Is the African famine a natural cycle?

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  • Is the African famine a natural cycle?
  • All species of plant and animal reproduce at a faster rate than their immediate area can support.
    It’s how natural selection works.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    Puts down Guardian, gets cup of fair trade coffee and pulls up chair….

    tree-magnet
    Member

    Britain imports 40% of it’s food. If it wasn’t for imports, we’d starve in much the same fashion as those in Africa are starving now.

    Sesame and flax seed cookie?

    Dobbo
    Member

    It’s how natural selection works.

    So the famine support is trying to alter the natural selection and will offset the natural balance.

    Britain imports 40% of it’s food. If it wasn’t for imports, we’d starve in much the same fashion as those in Africa are starving now.

    Meaning the population of Britain is too great and growth should really be reigned in or do 2 wrongs make a right?

    Premier Icon wallop
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    Britain imports 40% of it’s food. If it wasn’t for imports, we’d starve in much the same fashion as those in Africa are starving now.

    But don’t we import for economic reasons, rather than sustainability reasons. We import because it is cheaper than growing it ourselves.

    If we couldn’t import, we would survive.

    LHS
    Member

    Britain imports 40% of it’s food. If it wasn’t for imports, we’d starve in much the same fashion as those in Africa are starving now.

    You export as much as you import so your statement makes no sense.

    Why don’t the African’s just import food then?

    Premier Icon Lifer
    Subscriber

    Could we really produce enough food to be self-sufficient?

    Lifer… Yes.

    There is a hell of a lot of military land in the SE doing nothing.

    We could put a lot more sheep in Wales etc.

    Dig for Victory and all that.

    Premier Icon santacoops
    Subscriber

    If there was oil there Obama would no doubt send them a big explosive cloud of American style democracy and make everything better. 😉

    iDave
    Member

    people are an asset, bigger families mean more hands for labour – when the rain is doing its falling thing.

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    There is a biological phenomenon that animals under food stress ie hungry produce more young. I am sure this is true for humans as well.

    tree-magnet
    Member

    If we couldn’t import, we would survive.

    All 62 million of us?

    You export as much as you import so your statement makes no sense.

    Of course it does. We export skills and material goods. Food is quite different. We do not export 40% of our required food.

    Lifer… Yes.

    There is a hell of a lot of military land in the SE doing nothing.

    We could put a lot more sheep in Wales etc.

    Dig for Victory and all that.

    In other words, no, not without a massive change to our living conditions.

    In short, if there was a short notice catastrophe (sudden oil stop for instance), a large percentage of our population would die off.

    Those that say “we would adapt” are quite right. Given enough warning, we could prepare for such an eventuality, and could feed ourselves. However, a short notice upset would kill off a large portion of the UK without outside aid.

    LHS
    Member

    Yes, the UK could produce enough food to support itself.

    The food production index currently sits at 98% – so the UK would need to increase by 2% to be sufficient – easily done.

    The issue with the african nations isn’t whether or not they can produce enough food, its the guarantee on that production and the issues associated with when there is extreme drought.

    LHS
    Member

    We do not export 40% of our required food.

    Yes we do.

    Premier Icon footflaps
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    I suspect the # children is more to do with lack of choice / contraception and available resources just keep the population in check eg this famine could be seen as a natural correction to over population.

    Premier Icon Lifer
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    The Southern Yeti – Member
    Lifer… Yes.

    There is a hell of a lot of military land in the SE doing nothing.

    We could put a lot more sheep in Wales etc.

    Dig for Victory and all that.

    Do you have a source at all?

    More animals isn’t the answer, that’s completely inefficient use of land for food.

    According to this report (table on page 4) the area needed to support the UK at the level we consume now is 3.5 bigger than the size of our island:

    http://www.optimumpopulation.org/opt.md.suspop.13Dec07.pdf

    That’s just from a quick skim can’t read it all at the moment.

    Premier Icon santacoops
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    The issue with the african nations isn’t whether or not they can produce enough food, its the guarantee on that production and the issues associated with when there is extreme drought.

    And the corruption of course!

    iDave
    Member

    The food production index currently sits at 98% – so the UK would need to increase by 2% to be sufficient – easily done.

    Yes but we don’t grow chorizo, avocados, olives and Ripasso? Screw self-sufficiency.

    thegreatape
    Member

    What we consume is probably an awful lot more than what we need to survive though.

    tree-magnet
    Member

    The food production index currently sits at 98% – so the UK would need to increase by 2% to be sufficient – easily done

    Source please. Defra say 80%.

    CaptJon
    Member

    Dobbo – Member
    On the African famine, leaving out the emotional aspects, the average number of children per family is greater than 6 in Somalia plus people living longer, the reason they have large families is to even out loses from famine, disease etc. If you don’t have these natural deaths wouldn’t the population become out of control for the land? The population has soared in the last 50 years, is it sustainable for a land with the climate and conditions to support a growing population?

    Famines we see in the modern world are in no way natural. The biggest cause of famine is people being displaced from their homes. People in drought effected areas have amazing coping mechanisms which mean they can survive extreme conditions. However, once you displace families their resilience drops dramatically.

    The number of children per family is a result of high child mortality rates. It sounds counter intuitive, but if your kids have a high chance of dying you have more to increase the chances of some surviving.

    Do you have a source at all?

    Say what?

    I have a hunch. It’s all I need to be right on this issue.

    scruff
    Member

    UK gets lots of displaced families aswell…

    Why don’t the African’s just import food then?

    Have you seen where half the vegetables you buy in the supermarket are from?

    Kenya has a huge export business in vegetables.

    CaptJon
    Member

    scruff – Member
    UK gets lots of displaced families aswell…

    They don’t live in areas impacted by drought or where food supply is an issue. Their resilience to coping with external factors, however, will be reduced.

    The Southern Yeti – Member
    Why don’t the African’s just import food then?

    You trolling?

    Dobbo
    Member

    On the African famine, leaving out the emotional aspects, the average number of children per family is greater than 6 in Somalia plus people living longer, the reason they have large families is to even out loses from famine, disease etc. If you don’t have these natural deaths wouldn’t the population become out of control for the land? The population has soared in the last 50 years, is it sustainable for a land with the climate and conditions to support a growing population?

    Premier Icon Lifer
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    scruff – Member
    UK gets lots of displaced families aswell…

    You trolling?

    LHS
    Member

    Source please. Defra say 80%.

    Where?

    Source is the world bank.

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Subscriber

    Yes but we don’t grow chorizo, avocados, olives and Ripasso? Screw self-sufficiency.

    Are avocados OK then (given that they fail the custard test).

    Kenya has a huge export business in vegetables.

    Shame Somalia can’t afford them, isn’t it? It’d cut down on food miles at least, especially during summer when its warm enough to grow mange toute and maize here.

    Regards growing our own – some things cannot be done overnight. Apples for example. We are slap bang in the middle of English apple season, yet I can’t find anything in my local shops that isn’t from New Zealand. You can’t replant an orchard overnight, even if you could, you won’t get apples for a good few years.

    I’m in a transition towns veg growers group. If we had a food import crisis, I think our plot of land would last 0.25 seconds once the rest of the village got hungry. You also have to get very fond of brassicas over winter 😐

    tree-magnet
    Member

    Where?

    Source is the world bank.

    Page 16 of the DEFRA UK food security study.

    It’s actually 74%, not 80%

    Apologies, I linked the wrong page.

    Anyway, I’ve shown you mine… 😉

    LHS
    Member

    It’s actually 76%, not 80%

    Apologies, I linked the wrong page.

    You’ve linked the wrong data more like.

    Its talking about self-sufficiency for all food groups, not whether there is enough food. As per the above, if we looked at self sufficiency for Avocados then I am sure we would be less than 1%.

    If you looked at it for cereal, milk etc it would be 100%

    We don’t need avocados to survive (well most of us don’t!)

    World Bank

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    Good troll OP…

    you’ve woken up both the armchair economists and the “Let them eat cake” brigade…..

    Although it will only really be complete when we see a fully structured argument for 3rd world eugenics and ethnic cleansing…

    Come on folks lets give the DM a run for their money!

    Kenya has a huge export business in vegetables.
    Shame Somalia can’t afford them, isn’t it? It’d cut down on food miles at least, especially during summer when its warm enough to grow mange toute and maize here.

    Yeah I can’t help but wonder that when I see the scenes on the news – mile after mile of Kenyan farms flying baby sweetcorn and chilies to Tescos and people dying on their doorstep.

    tree-magnet
    Member

    Its talking about self-sufficiency for all food groups, not whether there is enough food. As per the above, if we looked at self sufficiency for Avocados then I am sure we would be less than 1%

    Did you read it?

    Currently the UK is 60% self-sufficient in all foods and over 74% self-sufficient in foods that can be produced in this country.

    Avocados have nothing to do with it. As I said, this is not what we could adapt to, given time. It’s what we can produce now. If imports stopped now, with no warning we’d be screwed, the same as a drought in certain parts of Africa. We are in just as precarious a position, it’s just the method that changes. Water in Africa, oil in the UK (and most of the Western world).

    I still haven’t seen any data to back up your 98% statistic.

    LHS
    Member

    If imports stopped now, with no warning we’d be screwed

    You’re mis-reading what it is saying.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    Remind me please if you will, were we discussing the current situation in Somalia or is this thread just the official
    “I read and interpreted a DEFRA report on Avacardos” willy waving thread

    Anyone?

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    Regarding Africa – people have existed there for millennia (did we not all come from their originally or has this theory now been debunked?). Over those millennia there have been many ups and down in terms of environment and the western world neither knew, cared or had the ability to do anything about the famines yet they still survived (not individuals – I’m sure millions died along the way – but as a population.

    So what has changed – or indeed has anything changed? If the west closed our eyes and covered our ears and left them alone for a hundred years would we return to a deserted waste lands or pretty much what we have today?

    It would seem that many areas of Africa have reached their sustainable limits given the vagaries of environmental change (drought & flood) and the frailties of human nature (greed, corruption, profit). It would seem the “natural way” of surviving hardship is to overpopulate in the knowledge that many will perish but some should survive. If our gentle western eyes can’t handle that it does seem that we need to change African lifestyles alongside giving aid. Or turn away and let them get on with it. If they we not using some of their best land for producing cash crops for the west maybe they would be more self sufficient.

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