Food Security: Can global food production be increased?

In a day where the water tables are falling, the temperatures of the world are rising drastically, and the population continues to increase, our food production is facing eminent collapse.
Moreover countries that continue to industrialize today drive up the demand for food increase the population and simultaneously shrink the cropland areas.  The cropland areas are then used for industrial and residential developments.

Yet even though these associations are visible to most of us reversing this decline of space for food production has not been easy even with government incentives. 
 Can urban agriculture be large enough in scale to feed its city?

To quantify this in numbers is hard mainly because these numbers do not exist. They only exist in the form of specific crops such as grain and for specific countries.  After a vast research of these numbers I concluded that if water shortage and environmental disasters do not continue to increase and with the current average common technologies  a viable relationship of food production area to number of people it feeds is
This doesn't seem very shocking until you start trying to understand it in terms of your cities and or towns. I wonder if other numbers to indicate this ratio have been produced as i still have not found any.  

Lebanon’s food requirements

HOW much food does Beirut need to produce to feed itself?

The Biqa Valley, plus the narrow valleys sweeping down to the sea is evidence of the variety of Lebanon's agricultural lands. However, Lebanon's fertile land In addition to the livestock production has not been fully exploited because of almost constant warfare.

The Food and agriculture organization of the United Nations has some key statistics on Lebanon published stating that the agricultural area in Lebanon is 6,870 km2 in a country that is 10,452 km2 with a population of 4.224 million ( ).  

If we are to assume the numbers of the FAO, and assume that all that land is intensely cropped all seasons, which is not the case, they will show that to feed Lebanon we need to increase our food production .

For Lebanon to be self sufficient the numbers show that we need three times the total area of the country and therefore increase the currently existing agriculture land by about 5 times

These shocking numbers seem unreal! These are just calculations I put together and need to be verified and questioned further.  Yet technical advances need to increase the amount of food production within 1km2 in addition to a conscious decision for people to eat less and for planners and architects alike to realize that this is as much a spatial problem as it is a humanitarian one.  These numbers are even more shocking in dense cities if we are to  assume cities need to at-least share the burden of food production.

 Links and References
"Agriculture and Genetic Diversity." World Resources Institute. 
 Agricultural Biotechnology Information Center Home Page (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
 "The Ecological Risks and Benefits of Genetically Engineered Plants." Science (290), 15 Dec 2000.
Unknown, Human Appropriation of the World's Food Supply, last accesses may 2011
Thomas Collelo, ed. Lebanon: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1987. last accessed may 2011
Ministry of agriculture, Republic of Lebanon,, last accessed may 2011
Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations, Country Profile: Lebanon,, last accessed may 201
Lester Brown, Outgrowing the Earth: The Food Security Challenge in an Age of Falling Water Tables and Rising Temperatures, 2004
Lester Brown, Plan B: Rescuing a Planet under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble,  Earth Policy Institute, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2003, ISBN 0-393-05859-X
"Food Production: Have yields stopped rising?" World Resources Institute's Sustainable Development Information Service 


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  2. I believe Saudi Arabia, amongst several other gulf states, are investing and buying land in Africa amongst other places to secure food security. This is of course controversial as if they purchase or rent out such lands say in Sudan they will most likely have to also protect these areas so issues of securiy, sovereignty obviously come up. But back to Lebanon, I wonder if its just capability to have food security or also a policy decision by our typically mercantilistic leaders. I thin Fawwaz Traboulsi may have written something to that effect..interesting post!