Le retour de Malthus

WASHINGTON DC – La science et la technologie ont profondément modifié l’agriculture au cours du vingtième siècle. Aujourd’hui, dans sa grande majorité, l’agriculture du monde développé est une entreprise à grande échelleamp#160;: mécanisée, contrôlée par ordinateur, et basée sur une utilisation complexe de la chimie et sur la connaissance de la physiologie des plantes et des sols.

L’invention des engrais chimiques au début du siècle et l’intensification de leur utilisation, associés à la mécanisation et au développement de variétés de céréales à fort rendement, ont dynamisé la croissance de la productivité agricole dans le monde développé. La révolution verte a apporté ces bénéfices à des nations moins développées.

Par conséquent, en dépit de la multiplication par trois de la population mondiale, nous avons pour l’instant échappé à la prédiction faite en 1798 par Malthus selon laquelle la croissance démographique dépasserait inévitablement notre capacité à produire de la nourriture. Au cours de la seconde moitié du vingtième siècle, les affamés de la Terre sont passés de la moitié des trois milliards d’humains à moins d’un milliards sur les 6,5amp#160;milliards actuels.

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