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Book Chapter

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Global Aspects of Food Production

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Desertification constitutes a serious potential threat to the future of world food production - but in a rather more complex way than is represented in most of the arguments and figures published so far. The circumstances of the discovery of deser­tification led to a particular structuring of the campaign to combat it. From the begin­ning the campaign held the seeds of conflict in the form of political imbalance. The data that were gathered to further the campaign have served to fuel the conflict. Not only is the conflict not yet resolved: it has received little open discussion. Meanwhile, the campaign languishes.

This chapter seeks to disentangle some of the complexity in the desertification debate, in order to bring the problem into better perspective, so that its future signifi­cance can be realistically assessed. The presentation falls into four sections. The first reviews the background to the campaign. The second discusses the organisation of activities and of information, giving special attention to the inherent conflicts of interest that have (it is suggested) been responsible for the difficulties encountered in formulating and implementing practical measures to combat desertification. The third looks at the concept of desertification, as it has developed and continues to develop, as a rationalisation of the ideas generated in the campaign. The final section outlines the prospect for dealing with desertification insofar as it may affect food pro­duction at the global level, and formulates an approach to it that may be not only more acceptable politically but more comprehensive scientifically.


food production, desertification, globalization



Date Posted: 22 October 2016