Section II-C NSSM 200, Pages 165-168

Food for Peace Program and Population


One of the most fundamental aspects of the impact of population growth on the political and economic well-being of the globe is its relationship to food. Here the problem of the interrelationship of population, national resources, environment, productivity and political and economic stability come together when shortages of this basic human need occur.

USDA projections indicate that the quantity of grain imports needed by the LDCs in the 1980s will grow significantly, both in overall and per capita terms. In addition, these countries will face year-to-year fluctuations weather and other factors.

This is not to say that the LDCs need face starvation in the next two decades, for the same projections indicate an even greater increase in production of grains in the developed nations. It should be pointed out, however, that these projections assume that such major problems as the vast increase in the need for fresh water, the ecological effects of the vast increase in the application of fertilizer, pesticides, and irrigation, and the apparent adverse trend in the global climate, are solved. At present, there are no solutions to these problems in sight.

The major challenge will be to increase food production in the LDCs themselves and to liberalize the system in which grain is transferred commercially from producer to consumer countries. We also see food aid as an important way of meeting part of the chronic shortfall and emergency needs caused by year-to-year variation at least through the end of this decade. Many outside experts predict just such difficulties even if major efforts are undertaken to expand world agricultural output, especially in the LDCs themselves but also in the U.S. and in other major feed grain producers. In the longer run, LDCs must both decrease population growth and increase agricultural production significantly. At some point the "excess capacity" of the food exporting countries will run out. Some countries have already moved from a net food exporter to a net importer of food.

There are major interagency studies now progressing in the food area and this report cannot go deeply into this field. It can only point to serious problems as they relate to population and suggest minimum requirements and goals in the food area. In particular, we believe that population growth may have very serious negative consequences on food production in the LDCs including over-expectations of the capacity of the land to produce, downgrading the ecological economics of marginal areas, and over-harvesting the seas. All of these conditions may affect the viability of the world's economy and thereby its prospects for peace and security.


Since NSC/CIEP studies are already underway we refer the reader to them. However the following, we believe, are minimum requirements for any strategy which wishes to avoid instability and conflict brought on by population growth and food scarcity:

(1) High priority for U.S. bilateral and multilateral LDC Agricultural Assistance; including efforts by the LDCs to improve food production and distribution with necessary institutional adjustments and economic policies to stimulate efficient production. This must include a significant increase in financial and technical aid to promote more efficient production and distribution in the LDCs.

(2) Development of national food stocks [Department of Agriculture favors U.S. commercial interests holding any national stocks in an international network of stockpiles] (including those needed for emergency relief) within an internationally agreed framework sufficient to provide an adequate level of world food security;

(3) Expansion of production of the input elements of food production (i.e., fertilizer, availability of water and high yield seed stocks) and increased incentives for expanded agricultural productivity. In this context a reduction in the real cost of energy (especially fuel) either through expansion in availability through new sources or decline in the relative price of oil or both would be of great importance;

(4) Significant expansion of U.S. and other producer country food crops within the context of a liberalized and efficient world trade system that will assure food availability to the LDCs in case of severe shortage. New international trade arrangements for agricultural products, open enough to permit maximum production by efficient producers and flexible enough to dampen wide price fluctuations in years when weather conditions result in either significant shortfalls or surpluses. We believe this objective can be achieved by trade liberalization and an internationally coordinated food reserve program without resorting to price-oriented agreements, which have undesirable effects on both production and distribution;

(5) The maintenance of an adequate food aid program with a clearer focus on its use as a means to make up real food deficits, pending the development of their own food resources, in countries unable to feed themselves rather than as primarily an economic development or foreign policy instrument; and

(6) A strengthened research effort, including long term, to develop new seed and farming technologies, primarily to increase yields but also to permit more extensive cultivation techniques, particularly in LDCs.

Семья и демография | Оглавление NSSM 200