Tuesday, October 18, 2016

There need not be hungry

There are less hungry people today than in the mid-20th century because food supply expansion has continued to outstrip population and food consumption growth in the second half of the 20th century – thus lowering food prices. Why do people go hungry? Mainly because they do not have the means to get enough food, whether by producing it themselves or by purchasing it.

There is more than enough food to feed the world. All those who currently go hungry can be adequately fed with about two percent of current food production, much more of which is wasted or lost. The main problem is one of distribution or access, rather than production or availability.

There are less hungry people today than in the mid-20th century because food supply expansion has continued to outstrip population and food consumption growth in the second half of the 20th century – thus lowering food prices. This may well have been the main reason for the decline of poverty as food costs are the main expense in determining poverty line incomes.

With decelerating population growth and rising life expectancy in many parts of the world, food supply will still need to increase, but less rapidly — by about 60% between now and 2050, much less than the 170% increase between 1961 and 2007. Without massive increases in land productivity, farmland will need to increase by some 70 million hectares globally, mainly in a few countries of Latin America and Africa. Yield improvements are expected to account for about 80% of crop production growth, with productivity improvements more modest than in the past.


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