There is enough food in the world to feed everyone, yet people go hungry. It doesn t seem fair that you and I can satisfy all of our hunger demands quite easily, while millions go hungry every day. Why can t we give surplus food to those in need? Because he problem just isn t that simple. Hunger is only not being able to get the required amount of food, undernourished, but it is also not getting the right kinds of food, malnutrition. Hunger can be long term, due to a poor economy, or hunger can be short term, due to poor harvest, war, or natural disaster.
Hunger occurs all around the world, but is more of a problem in some regions that others. The world is divided into two parts. The southern part consists or poor countries with a low standard of living and countries north of the divide are the opposite. Although people north of the divide may have short periods of hunger, there are always charity funds to fall back on. People south of the divide don t have these organizations, and therefore their hunger is more of a permanent state. Australia, North America, and Europe are all north of the divide and all eat enough or more to fill their daily needs. South America, Africa, Sought East Aisa, and the Middle East are all south of the divide and they do not have a proper diet.
The world health organization recommends a minimum kilojoule consumption to be about 11,000 kilojoules (2600 calories) for persons well being. An intake less than this can result in severe malnutrition. Some countries in the world have more than they should, Greece consumes 163% oh what is needed, almost double. In the south, they do not consume enough calories, India 95%, Ethiopia 71%. On average countries on the south consume less than 100%.
In developing countries, one baby in six is born underweight because the mother is not getting enough food. From birth to six months, the baby is fed by breast milk but the mothers are sometimes overworked and undernourished. From six months to two years poverty and a lack of education means the child does not get adequate food and lives in and usually live in an unhygienic environment. From three years, the child does not develop properly because of an inadequate diet. From six years old, has a lack of energy and performs poorly at school. From teenager to adult the individual does not get an adequate diet because of a low paid job. As an adult, the individual is overworked and undernourished and can barely support themselves, barely even a family. The individual dies at a young age when compared to the wealthier countries in the world; some countries have a life expectancy in the 40 s whereas the developed countries have a life expectancy in the 70 s
Population is an issue in relation to world hunger because as populations rise, people need places to live. Some of the world s most arable land is being sold off for urban development. Populations are rising much faster than food production. While food production has steadily increase in the past 40 years, per capita rates have decreased due to population growth. In the past 200 years, the world s population has increased by five billion (from one billion to six billion). The main reason for this is people are living longer because of better health systems and medicines available. The five most populated countries in the world are China, India, the USA, Indonesia and Russia. Of these, five only two are in the north, the USA and Russia, but Russia s economy is falling fast. Also, the USA is the only country of those five in which hunger us not an issue, as it is economically wealthy. The other four countries have struggling economies.
Population is increasing most in developing regions where women continue to have four to seven children. The fertility rate in the industrialized world has stabilized at around 2.1 children per women. The worldwide birth rate is slowing down. Around 78 million babies are born each year, the combined populations of France, Greece, and Sweden. It took nearly 12 years for the world population to increase from five to six billion. The United Nation Populations Fund estimates that the world s population will increase by another billion in 14 or 15 years.
As countries become wealthier, dietary patterns change. Wealthier countries tend to eat more meat, but an incredible amount of grain is needed to produce meat. Two and a half kilograms of grain is needed to produce one kilogram of chicken, four kilograms of grain are needed to produce one kilogram of pork and seven kilograms of grain are needed to produce one kilogram of beef. Because so much grain is needed to produce the meat consumed by wealthier countries, the poor are having grain taken that could be used to feed themselves. Enough grain is grown in the world to provide every single person in the world with around one kilogram every day, and this doesn t include other foods such as beans, potatoes and other fruits and vegetables. Fifty percent of the world s cereal production dens up as animal food.
Population increases also lead to the loss of land, as people have been forced to farm areas not suitable for agriculture. The Philippines has an annual population growth rate of over 2.5%, a population of over 63 million and a population density or over 200 people per square kilometer, almost five times the world average. The land has not been able to absorb the rural population, and the economy has not been able to absorb the urban-based population. Because of this many Filipinos have had to migrate to less densely settled areas. Because of migration, the less densely settled area has been growing by 4% annually and now account for over 32% of the countries population. Cultivated upland areas have increased from 582 00 hectares in 1960 to more than 3.9 million hectares in 1987. Forest cover has declined from 50% of total land area to less than 20% in 1990. Water runoff and soil erosion has increased, wildlife habitats have been destroyed, there have been microclimatic changes, and flooding occurs more regularly. The poor people try to get as much as they can out of the soil they have. The soil is overworked and produces less and less, and their poverty get worse. They do not have the money to buy fertilizers, and they can t afford to leave the soil to fallow, so finally the soil cannot support them and they must move on. They may seek work in the cities, or they may continue to move into more and more marginal areas.
In India, there are 300 million people every day. India produces enough food to feed all of its population but the food is not distributed properly. Those who can afford to buy food, and the rest is exported. While in India the food is not distributed properly, in some countries the land is not distributed properly. In Brazil, access to land and wealth is reserved for an elite few families. In the past the poor worked as laborers, or they rented a small plot of land. But the use of technology and multinational owners had forced small farmers into city slums or to take on the challenge of, finding new areas to farm. The cleared land is only productive for a maximum of three years.
Ethiopia is a country destroyed by war. Over 50% of the country s resources were used to finance the war. This meant that spending on reforestation, health care and education had come to a stop. Reforestation is very important because Ethiopia was one 40% forest, and now it is 4%. The cutting down of trees contributes to drought because trees evaporate moisture into the air, the hold rainfall in the soil and they stop erosion. The forests are cleared for firewood and farming, but because of drought the crops didn t produce well and people went hungry.
Ninety nine percent of the world s food comes from the land. Many problems have arisen as a result of our attempts to expand food production. The destruction of forests, overgrazing of land, soil erosion, chemical contamination of soil and changing from diversity to monoculture. Food production is leveling off, but our production methods are also depleting available land.
During the 1970 s, the Green Revolution began. A number of farming production methods changed so those farmers could produce bigger and better crops. This included the use of chemical fertilizers, new varieties of seed which meant higher yields and were more disease resistant. Extending the use of irrigation allowed farming in places that were too dry previously. Pesticides were used to control the damage done to crops by insects, pests and disease. At first this was thought to be a great success as a larger amount of better crops could be grown. But it did not take long for farmers to realize there were problems. Overuse was leading to degradation, chemical contamination and water logging caused the soil to become infertile. The changes in farming practices were actually destroying the environment and food production began to decrease rapidly.
In many poorer countries people work on plantations. These are huge farms that employ many workers, usually who are paid very little and live in very poor conditions. On plantations, only single product is grown mainly for export. The problem with growing only one type of product is that the nutrients do not have time to replenish themselves. The crops grown on plantations are usually exported to overseas countries in return for money. Large companies own most plantations. None of the products on farms are consumed by locals. In Chile, grapes are grown for North America and in Mauritius, sugar is produced for export. Other cash crops included tea, coffee, tobacco, and rubber.
Poorer countries, which had to borrow money to buy food for their residents, are now being asked to pay back the loans. In Ghana the government had to cut back spending on education and health care. This led to increased infant death and increased malnutrition.
Hunger has many effects on the world. It lowers life expectancies because people do not have an adequate diet. Because populations are increasing the most in developing countries, there is not enough money and food to feed everyone. Large corporations produce cash crops in poor countries and employ poverty-stricken people to work there. The world does produces enough food but it is not distributed equally among the rich and poor. The rich who make up 20% of the world population have 85% of the world wealth. The poor make up 20% and have 1.4% of the world s wealth. While the other 60% fall into the middle category with only 14% of the world wealth. I conclude that it all comes down to the fact that food is NOT distributed equally or fairly.