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Topic 5: Geography of Food

Chapter 12: Intensity of Food Production

Intensification of Food Production: It is the finding of ways to grow more crops on
the same piece of land or allowing more cycles of planting and harvesting in a year.

Productivity: It can be measured in terms of labour per unit area of output per unit
Labour per unit area is the number of workers on a unit area of land. The
productivity is said to be high if the labour per unit area is lesser to produce the
same amount of crop.
Output per unit area is the amount of food produced on a unit area of land. The
productivity is said to be high if it produces a higher output when compared to
another piece of land with the same area and number of workers.

Factors Affecting Productivity:

 Physical Factors:
 Refers to the physical height and slope of the land.

 Gentle or flat land is good for farming as the water is less likely to run

 Low relief will allow farmers to easily transport their crops and also be able to
operate heavy and new machines, to increase productivity.
 Terraces are made on steep slopes to retain water so as to grow more crops.
Only manual labour can be used.

 Tea grows well on sloping land as it is well drain.


 Fertility of soil also affects the productivity. Fertility depends on the amount
of air, water and nutrients present.

 Fertile soil is usually found on floodplains, deltas or areas near volcanoes.

This area have constant deposition of minerals from time to time, hence the
output per unit area is higher. Less resting period is needed hence, more
crops could be produced.
 Type of soil also affects the productivity. Wet & clayey soil is suitable for
growing rice, hence can be found at floodplains and river deltas.

Topic 5: Geography of Food
Chapter 12: Intensity of Food Production
 Generally, high temperature & rainfall leads to higher productivity, as these
conditions are more favourable for plant growth.
 However, some plants needs less water or lower temperature for growth.
 Social Factors:
Land Fragmentation:

 In tradition, the father will divide his land equally among his children. Over
generations, the resultant plot from all the division will be very small.

 Since it has limited output, machines are not used as it is unprofitable. The
labour per unit area is higher, hence lower productivity.
Land Tenure:
 Land is either own by government or someone who is rich. Money is collected
or portion of crops is collected as rents.

 Much of the harvest would go to the government or to the landlords. Hence

the farmers feel that it is not worth investing on modern machineries to
increase the productivity if the plot of land.
 Economic Factors:
 A high demand for food will encourage the food producers to increase their
output & productivity, so they can earn more.

 With a larger capital, money can be used to buy machineries, fertilizers &
pesticides to increase the productivity of the farm.

 Large amount of money is being pump into research & development to

improve the productivity of food. Some species of crops may be drought

 Political Factors:
Government Policies:

 In Singapore, traditional farming is replaced with high-tech farming in a move

to maximise land usage. Less space is needed, and less labour is needed.
Hence there is a decrease in labour per unit area and an increase in output
per unit area. Hence a total increase in productivity.
 In Malaysia, farming facilities are built, loans and subsidies are provided and
also land cleared for the farming of crops, to encourage greater productivity.
Roads are also built to increase make it easier for the transportation of crops.

Topic 5: Geography of Food
Chapter 12: Intensity of Food Production
 Technology Factors:
The Green Revolution:
 It helped the LDCs to increase their production of food crops through the use
of modern technology.

 High yielding varieties: Improved strains of rice such as those that are
resistant to pest and take shorter time to grow. Thus leading to a increase in
productivity greatly.

 Modern irrigation methods: It is the practice of supplying water to the land

through artificial means.

 This allows farmers to control water supplies to the crops, therefore, during
dry seasons, farmers still can grow their crops. Modern irrigation methods
allow farmers to grow their crop throughout the year.

 Use of chemicals: On the same piece of land, crops cannot be continuously

cultivated on the same piece of land as the nutrients are limited. Fertilisers
can be added to increase the nutrient content of the soil to continue
cultivating crops.

 Pesticides and herbicides can be used to kill/poison insects or animals harmful

to the crops. Fertilisers may encourage the growth of weeds hence, herbicides
can be used to remove the weeds.

Positive: Negative:
Less poverty, higher income, hence Groundwater receding faster than being
lesser starvation replenished by rainfall
Wheat and rice are cheaper Increase income equality gap between
the rich and the poor.
Increase food productivity Environment damage
Lesser land use Inequitable asset distribution for small

Topic 5: Geography of Food
Chapter 12: Intensity of Food Production
The Blue Revolution:

 It is started to protect marine life and to ensure sufficient seafood.

 Blue revolution encourages fish farmers to rear fishes in tanks.

 In the fisheries, research and laboratories can be set up to help develop ways
to increase the fertility of fishes & to increase their resistance to diseases.
 Hence there is a significant increase in the amount of fishes available.

Positive: Negative:
Fish yields increase for short term Increase mangroves being cut down
More efficient production process Increase red tides-growth of toxic algae
Increase profits Environment degradation
Decrease fish price Fish diseases spread to those in the sea
Increase income equality gap between
the rich and the poor.