Food Self Sufficiency By Country

Trump’s protectionism echoes a wave of protectionism in the 1930ies, then  as now a reaction to economic crisis. WW 2 might at least partially be explained as a exacerbation of these economic problems.

Two other factors play a major role

  • the attempt of the UK to preserve their Empire
  • the population explosion in all Western countries putting pressure on food production

The latter produced not only the youth bulge needed to fill the ranks of the armies but also made it interesting to harm the enemy by naval blockade.

So national food sufficiency is a defense objective. Finally I found some data. And it’s interesting.


from:wikipedia: List of countries by food self-sufficiency rate

Pretty good value for Germany. Given that we are as densely populated as the US East coast sprawl.

Hint for Americans: The reason that we still can produce so much is that we don’t have sprawl but concentrated villages. It is prohibited to just build a house somewhere in between – strict zoning laws apply everywhere. This preserves the agricultural land as well as the (managed) forests. All of Germany is planned.

The reason I’m looking for this NOW is that a few days ago one of our top Green politicians, Hofreiter, claimed that Europe was to blame for the refugees coming in from Africa because we ruined their economies by flooding their markets with food exports.

So I thought, wait a moment – Germany? For reals?

As it turns out if anything it’s the French. They get special subsidy conditions in the EU to keep their farmers calm so they overproduce.

So look at that. Look what those 60 million French do to Africa with the 30% surplus they could possibly export to Africa. Again, for reals? Does this guy have any concept of the SIZE of Africa?

Is he born stupid or does he take stupid classes?





13 thoughts on “Food Self Sufficiency By Country”

  1. A couple of years ago I was looking (via Google Earth and other sources) at Apple trees in NE France and was struck by the alternative landscapes. There the trees are old, large, and irregularly spaced (perhaps some have died and not been replaced). Near where we live there are new plantings of high density orchards. The trees are small, closely spaced, cared for with special equipment, and the fruit is easily picked. No ladders needed.
    Go to the location and use Street View to have a look. Zoom out to see the large central pivot irrigation systems.
    47.232763, -119.937741

    Bright land to the north is dry-land wheat. Darker areas may be grazed by cattle, unused, or in conservation plots.

    There is a site called [ thetruesize dot com ] and if you drag Germany to the Washington/Oregon area it will show the 2 states are about equal in area to that of Germany. Much of the land, though, is not useful in the developed sense.


      1. Hmm. A look at Wikipedia showed Michigan at about 94,000 sq. mi. land area and Germany at 136,000. Were they counting the lake (water) area, too? Where I live plus a neighboring state (Georgia) should be about the same land area as Germany, with about 15 million population.

        [Fun fact. When I was a wee lad, Atlanta’s metro population was about twice that of Birmingham’s. Now, Atlanta is about 4x Birmingham, with metro Atlanta having more people in it than my state. Another fun fact. Birmingham’s population peaked at about 300,000 in the 1960 census. Jefferson County’s population was about 600,000. As folk moved out of ‘Bombingham’, but still moved into Jefferson County, the population grew to a bit under 700,000 in 1980. As folk moved out of Jefferson County, but into the metro area (by having the metro area include more counties), the whole area’s population is about 1.2 million. About 900,000 of these live in Jefferson and Shelby Counties. Many of the folk who left the center city moved first into the surrounding suburbs then out to the suburbs surrounding the first suburbs. Hoover grew as Birmingham shrank. Hoover + Birmingham has about as many people as Birmingham had, by itself, in 1960.]


      2. Sounds a lot like German cities and their feeder surroundings, CD. Lots of people here commute up to about 30 miles one way daily. Mostly into the cities, sometimes to car industry suppliers in small towns.


  2. Dirk, the US is mostly empty. Besides, I’d rather have the freedom to move out of the city (can’t stand them anyway) and be able to grow or catch or kill enough food (yay for the South) to feed myself if necessary. Away from many of the big city cores, the suburbs have large enough lot sizes that the residents could have nice gardens to feed themselves, provided they knew how.


    1. Oh sure. I was comparing German population density explicitly to the East Coast sprawl / megaplex.
      This makes the German government’s constant attempts to get immigrants of no matter what quality into Germany so infuriating: If any place could use a little LESS people it’s Germany.


  3. Related: Found an interview with pre-NATO putsch Ukraine prime minister who says, before the putsch we negotiated with EU about free trade. The main export of Ukraine is wheat. And THAT one was restricted in the proposed treaty to 200,000 tons! The amount he said Ukraine could produce: 60 MILLION tons. The amount it could export : 30 MILLION of that!!! So they tried to continue to haggle, then Barroso told’em, you either sign it or someone else will, then the Putsch happened.
    German source:


  4. Ah. It has been a while since I last visited the area, but even the Boston to Washington DC megaplex isn’t that packed, either, outside of New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD/Washinton DC. You can see the old 10 to 20 mile town spacing from the Colonial days, where the big urban area agglomeration hasn’t consolidated the towns/villages into one large municipal corporation.

    Hmm, I wonder if packing people into densities over 1000 per sq. mi. is detrimental to human health, mental or otherwise.


    1. Average in Germany is 220/square km. About 100/square mile. City density is more like 10,000 a square km, 5000 a square mile.

      I lived smack bang in the centre of Hamburg for 3 months in a hotel room. Drives you crazy as there is always some noise. You get a hyperactive Amygdala. Constant fight or flight response.

      I would appreciate a hypermodern city in which everybody is polite and silent, and loud and impolite people are immediately imprisoned and therapized. That would work wonders. Maybe put something in the water. Hamburg is not that city. Actually people there were screaming all the time.


      1. Got the square miles conversion the wrong way: Correction:

        Average in Germany is 220/square km. About 500/square mile. City density is more like 10,000 a square km, 25,600 a square mile.


  5. Interesting comments. I was raised in a small town in a small-population county in western Pennsylvania. My wife was raised on a very busy street just north of downtown Atlanta. We met in Cincinnati where we studied urban and regional geography. Now we are in a rural area, but with many neighbors, about 10 miles from the nearest stop light.

    Cincinnati has a remarkable history and a strong German immigrant influence. We enjoyed our time there.


    1. Thanks! I didn’t know about Cincinnati’s Germans!
      Talked to a girl from Michigan today as we waited for 40 minutes for a delayed train in the station of Kassel, in the state of Hesse. Doubtlessly she had some Germanic roots as well. Well anyway. Now I know that Madonna hails from Michigan!


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