Abstract

Humans have relied during the course of their evolution on a number of distinct ways to secure their food supply. In many places in the tropics the oldest strategies had coexisted side by side with subsequent ways of food provision for very long periods of time. In others, China being a perfect example, the ancient means of sedentary cultivation were gradually transformed into much more productive ways of growing crops. Foraging dominated all hominid. Most of human existence and some of its key nutritional attributes are discussed in this chapter offering a brief history of food production. The chapter reviews the current global food situation that focuses primarily on production and consumption gaps between developed and developing countries. The chapter focuses on the main factors that will be driving changes in food demand during the next 50 years. Increased demand for animal foods is likely to be a key ingredient of this change. The chapter analyzes its likely growth and its consequences for the global demand for feeds. By stressing the need for two critical kinds of investment in agriculture: in the maintenance of irreplaceable ecosystemic structures and services without which no agriculture can succeed, and in genetic engineering whose advances help to eliminate malnutrition, even as the population of developing countries keeps expanding.

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