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Unit 5

5.9 The Global System of Agriculture

2 min readmay 12, 2020

Pooja Kalyan

AP Human Geography 🚜

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Regions are all dependent on each other, especially when it comes the agriculture. We touched on complex commodity chains earlier, and in this section, we will talk about global supply chains and what role food and other agricultural products play in them.
You should also know that there are a couple of countries that have become heavily reliant on a few export commodities, also known as commodity dependence (cough cough oil in the Middle East to name one). And, in relation to this, there are a multitude of factors that affect the distribution of food around the globe, the most prominent being infrastructure, political systems, and global trade networks. 

Global Supply Chains 

Global supply chains are basically how we get a good or service from the supplier to the consumer. How do your favorite spices from India or olives from the Mediterranean get to your kitchen? By global supply chains- the continuous buying and selling of goods and services so it can reach you!

What Affects Patterns of Global Food Distribution? 

  • Infrastructure 
    • This mostly applies to LDCs (less developed countries) 
    • The need for roads and advanced technology
    • Lack of technology or roads can hinder the movement of food around the country, let alone around the world! This means that countries lacking the infrastructure to distribute food can’t make a profit from their products 
  • Political Systems/Internal Problems 
    • War, human rights issues, or natural disasters are only a few examples of factors that can slow the distribution of agricultural products to other parts of the world and hurt international trade. 
      • Ever heard about Cadburyand Nestle’s troubles with the Ivory Coast? Well, you have now! 
        • Key Example: Cadbury and Nestle get up to 30%  of their cocoa from the Ivory Coast, but this region is experiencing internal issues, which could interfere greatly with the profits of these multinational companies. 
  • World Trade 
    • Trade agreements can help with the distribution of food -> alliances secure trade between countries 
    • Embargoes can hinder the distribution of agricultural products -> bans on trade or commercial activity within a country can slow down the spread of products


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🗺Unit 1: Thinking Geographically
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