U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Felix C. Wager, Agricultural Production (2010) pp. 1-38; ISBN: 978-1-61668-695-6


The need for sustained agricultural production increases as the world's human population increases, many natural resources grow scarce, and the amount of land devoted to agriculture declines. For example, Vietnam loses 30,000 ha annually of prime lice land to urban development, yet it is the second highest exporter of rice in a world market that reached crisis levels during 2008 (Meerburg et al, 2009b), Between 1960 and 2000, the world's population doubled; in Asia alone the annual population growth until 2020 is estimated at 75 million, which is a lot of new mouths to feed (FAO, 2008). Hence, feeding the world's growing population continues to be a challenge for governments, especially in light of accelerated population growth, loss of agricultural land to urbanization and industrialization, shortage of agricultural labor due to migration of youth to cities, sustained economic growth leading to increase demands for meat protein (energy to produce 1 kg of meat protein requires 5 times that of proteins from cereals (Kawashima et al., 1997)), and pressures brought by climate change, loss of biodiversity, growing water scarcity, liberalized trade regimes, and inappropriate technology applications (e.g. growing of some food crops for bio-fuels). The future requires a sustainable agriculture base in which farms can produce food without causing severe or irreversible damage to ecosystem health.