Agriculture In The 21st Century: The Need For Global Partnership To Address Poor Food Distribution, Waste, Malnutrition And Famine Worldwide

Agriculture In The 21st Century: The Need For Global Partnership To Address Poor Food Distribution, Waste, Malnutrition And Famine Worldwide

The world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase.”

World Hunger Education Service.

Rising food prices are at a dangerous level, and global cooperation is needed to tackle the increasingly challenging issue.”

– Robert B. Zoellick,  World Bank Group President [source: “World Bank chief urges global cooperation to tackle food security challenge“]

The food scarcity part of the argument in the population debate is an interesting one—people are hungry because they cannot afford food, not because the population is growing so fast that food is becoming scarce.

The global food system is spectacularly bad at tackling hunger or at holding itself to account.”

–  Lawrence Haddad, director of the Institute of Development Studies

Throwing Food Away

30% of all food produced in the world each year is wasted or lost. That’s about 1.3 billion tons… That’s as if each person in China, the world’s most populous country with more than 1.3 billion people, had a one ton mass of food they could just throw into the trashcan.”

Distributing Food Poorly

The amount of grain produced in the world today could provide each person on the planet with the equivalent of two loaves of bread per day…The problem lies in the distribution of the world’s food.

The majority of food is produced in economically more developed countries such as USA, but those countries that are really in need of their share of the food to solve their hunger problems, cannot afford the high prices that these farmers charge and can get from other richer countries.”

Hunger, Malnutrition & Famine

Hunger is a term which has three meanings (Oxford English Dictionary 1971)

  • the uneasy or painful sensation caused by want of food; craving appetite. Also the exhausted condition caused by want of food
  • the want or scarcity of food in a country
  • a strong desire or craving”

Malnutrition is a general term that indicates a lack of some or all nutritional elements necessary for human health.”

  1. “Malnutrition is by far the biggest contributor to child mortality, present in half of all cases.”
  2. One in twelve people worldwide is malnourished.”
  3. “Every year 15 million children die of hunger.”

What Is Food Security?

Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to enough safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy lifestyle.

To be food secure means that:

  • Food is available – The amount and quality of food available globally, nationally and locally can be affected temporarily or for long periods by many factors including climate, disasters, war, civil unrest, population size and growth, agricultural practices, environment, social status and trade.
  • Food is affordable – When there is a shortage of food prices increase and while richer people will likely still be able to feed themselves, poorer people may have difficulty obtaining sufficient safe and nutritious food without assistance.
  • Food is utilised – At the household level, sufficient and varied food needs to be prepared safely so that people can grow and develop normally, meet their energy needs and avoid disease.”

A Lack Of Global Partnership

At the turn of the millennium, the global community set itself an ambitious target: to halve the number of hungry people in the world by 2015. It is not going to happen.

At present, the total quantity of food that is produced globally is good enough to meet the daily needs of 11.5 billion people. If every individual were to get his daily food requirement as per the WHO norms, there would be abundant food supplies.”

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