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2 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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Population explosion vis-a-vis food-grain production

Fortunately for us, estimates of global population trends show that families are getting smaller
S. A. Mansoor
Population explosion vis-a-vis food-grain production

Way back in late 18th century, philosopher Thomas Malthus wrote the following ominous words, based on what he saw and felt about the future of humanity! He wrote: "The power of population is so superior to the power of the Earth to produce subsistence for man that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race." The learned philosopher wrote the preceding statement, based on what he saw and felt about the probable dire future for mankind on Earth. He felt that at that time, that the urge to procreate would ultimately lead to overpopulation of our planet, leading to countless deaths and unimaginable misery! One wonders, if this scenario is realistic or life pattern changes, or possibly more easy and foolproof ways and means to ensure mass birth control at all levels can become the reality! One can however wonder, if Malthus's idea is realistic, as more awareness at all levels of society is gradually accepting the potential realities of overpopulation at all levels of human society. Or will growing numbers of people will accept and become aware of growing overpopulation, to take this matter seriously and contain overpopulation!

Many scientists feel, considering agricultural developments into

Account, that our Earth has maximum capacity to safely survive with a population of nine to ten billion people, and provide food for them.

One scientist of Harvard University is sociologist Edward O Wilson, based on his calculation of Earth's available resources, stated in his book "The Future of Life".

The limited availability of potable water, and the constraints of food that the Earth can produce was stated by Malthus more than 200 years back. Even if all food-grain are dedicated for human consumption (excluding cattle and animal feed) there is a limit to how far the quantities can be stretched! Even if we consume all food grain, leaving nothing for livestock and birds, the presently available 3.5 billion acres would support possibly about ten billion people as stated by Wilson in his book.

Wilson concludes that ten billion people are the maximum, provided that food is eaten by people only, and no cows, goats, horses, fowl and birds and other such creatures are excluded; our existing global available land of 3.5 billion acres would support about ten billion people! Wilson concludes that under such conditions only, we may possibly just get along providing for ten billion people and all are vegetarians and with no intake of any traditional protein based food like, cows, goats and chicken or pigs meat and eggs or milk at all!

According to UN's Population Division, the human population will be reaching the ten billion mark by the year 2100 (over 95 years hence); however, scientists think that in the decades of development, and with all out and firm steps ensured for strict population control, we may possibly reach the level of ten billion people by around the last decade of this century and population could be stabilized between 9 to

10 billion people globally! However, fortunately for us, estimates of global population trends show that families are getting smaller.

Empirical data from 230 countries since 1850 shows that many of these countries have declining trend; that is gradually reaching the replacement levels; and if this trend continues; then the global population may stabilize between 9 to 10 billion global population by the end of this century. Meanwhile there is also a slow but sure trend of modest growth in agricultural output too! Hopefully, as the saying goes "All is well that ends well"! But to be reassured, you need to be reading this around the year 2095 or so!

The writer is an engineer.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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