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I was perusing back issues of Scientific American at the library today and came across two interesting facts. Of course I cannot verify.

(1) There is almost twice as much unused cropland in South American (over 400 mega hectares) than there is cultivated cropland in North America

(2) There are 75 million hectares of unused cropland in Sudan alone – thought to be enough to feed the entire continent of Africa if cultivated.

There are several takeaways of course. First is that the problem of hunger is not about our ability to grow food. Second is that there is plenty of land available to grow food out there, and these  claims about humans appropriating overwhelmingly large proportions of the Earth’s annually grown biomass are to be taken with a Pacific Ocean’s worth of salt. 

2 Responses to “Fun Facts to Know and Tell: Agriculture Edition”

  1. Steve says:

    Seems like neo-Malthusians never fly in airplanes, or if they do, never look out. Flying over the United States dumbfounds me with how much land there is, and that most of it is unused. Granted some effort would be involved in making said land productive, yet all the land currently used is worked to make it fertile. All that unused land is waiting for a signal to become productive, and there is plenty of it. Perhaps land is like oil, when the price of it increases, more is found useful.

  2. Wintercow20 says:

    Great point Steve. I once met an entrepreneur who can extract gallons of clean water from ambient air in the desert.

    Then I recently read about this guy: http://m.guardiannews.com/environment/2012/nov/24/growing-food-in-the-desert-crisis

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