Agriculture and nutrition: The end of hunger

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A robust supply of healthy food was the challenge in the domain of agriculture and foods in the twentieth century. Despite the agrarian successes of the nineteenth century (see Chap. 8), two world wars and the Great Depression had rendered food supply a persistent core element of government policy. Investments in agriculture like reclamations and land re-allocation transformed the landscape. Cooperation among the government, knowledge institutes and industry promoted mechanisation of agriculture. The use of artificial fertilisers and crop protection substances became widespread. Mixed farms transformed into specialized enterprises. The supply chains of agricultural products became longer and more complex. In the food processing industry too innovations led to long international supply chains and new processing methods. New relationships between producers and consumers were the result. Consumer had to be convinced of the quality of food products by means of government quality control and informational campaigns. The new production chains were a major contributor to the degradation of the natural landscape and the reduction of biodiversity, both domestically and internationally. This culminated in growing social unrest and by 1970 in a more critical view of developments in agriculture and the food processing industry. This was the prelude to measures in the area of sustainable agriculture and food production (see Chap. 18).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWell-Being, Sustainability and Social Development
Subtitle of host publicationThe Netherlands 1850-2050
EditorsHarry Lintsen , Frank Veraart, Jan-Pieter Smits, John Grin
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9783319766966
ISBN (Print)9783319766959
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2018


  • Agriculture
  • Biodiversity
  • Consumption patterns
  • Food quality
  • Food supply
  • Land re-allocation
  • Longer supply chains
  • Rationalisation
  • Reclamations
  • Specialisation


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