The improved conditions of life have recently led to a higher rate of population growth. The development of industries, agriculture, and transportation allowed people to live longer and provide support for their families. Currently, human population growth is about 1% annually, while the global population increased from 1 billion in the 19th century to 7 billion in the 21st century (Gu et al., 2021). Among the main factors that positively influence the population growth rate are people’s abilities to cultivate foods, build shelters, and develop technologies. However, resource and space scarcity is the key factor limiting the population’s growth since it means food shortages (Gu et al., 2021). Diseases and their treatment opportunities, climate changes, migration, and economic development of countries also determine the density and growth of the population. Therefore, the population cannot remain growing indefinitely.
Population Growth Rates in Nigeria and Spain
The rates of population growth may differ depending on the development status of a certain country. Spain is referred to as a developed country with a rich economy, a middle-range income, and advanced international trade levels (Weber & Sciubba, 2019). Nigeria is a developing country with low-middle income, facing many problems with infrastructure, power supply, internal and external trade, poverty, and corruption. In Nigeria, the annual population growth rate is 2.66%, while its total growth is 26.62% from 2011 to 2020 (World Data, 2020). At the same time, Spain accounts for a 0.17% yearly increase and 1.3% growth within the same period (World Data, 2020). A range of factors affects such growth rates, including agriculture, human capital, financial system development, the rule of law, etc.
A level of economic development largely defines population growth. Nigeria considers children as potential income bringers for their parents, while they are seen as economic costs. For example, Spain’s compulsory education until the age of 16 means that families cannot afford many children, which reduces families. On the contrary, Nigeria produces large families since child mortality rates are high, and children are potential economic assets. A low level of medicine in Nigeria and developed medical provision in Spain determine death rates and disease treatment costs. The comparison of these countries also shows that the developing nature of Nigeria is driven by agriculture: about 70% of the population is engaged in this branch of the economy, and 78% of land is used for this purpose (Central Intelligence Agency, 2022). Despite this, the country’s agriculture cannot provide its residents with enough food, which means that it imports it. As for Spain’s agricultural branch, its lands that can be used for crops are mostly of poor quality.
Industrial Agriculture and Sustainable Agriculture
Traditionally, industrial-scale farms are the most widespread form of agriculture in the world and the United States (US). Industrial agriculture produces one species of crops, which is called monoculture. In comparison, sustainable agriculture implies the rotation of crops with time, although its costs may be higher than those of monoculture. However, industrial agriculture negatively impacts the soil, water, and air as it degrades lands, extensively uses pesticides, and damages microorganisms in the soil. Lemaire et al. (2018) state that such an approach leads to the creation of the so-called dead zones, where oxygen levels become low. It places many biologic species in waterways and soil in hypoxic conditions, which threats their survival. Without these species, lands become less productive, and it is facilitated by chemical fertilizers. On the contrary, sustainable agriculture offers a rotation of crops to avoid the excessive use of pesticides and prevent soil erosion (Lemaire et al., 2018). It also insists on using cover crops as a natural way to protect lands and control the growth of harmful microorganisms.
The key advantage of industrial agriculture over sustainable agriculture is cheaper costs. It was believed that traditional agriculture could resolve the problem of hunger, especially in developing countries. Nevertheless, it is clear now that cheaper production cannot provide quality foods, and hunger is still a challenge in many regions of Africa, Latin America, and so on (Lemaire et al., 2018). By supporting biodiversity, sustainable agriculture proposes buying from local farmers and approaching agriculture as an ecosystem where crops, livestock, transportation, water resources, and many other factors should be viewed together.
If the US passed laws that restrict one type of agriculture, it would lead to a catastrophe. Currently, it is not possible to ban industrial agriculture as it produces the majority of crops that are used both inside the country and for export. The environment, public health, and local economies would benefit from a smooth transition to sustainable agriculture. Research shows that additional planning and costs are necessary to change the current approach to agriculture (Lemaire et al., 2018). Therefore, the US cannot restrict any agricultural practices. People and animals need their food immediately, but the future of agriculture should be sustainable.
Adopting Genetically Modified Food
It is critical to consider the future of agriculture, namely, genetically modified (GM) food since humanity needs more and more food while the Earth’s natural resources are limited. Today, GM foods are perceived as low quality and used in fast food, developing countries, and other spheres. In the face of limited resources and a growing global population, GM foods have become a way to survive. About 40% of the US land is used for GM foods, such as soybean, wheat, maize, and cotton (Kumar et al., 2020). It seems that people would not have a choice to either adopt or avoid GM since it is vital in many cases. GM is critical to feeding people during floods, tsunamis, droughts, military conflicts, underdeveloped regions, socially disadvantaged populations, et cetera. In this situation, the availability of food becomes more important than its quality. At the same time, organic foods should be produced as well, and their availability should be considered by agricultural companies.
GM food development is underway, and it can potentially reduce environmental imprints and make agriculture more sustainable. Kumar et al. (2020) assume that some ambitious projects can be adopted by the public and governments. For example, crops that can regulate their nitrogen levels can be useful for both agricultural companies and customers. Nitrogen fertilizers are also likely to make a minimal environmental impact. This also will be useful for farmers to decrease production costs and ensure a higher quality of their products.
To conclude, the current industrial agriculture needs to be advanced and developed in combination with sustainable agricultural practices. The ever-growing global population and limited natural resources pose a question of enough food that should be of good quality and price. It is suggested that GM food is a way to ensure feeding people in difficult situations, but the future of agriculture should be a mix of advanced industrial and sustainable practices, taking into account the environment, safety, and public health.
Central Intelligence Agency. (2022). The World Factbook.
Gu, D., Andreev, K., & Dupre, M. E. (2021). Major trends in population growth around the world. China CDC Weekly, 3(28), 604-613.
Kumar, K., Gambhir, G., Dass, A., Tripathi, A. K., Singh, A., Jha, A. K., & Rakshit, S. (2020). Genetically modified crops: Current status and future prospects. Planta, 251(4), 1-27.
Lemaire, G., de Faccio Carvalho, P. C., Kronberg, S., & Recous, S. (2018). Agroecosystem diversity: Reconciling contemporary agriculture and environmental quality. Academic Press.
Weber, H., & Sciubba, J. D. (2019). The effect of population growth on the environment: Evidence from European regions. European Journal of Population, 35(2), 379-402.
World Data. (2021). Population Growth by Country.