In his 1981 essay, “Poverty and Famines”, Amartya Sen, an Indian economist, argued that the 1943 Bengal famine, in which 3m people died, was not caused by any exceptional fall in the harvest and pointed out that food was still being exported from the state while millions perished. He concluded that the main reason for famines is not a shortage of basic food. Other factors -- wages, distribution, even democracy -- matter more.
Yet The Economist isn't interested in other factors. Instead it wants to talk exclusively and at length about what are called "agricultural yields" -- how much can be produced at a given cost, within a given acreage; in other words, the efficiency of agricultural output.
And while I am no expert, the impression I get from this article is that The Economist, rather than confronting the fundamental problem of profit in production, would merely prefer that agricultural yields, by the entrepreneurial magic of state-sponsored biotechnological chicanery, increase by a million percent!, so that "farmers" -- corporate agribusiness -- can finally produce commodities at so minimal an expense to themselves that they can feasibly sell them to people living on less than a dollar a day and still make a profit.
Failing that, all bets are off.