Poverty. Hunger. Population.
What comes to mind when I say those words? To me, global warnings. All three of these words are related and all three are major issues for every country in this world. These might not be the most crucial issues in your eyes, but these are a few of a concern today. I will discuss in this article what I have learned of the relationship between poverty, hunger, and population. This research got me thinking and if nothing else, gives you a different perspective on the world.
The world population is greater than 6 billion since 2000 and by 2055 will reach and stabilize at 10.5-11 billion people. The world already has issues feeding 6 billion people with the higher standards of living. This will put enormous strains on land, water, energy, and other natural resources. Almost all growth expected to be in developing countries is 3 today in comparison to 6 in 1970.
Greater population leads to money issues which may result in poverty. The amount of inequality between the rich and poor is not getting better and this is not helpful in reducing poverty. There are still 1.2 billion people who live on less than a $1 a day.
With higher population and not much money, how can you afford food which would most likely lead to hunger. Food consumption is increasing in all countries (developed and developing nations) around the world. Developing countries are now seeing food deficits when once had surpluses. Developing countries have to expand agricultural land to meet the growing food demand which is causing a threat to forests, wetlands, mountains, and biodiversity. This leads to many other issues.
I will not discuss how to resolve these three issues or who is to blame. It is just my perspective on concerns of some of the global issues.
High food prices is also causing food riots and people being killed in many countries. According to 2007 record from FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), there is more than enough food in the world to feed everyone. It states that over the last 20 years, food production has risen steadily at over 2.0% a year, while the rate of population growth has dropped by 1.14% a year. Overpopulation may become an issue in the future, but currently other factors are a concern. Droughts in 2005-2006 in countries where wheat is produced is one factor. Also, an increase in oil prices, increase in meat consumption in some developing countries, and the use of cereals (5%) for fuels.
These are causes but not the root problem. The current issue could be that 80% of world’s food is consumed by the wealthiest 20% of the world suggesting an inequality in resource use due to social, economic and political reasons. The dominance of the richer nations and companies in the international arena has had a tremendous impact on agriculture, which for many poor countries forms one of the main sources of income.
It is the political, economic, social, and environmental causes and choices that define what is grown, why, how it is priced, and why even when there is enough food, so many cannot afford it.
As Professor Richard Robbins states,
To understand why people go hungry you must stop thinking about food as something farmers grow for others to eat, and begin thinking about it as something companies produce for other people to buy.
- Food is a commodity…
- Much of the best agricultural land in the world is used to grow commodities such as cotton, sisal, tea, tobacco, sugar cane, and cocoa, items which are non-food products or are marginally nutritious, but for which there is a large market.
- Millions of acres of potentially productive farmland is used to pasture cattle, an extremely inefficient use of land, water and energy, but one for which there is a market in wealthy countries.
- More than half the grain grown in the United States (requiring half the water used in the U.S) is fed to livestock, grain that would feed far more people than would the livestock to which it is fed…
What I have found is that to end hunger, you need to get rid of poverty or at least ensure people have enough money or means to acquire it, to buy and hence create a market demand for food. In other words, if you don’t have the money to buy food, no one is going to grow it for you. Poverty, Hunger, Population are all intertwined. You cannot rid of one without having an affect on the other. We all have our own opinions on what could be causing the problems we are facing today, and it is up to each one of us to act on what we believe is right.