One often reads or hears the comforting generalization that there is plenty of food in the world – the real problem is that many people can't afford it. While this remains true at present we are rapidly approaching the stage where it might not be so. At the time of writing, water shortages and soil degradation are causing famine conditions in much of Africa that are putting millions of people at risk of death from starvation; tens of millions more around the world can no longer persuade their exhausted soil to provide them with enough to eat. Between 1950 and 1996 the amount of grain land per person in the world dropped by almost half, according to the United Nations Population Fund's report State of World Population ...

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