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Fri 10 Jun 2011 by mskala Tags used: ,

I wonder: what percentage of current agricultural capacity is devoted to stimulant drug crops? I mean tea, coffee, tobacco, khat, areca, coca, cacao, yerba mate, and so on. It seems like it must be a pretty large percentage. I wonder how much food could be grown using those resources, and how that amount of food compares to the size of the food shortage.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that it would be possible or desirable to make such a substitution. It seems like there must be a reason that nearly every human culture has a tradition of using stimulant drugs. Also, I'm well aware that different plants grow under different conditions, so the land and resources currently used for non-food crops can't necessarily be used for food crops. But it would still be interesting to know the answers to the questions.


Fun Boy Three
I see the faces of starvation,
But I just cannot see the point:
There is so much food here today
That no one wants to take away. Fun Boy Three - 2011-06-13 02:16
I had the idea that this might be a significant diversion of agricultural resources because I was reading about Yemen, where supposedly 40% of the available fresh water goes to irrigate the khat crop and they grow very little else. But it seems that's a bit misleading because Yemen is a tiny little place, importing food from elsewhere in exchange for the khat (which is not grown much anywhere else) and it's not typical of the whole world: overall, stimulants are probably only a very small percentage of total non-food agriculture. I'm still not sure how total non-food compares to total food, but that would be the place to look rather than at stimulants in particular.

So, in other words: nothing to see here, move along. Matt - 2011-06-13 07:27

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