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Working Paper

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economic development, food consumption, agricultural self-sufficiency


Per capita food consumption and production changes during economic development are analyzed using a resource-based cereal equivalent measure. Diet up-grades to livestock products during economic development contribute to an increase in per capita food resource use by a factor of five or more. Food consumption changes are generally consistent across countries and are only marginally affected by a country’s food production resource base (land). Food consumption increases tend to exceed food production increases in early stages of development, leading to food import needs. In later stages of development, per capita food consumption stabilizes. Continued increases in production allow the closing of the consumption-production gap for some countries at high income levels. Consumption of pork and poultry meat show the largest percentage increase during economic development; however, beef and dairy products are less efficient in resource use and therefore command a majority of the productive resources for livestock production at all income levels.


Invited paper presented at the 15th IFMA Congress, “Developing Entrepreneurship Abilities to Feed the World in a Sustainable Way,” Campinas, Brasil, August 14-19, 2005.

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