Since 1950, developing countries have been able to increase food production three to four times. Yet, growth of food production in many developing countries has slowed in the last decade, and across the world, available land for agricultural use has reduced to the point that marginal lands are being brought into production. To maintain current levels of food availability per capita, it is estimated that food-crop yields per hectare must increase by 40% or more in the next two decades, as a result of an estimated 2,000 million more mouths to feed in twenty years.
In the first half of the 1980s, African countries, particularly those located south of the Sahara Desert, faced a serious problem of food shortage that was caused by population increase, progress of desertification and continuation of drought year. Although the food shortage has been somewhat alleviated in the recent years due to favourable climatic conditions, the increase of food production continues to be the fundamental problem as no improvement has been made on the fragility of food production in these African countries. The Association for International Cooperation of Agriculture & Forestry, Japan (AICAF) had conducted a survey to grasp the actual conditions of food and agriculture in the African countries since 1985 under the consignment from the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. This survey has been conducted on twelve countries by the end of 1987.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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