted a global analysis that focused on regions where
water availability restricts production, and examined them from 1961 until
2009, evaluating the extent to which the growing population pressure was met
by increasing food imports.
The work combined modelled data with FAO statistics and also took into
consideration increases in production efficiency from technological
development. The analysis showed that in 75% of resource scarce regions,
food imports began to rise as the region's own production became
insufficient. 'Keeping food demand in check is the key issue. Controlling
population growth plays an essential role in this work, but it would also be
important to enhance production chains by reducing food waste and meat
consumption. Since one quarter of all the food produced in the world is
wasted, reducing this would be really significant on a global level," said
Dr. Joseph Guillaume, co-author of the study.
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