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Global Food Production
See how much you know about global food production.

Global Food Production

This GCSE Geography quiz looks at global food production. The production and distribution of food is just one example of how globalisation has affected our lives. When you pick an item off the shelf of a supermarket, you probably don't think about where it has come from or how it reached the shelf. The way that world food needs are met is complex and the demand for food is constantly increasing as the population increases. The food supply chain is also complex and can involve several countries. Food produced in one country could be processed and packaged in a different country before being sold around the world.

Global food consumption is uneven. In MEDCs, the over-consumption of food leads to health problems like obesity and heart disease.

In LEDCs, the opposite is true and in some countries over half of their population is suffering from under-nutrition. The reasons for food shortages are population increases, increasing wealth and more extremes of weather.

Every year, the population of the world increases. MEDCs are able to import more food from LEDCs. The LEDCs turn more land over to commercial farming for export which leaves less land for subsistence farming. As populations of emerging economies become generally wealthier, they demand more meat and dairy produce. More land is used for rearing animals and some of the food e.g. grains like wheat and barley that could be grown for humans is given to the farmed animals so less reaches the market. The production of a single kilogram of meat takes around five kilograms of grain. More extreme weather means that crops can be unexpectedly lost owing to drought, heavy rain or high winds.

There are two contrasting views about global resource shortages like food. The first one is rather negative and was suggested by Thomas Malthus in the 18th century, well before globalisation or the idea of the welfare state had become established. He believed that as the population grew faster than food could be grown, the population growth would be kept in check and even reduced by starvation and wars for control over food and other resources. He called this a positive check. He also supposed that people might try to slow the population growth by having smaller families and gave this a name too, he called it a preventative check.

The more positive view came in the 1960s when globalisation was well under way. Esther Boserup wrote that people will find ways around the food shortages by inventing new ways of growing crops and animals. We do in fact see this in operation today with genetic modification and selective breeding being used to increase the yields of crops and to make them more resistant to pests and drought.

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1.
Which of the following is a true statement.
The global demand for food is less now than it was 25 years ago
A food supply chain sometimes involves several countries
Globalisation has had no effect on food supplies
LEDC economies are usually based on agriculture so they do not suffer from food shortages
Make sure that you know the reasons why the world demand for food is changing
2.
Food security is:
keeping food in a locked cupboard
making sure that no contamination enters food during processing and packaging
making sure that packaging does not burst open when it is being stored or transported
the ability of a population to access food of sufficient quality and quantity to ensure they are properly nourished
Food security is usually less in LEDCs than in MEDCs
3.
Which one of the following is NOT an effect of the globalisation of food production?
Produce like fruit and vegetables can be obtained 'out of season'
Subsistence farming has flourished in LEDCs as small farmers can now export their produce
The growing of cash crops in LEDCs has increased
Consumers have a wider choice of foods
Subsistence farmers produce only enough food for their own needs
4.
How are scientists trying to help to solve the problems of world food shortages?
They are creating food tablets
They have invented a liquid that can be added to food that stops under-nourished people from feeling hungry
They are developing better tractors
They are using genetic engineering and selective breeding
By producing crops with a greater yield, more food can be grown on existing farms. Some people don't agree with the idea of genetically modified food
5.
In MEDCs, food is readily available. What problems does this cause?
Obesity and heart disease
Under-nutrition and obesity
Diabetes and under-nutrition
Muscle wasting and osteoporosis
In several MEDCs, obesity and heart disease are a big problem for the health services as populations consume more food than they actually need
6.
Which of the following methods of transporting food around the globe would be the most likely to have the lowest carbon footprint?
Container ship
Aeroplane
Sail powered ship
Lorry
Transporting food by air has the greatest carbon footprint as the quantities that are carried are relatively small
7.
Which of the following is the name given by Thomas Malthus to a decline in population due to food shortages?
Negative check
Neutral check
Positive check
Reverse check
The word 'check' has several meanings, in this context, it means stopping or slowing down (the population growth)
8.
Which of the following factors does NOT threaten international food security?
The annual increase in global population
Slash and burn agriculture
The global economy
Environmental events
International food prices vary and when they are high, this can cause food security issues for small, import-dependent countries
9.
What are 'food miles'?
The distance food is transported to reach the consumer
The distance that one kilogram of food would power an aeroplane
The speed at which food is transported
The distance that the food in a supermarket would stretch if it was placed end to end in a long line
Food miles are just one of the factors that are considered when assessing the environmental impact of global food production
10.
There are several causes of global food shortages, which of the following is NOT one of them?
World population is always increasing
Extreme weather destroying crops
Food can be shipped around the world
Increasing wealth in NEEs
Countries who produce more than they can eat can sell their excess to other countries
Author:  Kev Woodward

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