Skip to Content

Food Production

Massacre of Fruit

Next time you pay 3p. (at least) for a peach, remember that the sight of a tractor crushing huge mounds of these plump, juicy fruits prior to their mass burial is boringly familiar to those who live in the "California of Europe", Italy's main fruit-growing area in the Romagna.

We all know, of course, from those regular newspaper reports and prompt television documentaries that the practice is not confined to this area of Italy, or even of Europe. But this year's slaughter of unmarketable fruit threaten to assume vaster, even more unimaginable proportions than in the past. Last year's figures of several hundred thousand tons of peaches, pears and apples destroyed may well look small when this season's wastage is revealed.

How Many Die of Famine?

There are two short answers to this question. One is that we don't know and the other that it depends what you mean by "die of starvation".

Obviously in those parts of the world affected by hunger the last thing doctors and government officials do is fill in death certificates setting out the cause of death, and even if they did there would be no guarantee that they would be using the same criteria from country to country. So we are dealing here not with accurate information but with informed guesses based on what statistical evidence there is.

What Causes Famines?

Recent events in Ethiopia have brought the question of famine back into the news. But what are famines? And what causes them? The obvious answer seems to be a situation where people are dying through lack of food in a particular region.

Too Many People or Not Enough Food Production?

On 31 October the world’s population was said to have reached 7 billion. Would this be a problem in socialism?

Syndicate content