Demand for Food

The demand for food is determined by population growth and changes in income [3]. Population Growth

World population is still growing. Even with a declining growth rate, about 90 million people are being added to the population each year [9]. The United Nations predicts an increase in world population from 5.8 billion in 1995 [9] to 7.0 billion in 2010 [10].

Population growth means a growing demand for food. This is especially true in developing countries, where the largest population growth is expected (Table 1.5). The growth in demand for food leads to intensification of agricultural production and an increasing pressure on existing and potential agricultural lands. Theoretically, this intensification is possible in most developing countries [10], but this increase in food production will certainly strain an already fragile ecological balance.

Changes in Income

Changes in income mean changes in composition of diet and the expenditures on food. In low-income countries the demand is for food products that give the most calories for the least money, which are cereals and root crops such as potatoes and yams. These crops give a high yield of calories (and protein) per hectare [3]. This explains the predominance of crops such as rice, maize, sorghum, or millet in many developing countries. With increasing income, the food pattern changes. Most important is the shift from plant food to the less efficient and more expensive animal products.

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