Future agriculture and food supply chain - not even doomsday preppers got it right

Ivan Stefanic, Filip Stefanic

Abstract


Future agriculture and food supply chain is one of the pillars of human survival and prosperity in the long run. The planet’s ecosystem is very fragile and influenced by a large array of very diverse natural and human factors which are frequently interdependent. Regardless of root cause, climate change, pollution and depletion of non-renewable resources and several other unfavorable processes are in place. We can argue that the increase of the average temperature is just a part of a long-term natural cycle and not the consequence of human negligence and pollution, but in the end, it doesn’t matter. The ecosystem is changed and agricultural plants might not survive the change and adopt in time. Relevant and fairly reliable indicators are available, but it seems that nobody is paying attention to those staggering numbers and trends. Doomsday preppers are well known to be a rather suspicious and concerned group of people about the reliability of future food supply chain. But even they somehow assume that agricultural production will go on, and the only problems that could occur are short run disruptions in distribution.

The main challenge for future agriculture and food supply chain is to produce more food with considerably less resources in a sustainable manner for a rapidly growing population, preferably even reducing current levels of pollution. Securing future agriculture and food supply chain is a complex task which requires not only new technologies but a paradigm shift in the current technological and economic system. Possibly the most important change is the change in current agricultural practices and agricultural education.

Reliability of the food system is heavily dependent on mineral oil and significant amount of transportation. Moreover, global agriculture is extremely centralized and profit oriented. Intense push of GMOs into standard agricultural practice lead to severe reduction of biodiversity in agriculture. Once upon a time, countless genotypes of same varieties offered unprecedented genetic variability which was one of the key factors of survival. Today, large GMO fields are populated with only several genotypes. In occurrence of very harmful effects for that particular genotype, whole fields could be simply wiped out. Additionally, patented genes and the domination of hybrid seeds are major obstacles for farmers’ own seeds production and provision of decentralized food production during and after possible capital disturbances of future agriculture and food supply chain.

Mankind, is only a part of a global system, together with some valuable resources which play a crucial, but not so visible role, in the planet’s ecosystem. Forests occupy roughly one third of the earth's land surface. Because of their size, forests play a major role in the functioning of the biosphere and not only a role limited to business. Unprecedented deforestation compensates for loss of arable land, but badly influences the planet’s biosphere. It seems rather rational to get to the consensus quickly and replace the management paradigm in a sense that we govern and manage something that belongs to us, with the stewardship paradigm in a sense where we steer and cherish the most important resources, vital for our own survival. 


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.19040/ecocycles.v3i2.82

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Copyright (c) 2017 Ivan Stefanic, Filip Stefanic

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ECOCYCLES
ISSN 2416-2140
DOI prefix 10.19040