Robert Paarlberg's 'Attention Whole Food Shoppers'

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World hunger has always been a problem that has plagued humanity, and through the years, it has remained an almost impossible problem to solve. However, industrialized agriculture has become a possible solution to world hunger with its ability to produce more food on less land than traditional methods. Industrialized agriculture is the solution Robert Paarlberg offers in his article, “Attention Whole Food Shoppers” which first appeared in April 2010 edition of Foreign Policy. Paarlberg attempts to use specific criteria to demonstrate the benefits of industrialized agriculture, such as its impacts on world hunger, the income gap, and global politics. Paarlberg was to an extent successful at proving his points and persuading his intended audience.…show more content…
He used the average household income of local African farmers as an example of the ineffectiveness of organic agriculture; however, his views have created a number of opponents to his ideas. For example, Ann Lappe, author of “Diet for a Hot Planet” had this to say, “Paarlberg doesn’t get what it means to be organic. Organic farming isn’t just about not using chemicals. Organic farmers improve output by tapping a sophisticated understanding of biological systems to build soil fertility and manage pests and weeds through techniques that include double-dug beds, intercropping, composting, manures, cover crops, crop sequencing, and natural pest control. It could be aptly dubbed ‘knowledge-intensive’ farming.” (Lappe). Coline Serreau in her movie Local Solutions to a Global Disaster interviewed local farmers. One farmer who did not use chemicals on his crops, claimed that his harvest was better than his neighbor who had used chemicals on his crops, so it appears that the world’s hungry can be fed with the use of organic agriculture. Yet Paarlberg contends that the green revolution is a failure. In Rome there was meeting of five hundred NGO’s such as Friends of the Earth and Greenspace, agreed that the Green Revolution was probably not the best course of action and may have contributed to the rise in world hunger. Thus, as Paarlberg has argued, industrial agriculture has helped reduce starvation and poverty in Africa and South-East Asia. Paarlberg’s earlier claim about increasing wheat yield in India contradicts Coline Serra’s film, in which Vandana Shiva explains that across India farmers are committing suicide at a staggering rate due to them being indebted to the fertilizer and pesticide manufacturers and the increase of diseases in their crops due to the excessive use of these chemicals. “Down to Earth”
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