on human population statistics generated by the United Nations, Department of
Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (UN-DESA-PD 2011) indicate a surging world population even with
some countries posting negative growth (see table below).
After only four decades starting 2010, it is estimated that in 2050 there will be an additional 2.41 billion (2,410,239,000) more people to feed.
Ensuring food supply means a continuing crop and livestock agriculture and other food production systems including fisheries. Consequently, an exponential growth will be expected in the demand for water, energy and other resources for agricultural, industrial and domestic use.
Table 1-PS. Population statistics comparing estimated total human population (in thousands) of the world, selected regions and countries for the year 2010 and 2050 (Source: UN-DESA-PD 2011).
|More developed regions||1,235,900||1,311,731||75,831||6.14|
|United States of America**||310,384||403,101||92,717||29.87|
|Lao People’s |
|Least developed countries||832,330||1,726,468||894,138||107.43|
*Population statistics supplied by the author. Population increment is the difference between the populations for 2050 and 2010. Percentage (%) increase refers to the proportion of population increment to the 2010 population.
** Australia, United Kingdom, United States of America and Japan are among the countries belonging to the More Developed Regions according to the classification of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN-DESA-PD 2011).
***According to the National Statistics Office (2012) based on national census, the population of the Philippines in year 2010 was 92,337,852.
The above population statistics show that the percentage increase in human population in 2050 over those in 2010 is minimal in the more developed regions (6.14%) compared to those of the Least Developed Countries, World, Asia, and Southeast Asia (107.43%, 34.95%, 23.48% and 27.94%, respectively). More developed regions is defined by the United Nations (UN-DESA-PD 2011) as comprising of Europe, Northern America, Australia/New Zealand, and Japan. Japan, also an Asian country, is projected to achieve negative growth (-14.21%) at the end of the period. The same negative projection (-3.41%) applies to China, an Asian giant.
Southeast Asia, all 11 component countries will have more population in
topped by Timor Leste, Philippines and Malaysia in terms of percentage
(167.44%, 66.13% and 53.00%,
respectively). However, population densities, which also indicate how
populous a country is per unit of land area, differ. Population
statistics from UN-DESA-PD (2011) also show that in 2050 these countries
are projected to have population densities of 2.02, 5.16 and 1.32
hectare which are equivalent to land-to-man ratio of about 4,950, 1,938
and 7,576 sq. meters per person, respectively. Population density is
computed by dividing total population by total country area which
includes area under inland water bodies.
The 2,410,239,000 additional populace in 2050 is equivalent to 34.95 percent of the 2010 population. This also indicates that throughout the world at least 34.95 percent or more than one-third more food has to be produced compared to the 2010 volume.
Statistical data from 1995 to 2008 show that there has been an
increasing trend in chronic
hunger throughout the world (FAO 2009). In 2011, according to FAO (2011b), almost 1 billion people throughout the world
are undernourished with 239 milion in Sub-Saharan Africa and 578
million in Asia.
less and least developed countries with high population growth rate, the
picture of a starving population and the expectation of an increased
expenditure for food and other basic needs would be more vivid. Many
countries and their people must have been fully convinced of the ill
effects of a bloated population, and so they have installed drastic
programs to curb down population growth. Whatsoever, the world will
continue to accomodate humans.
must necessarily go on. It means generating more efficient agricultural
technology in the most expeditious manner. It means more efficient utilization
of available land without destroying the environment. Agricultural productivity per unit area of land must have a
huge leap within the shortest time possible. Agricultural production areas have
to be expanded.
To the contrary, however, the land available for agricultural development is not unlimited. From the statistical data provided by the United Nations (FAO 2011a), it is calculated that the portions of agricultural lands that have already been utilized for permanent and temporary crops, including meadows and pastures, in some regions and countries in 2009 are: World- 31.36%, Asia- 34.62%, Southeast Asia- 86.26%, Least Developed Countries- 22.04%, Australia-11.62%, United Kingdom-35.16% , USA- 41.01%, Japan and Singapore- 100%.
[FAO] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2011a. FAOSTAT. Retrieved Sept. 10, 2012 from http://faostat.fao.org/site/377/default.aspx#ancor.
[FAO] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2011b. The state of the world's land and water resources for food and agriculture. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/nr/water/docs/SOLAW_EX_SUMM_WEB_EN.pdf.
[FAO] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2009. Undernourishment around the world. Retrieved September 12, 2012 from ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/012/i0876e/i0876e02.pdf.
[NSO] National Statistics Office. 2012. Population and annual growth rates for the Philippines and its regions, provinces, and highly urbanized cities based on 1990, 2000, and 2010 censuses. Retrieved Sept. 10, 2012 from http://www.census.gov.ph/data/census2010/index.html.
[UN-DESA-PD] United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. 2011. World population prospects: The 2010 revision, CD-ROM edition. Retrieved Sept. 10, 2012 from http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/index.htm.
(Ben G. Bareja Sept. 2012)
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