Crop production and crop protection: estimated losses in by E -C Oerke

By E -C Oerke

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14 ha. 10 ha respectively of grain are now grown per inhabitant. However, the natural conditions needed for large-scale irrigation, large rivers flowing down steep gradients over large distances, are found mainly in Asia. This is why about two-thirds of the world's irrigated land is there and, by virtue of this resource, Asia is presently able to feed about half the world's population (Brown 1987). However, in recent decades inappropriate irrigation or attempts to farm unsuitable types of soil has led to appreciable problems, with the attendant symptoms of salinization, paludification and silting (Eckholm 1976).

Farm workers - annual increase Mill. 69 1 Chemical fertilizers ( N , P, K) - excluding nutrients in the farmyard manure. Source: Germany: A . Weber: Langfristige Energiebilanz in der Landwirtschaft. (Landwirtschaft Angewandte Wissenschaft, N o . 221) Landwirtschaftsverlag, Münster-Hiltrup 1979. - A . Weber: Productivity Growth in German Agriculture: 1850-1970. Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Staff Paper P 7 3 - 1 , St. Paul 1973. - Developing countries: F A O , Production Yearbook, current volume, F A O , Fertilizer Yearbook, current volume.

N e w sources of energy will have to be found, so investment in energy secures and expands the basis of food production. Also, there is no doubt that as agricultural productivity increases, so too does the energy input per worker and per unit of area. However, the proportion of energy accounted for by food production in terms of total consumption by the national economy falls with increasing economic develop21 Population growth, agricultural production and food supplies ment. It corresponds approximately to the net product in agriculture.

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