QUESTION TYPE: Strengthen
CONCLUSION: Seawater agriculture might work in desert regions near sea level.
REASONING: Halophyte plants can survive on sea water. Halophytes need more water than normal crops, but it’s cheap to pump seawater, compared to pumping from wells.
ANALYSIS: Halophyte irrigation can be cost-effective. Great.
But, irrigation is not the only factor in agriculture. You’ve also got to consider the cost of fertilizer, labor, machines, seeds, transport to market, etc.
The right answer shows that irrigation is a major cost in agriculture. Since halophyte irrigation is cost-effective, this helps show that raising halophytes in desert regions could make sense.
- The ‘volume’ of food isn’t necessarily relevant. A small volume of meat gives you more calories than an equivalent volume of vegetables. That doesn’t necessarily make meat ‘better’.
The key factor is how much it costs to feed an animal using halophytes, and whether animals can survive on halophytes. This answer doesn’t address those issues.
- This is tempting. But the stimulus wasn’t about whether you should irrigate halophytes with salt water. The question was whether to grow halophytes at all.
Halophytes are less productive, but also the only plants that can use seawater.
- This weakens the argument. If research spending were required, then that would be an obstacle to making halophyte agriculture work.
- This tells us that costs are different.
But it doesn’t tell us whether halophytes cost more, or less.
- CORRECT. We know that irrigation costs are cheaper for halophytes in desert areas. So if irrigation costs are a major part of agricultural costs, then that is a big advantage.
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