Factors Affecting Food Production
There are many factors affecting food production which have led to the global shortage of food. Factors that affect the production of food can be classified as biological, environmental, socio-cultural and physical. Food production is a crucial determinant of food supply or food shortage. The potential of producing food varies among countries but it largely depends on natural factors, political factors and cultural factors. Different countries are affected by these factors different but they can all combine to cause global food shortage.
The major factors affecting food production
- Climatic factors
Rainfall and temperature are important climatic elements that determine how and when crops are grown in most parts of the world. For instance, some countries in Asia can harvest crops three times per year. However, food production is almost halted during the dry seasons. Climatic conditions like low temperatures or extreme heat can damage crops. Such climatic factors combined with thaws or frosts can ruin crops in the field or during harvesting. Seasonality is a major climatic factor that affects food production. It means that there are times of the year when some places cannot produce crops. The global climate change, which has led to excessive rainfall or floods and droughts, has also affected food production in most places. Climate has affected food production globally because not all places can depend on irrigation.
- Political factors
Political factors are important vital social factors that affect food production in many countries. In most countries, economic policies, which affect agriculture, are made by politicians. These policies can affect food production in different ways. For instance, politicians can make legislation to impose taxes on farm inputs. Such policies will affect the morale of farmers because they will reduce the returns that farmers will get from their investments in agriculture. Some countries have lands where food can be produced but no production takes place. This is because political issues have led to war. People who could engage in food production are busy fighting in such countries.
- Environmental factors
Soil is a major environmental factor that affects food production. The fertility and structure of soil affects food production. Although these factors are not considered by most people because they are modified by rainfall or temperature, they affect food production in various ways. For instance, the dark soils in the Midwest in US and sand in Sahara cannot produce the same amount of food. Some soils such as those in the tropical regions have less phosphorous and nitrogen. There are also soils with low capacity for absorbing fertilizers. Such environmental factors affect crop production in most places.
- Biological factors
These include biological stressors like disease, animals, humans, insects and weeds. They all affect food production by damaging crops in the field. They also increase the cost of production because farmers are forced to buy chemicals for controlling them. Due to human habitats and urban development, there has been a reduction in the cropland area.
- Cultural and social factors
Socio-cultural factors like labor and land use as well as dietary preferences affect the overall production of food. In some places, women are not allowed to inherit land. Only men inherit land and some of them are unable to utilize it properly. Crop choices in some countries have also led to hunger in some countries.
How to address the factors affecting food production
To address the issues that affect the production of food, various stakeholders should be involved. These include farmers, policy makers and government agricultural agencies. These should be involved in the formulation of policies that affect food production. Additionally, farmers should stop depending on rain-fed agriculture and instead, invest in irrigation systems to ensure that their food production is not affected by climatic factors. Socio-cultural factors that affect the production of food should also be addressed through public education and proper legislation.
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