An International Meeting on Infestation of Food/Stuffs

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Interest in losses caused by insects to food grains during storage decreased in the early years of the present century as railways and steamship routes linked up new areas of cheap production with consumers all over the world. The ease with which local shortages of food could be met by importations from the other side of the globe-providing of course that somebody could make a profit out of the transaction-and the organization of trade so that stocks did not require to be held for long periods, all served to hide the fact that storage pests were everywhere. ready to seize any opportunity to increase the amount of damage they could do to crops after harvest. The First World War with its interruption of communications brought these facts to light, so that producers had to hold large stocks of grain they amId not ship, and consumers were so short that "normal losses" due to storage insects could no longer be afforded. The lesson was not well learnt, because soon after the war larger crops were . produced , the result of unplanned exploitation of new farming areas, and maize was used even as locomotive fuel in South America. In the thirties the situation began to look less satisfactory as "dust bowls" became news, and a rapidly increasing world' population, coupled with the spread of industrialism to more and more countries who had been exporters of foodstuffs, these factors conspired to narrow the gap between supply and demand. World War Two with its dislocation of food production and distribution, coupled with the unrelenting spread of soil erosion, the continued increase in population and the increasing demand for higher standards of feeding, this has further served to bring the problem of food sllPplies to the fore. It is now generally agreed that we can no longer afford to share our crops with storage pests, even at the conservative estimate that they destroy ten per cent of the harvest each year.
East African Agricultural and Forestry Journal, XIV (2), pp. 79-81