SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.77 número2Contextualising theological education in Africa by doing theology in a missional hermeneuticProverbs 31:10-31: A passage containing wisdom principles for a successful marriage índice de autoresíndice de assuntospesquisa de artigos
Home Pagelista alfabética de periódicos  

Serviços Personalizados



Links relacionados

  • Em processo de indexaçãoCitado por Google
  • Em processo de indexaçãoSimilares em Google



versão On-line ISSN 2304-8557
versão impressa ISSN 0023-270X

Koers (Online) vol.77 no.2 Pretoria  2012




How should agriculture produce enough food for the world?


Hoe kan die landboubedryf genoeg voedsel vir die wêreld produseer?



Petrus Simons

School for Basic Sciences, North-West University, Vaal-Triangle Campus, South Africa





From an agricultural point of view, the question if the earth can feed adequately not only its current population of 7 billion people, but also the expected population of 9 billion people to 10 billion people by 2050, is currently answered in two opposing ways. Some believe modern agriculture should increase productivity by implementing technological innovation and eliminating subsistence agriculture. Others believe industrialised agriculture is out of tune with the ecology and sufficient healthy food may be produced by an agriculture that recognises ecological and biological limits (known as ecological intensification). On the basis of a theoretical framework derived from reformational philosophy and in particular the concept of enkapsis, this article supports ecological intensification, especially if it forms part of a cultural development guided by Schuurman's metaphor of a garden-city. However, it is still a marginal activity within a culture directed by a belief in progress. High rates of economic growth, based on technological innovation, appears to validate such faith, but human and environmental costs are insufficiently acknowledged (metaphor: the earth is a machine). A break with technicism and economism becomes a pre-condition for feeding adequately both the present and the projected population of the world.


Die vraag of die aarde in staat is om nie net die huidige populasie van 7 biljoen mense nie, maar 'n geskatte 9 biljoen mense tot 10 biljoen mense teen 2050, voldoende te voed, word tans op twee verskillende maniere beantwoord. Daar is diegene wat glo dat moderne landbou produktiwiteit moet verhoog deur deur tegnologiese vernuwing, terwyl bestaansboerdery geëlimineer moet word. Hierdie oplossing word teengestaan deur diegene wat glo dat geïndustrialiseerde landbou nie in pas is met die ekologie waarin dit plaasvind nie. Hulle redeneer dat daar steeds genoegsame produksie van gesonde voedsel kan wees wanneer ekologiese en biologiese grense in ag geneem word (ekologiese intensivering). In die lig van 'n teoretiese raamwerk wat 'n oorsprong in die reformatoriese filosofie het, en in besonder die enkapsis-konsep, is daar in hierdie artikel geredeneer dat ekologiese intensivering die beter alternatief is, veral wanneer dit deel uitmaak van 'n kulturele ontwikkeling gelei deur Schuurman se tuinstadmetafoor. Dit is egter steeds 'n marginale gedagte in 'n kultuur wat oorheers word deur die geloof in vooruitgang. Sodanige geloof word skynbaar geregverdig deur die hoë ekonomiese groeikoers wat op tegnologiese vernuwing gebaseer is, maar, alhoewel dit nie genoegsaam erken word nie, geskied dit ten koste van die mens en die omgewing (metafoor: die aarde is 'n masjien). 'n Breek met tegnisisme en ekonomisme word 'n voorwaarde vir voldoende voedsel vir die huidige sowel as toekomstige wereldbevolking.



Full text available only in PDF format.



Competing interests

The author declares that he has no financial or personal relationships which may have inappropriately influenced him in writing this article.



Bommert, W., 2009, Kein Brot für die Welt: Die Zukunft der Welternährung, Riemann, München.         [ Links ]

Carter, V.G. & Dale, T., [1955] 1974, Topsoil and civilization, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.

Descartes, R.A., [1637] 1953, Discourse on method, J.M. Dent & Sons, London.

Dooyeweerd, H., 1969, A new critique of theoretical thought, vol. III, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, Philadelphia.         [ Links ]

Dufumier, M., 2004, Agricultures et paysanneries des Tiers mondes, Karthala, Paris.         [ Links ]

Hathaway, D.E., 1963, Government and agriculture: Economic policy in a democratic society, Macmillan, New York.         [ Links ]

Klapwijk, J., 2009, Heeft de evolutie een doel? Over schepping en emergente evolutie. J.H. Kok, Kampen.         [ Links ]

Löwenstein, Z., 2011, Food crash: Wir werden uns ökologisch ernähren oder gar nicht mehr, Pattloch, München.         [ Links ]

Martin, M. & Kakde, S., 2006, From debt trap to death trap; victims of 'free' markets; an enquiry into farmers' suicide, Vikas Adhyayan Kendra, Mumbai.         [ Links ]

Oxlade, L., 2011, 'Greening the Sahara', Permaculture 68, Summer, 33-35.         [ Links ]

Parmentier, B., 2009, Nourrir l'humanité; Les grands problèmes de l'agriculture mondiale au XXI siècle, La Découverte, Paris.         [ Links ]

Pérez-Vitoria, S., 2010, La riposte des paysans, Actes Sud, Arles.         [ Links ]

Popma, K.J., 1956, Inleiding in de wijsbegeerte, J.H. Kok, Kampen.         [ Links ]

Reichholf, J.H., 2006, Der Tanz um das goldene Kalb; der Ökokolonialismus Europas, Klaus Wagenbach, Berlin.         [ Links ]

Schuurman, E., [2002] 2005, The technological world picture and an ethics of responsibility, Dordt College Press, Sioux Center.

Sentker, A., 2010, 'Brot allein macht nicht sat. Interview of Joachim von Braun', Die Zeit, Hamburg, 07 January, p. 31.         [ Links ]

Smith, A., [1766] 1978, Lectures on jurisprudence, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Soule J.D. & Piper, J.K, 1992, Farming in nature's image; An ecological approach to agriculture, Island Press, Washington D.C.         [ Links ]

Sprothen, V., 2012, 'Ein riesiges Minenloch', Die Zeit, Hamburg.         [ Links ]

Testart, J., Sinaï, A. & Bourgain, C., 2010, Labo Planète: ou comment 2030 se prepare sans les citoyens, Mille et Une Nuits, Paris.         [ Links ]

Tudge, C., 2003, So shall we reap, Penguin, London.         [ Links ]

Vollenhoven, D.H.T.h, 2005a, in K.A. Bril (ed.), The problem-historical method and the history of philosophy, De Zaak Haes, Amstelveen.         [ Links ]

Vollenhoven, D.H.T.h, 2005b, Isagogè philosophiae; introduction to philosophy, Dordt College Press, Sioux Center.         [ Links ]

Wells, S., 2010, Pandora's seed; Why the hunter-gatherer holds the key to our survival, Penguin, London.         [ Links ]

Ziegler, J., 2011, Destruction massive; Géopolitique de la faim, Éditions du Seuil, Paris.         [ Links ]



Petrus Simons
PO Box 12-294
Wellington 6144
New Zealand

Received: 27 Mar. 2012
Accepted: 03 Oct. 2012
Published: 14 Dec. 2012

Creative Commons License Todo o conteúdo deste periódico, exceto onde está identificado, está licenciado sob uma Licença Creative Commons