Food Production Potential and Assessment of Population Supporting Capacity - Methodology and Application

Shah MM, Fischer G, Higgins GM, & Kassam AH (1981). Food Production Potential and Assessment of Population Supporting Capacity - Methodology and Application. IIASA Collaborative Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: CP-81-006

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Abstract

Understanding the nature and dimension of the food problem and the policies available to alleviate it has been the focal point of the Food and Agriculture Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) since the program began in 1977.

In the program we are not only concerned with policies over a 5-15 year time horizon, but also with a long term perspective to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the food problems of the world.

As we anticipate over the coming decades a technological transformation of agriculture which will be constrained by resource limitations and which could have serious environmental consequences, a number of important questions arise.

(a) What is the stable, sustainable production potential of the world? of regions? of nations?

(b) Can mankind be fed adequately by this stable, sustainable production potential?

(c) What alternative transition paths are available to reach desirable levels of this production potential?

(d) What are sustainable, efficient combinations of techniques of food production?

(e) What are the resource requirements of such techniques?

(f) What are the policy implications at national, regional global levels of sustainability?

Stability and sustainability are both desirable properties from the considerations of inter-generational equity as well as of political stability and peace.

We hold environmental considerations to be of critical importance in answering the questions posed.

This report presents the results of a case study of Kenya carried out as a part of the FAO/UNFPA Project INT/513, Land Resources for Populations of the Future, being carried out in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Program, IIASA.

The results are preliminary and should be regarded as the first approximation. At the present time a detailed case study of Kenya (Phase 2, FAO/Kenya/IIASA Study) is being carried out. As understanding of the ecological and technological limits of food production is a critical part of agricultural development planning, this report highlights the results for Kenya and the methodology of evaluating agricultural production potential, population supporting capacity and soil degradation hazards. Policy relevance and implications for Kenya are briefly discussed.

This preliminary report in collaboration with the Land and Water Division of the FAO is the first of a series on the potential and limits of food production in developing countries.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Collaborative Paper)
Research Programs: Food and Agriculture (FAG)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:50
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2016 23:39
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/1797

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