Population and Development Review | VOL. 2

Food for the Future: A Perspective

Publication Date Mar 1, 1976


The early and middle years of the decade of the 1960s were a period of significant concern about the prospective adequacy of world food supplies. Production shortfalls in grain-the major source of calories for the world-occurred in China, the Soviet Union, and South Asia. By 1965 therewas serious concern about the possibility of mass starvation in South Asia, and there may have been severe food stringencies, including famine, in China in the early years of the decade. In the United States, the President's Science Advisory Committee undertook a major study and issued a major two-volume report, The World Food Problems, in 1967.1 Numerous Congressional hearings were held. By the time The World Food Problems was published, however, the world food situation had eased substantially, grain exports were declining, and world grain stocks were increasing. The rapid spread of the new highyielding varieties of rice and wheat in South Asia led at least one prominent government official to announce in late 1968 that "the world has recently entered a new agricultural era" attributed to "the sweeping advances in food production in several major developing countries."2 The rapid change in the availability of world grain supplies and the sharp increase in grain reserves in the years following 1967 led the industrial countries and most developing countries to turn their attention to other and seemingly more pressing problems. As a result, in the period from 1967 through 1972 little was done, at least as a matter of conscious policy, that would...


President's Science Advisory Committee Wheat In South Asia Early Years Advances In Food Production World Grain High Yielding Varieties Of Rice Capita Food Supplies World's Policy Makers World Food Situation President's Science Advisory

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