Thursday, September 24, 2009

One billion people expected to go hungry this year

According to the United Nations, more than one billion people will go hungry this year. How can that be when in theory, there should be enough food produced to feed every person on the planet? The president of the antihunger group Bread for the World, David Beckmann, states the problem is mainly political neglect. There are other factors as well, such as climate change, American farm politics, African corruption, war, poverty, and the single most common cause of food shortages, drought. The Green Revolution, which was created by the late Dr. Norman Borlaug, created high-yielding wheat varieties to stave off famine. According to the United Nation's World Food Program, Dr. Borgaug saved more more lives than any man in history with his achievements. So how can more people go hungry now despite these achievements? The gains by the Green Revolution led to grain surpluses and low prices, which allowed Western nations to convince poor nations to purchase the grain on the world market instead of growing it themselves. Western nations would also send the surplus to poor nations as food aid. This did not help the agriculture infrastructure problems that faced these poor countries. During the Green Revolution, food supply grew faster than the world's population from 1970 to 1990. But the situation has reversed itself, with the growth rate of food production falling below the population growth. In July, President Obama and other leaders of industrialized countries pledged $20 billion towards agricultural infrastructure, which will help poor countries build roads, irrigation, and infrastructure improvements.

-Chris Kuntze

Source: New York Times