Friday, April 10, 2009


World hunger is extensive in spite of sufficient global food resources. Therefore increased food production is no solution. The problem is that many people are too poor to buy readily available food. Therefore, measures solving the poverty problem are what is required to solve the world hunger problem. However, meaningful long-term alleviation to hunger is rooted in the alleviation of poverty, as poverty leads to hunger. World hunger is a terrible symptom of world poverty. If efforts are only directed at providing food, or improving food production or distribution, then the structural root causes that create hunger, poverty and dependency would still remain. And so while continuous effort, resources and energies are deployed to relieve hunger through these technical measures, the political causes require political solutions as well.

Hunger is a term which has three meanings -
a.) The uneasy or painful sensation caused by want of food; craving appetite. Also the exhausted condition caused by want of food.
b.) The want or scarcity of food in a country.
c.) A strong desire or craving.

World hunger refers to the second definition, aggregated to the world level. The related technical term is malnutrition. Malnutrition is a general term that indicates a lack of some or all nutritional elements necessary for human health. There are two basic types of malnutrition. The first and most important is protein-energy malnutrition--the lack of enough protein (from meat and other sources) and food that provides energy (measured in calories) which all of the basic food groups provide. This is the type of malnutrition that is referred to when world hunger is discussed. The second type of malnutrition, also very important, is micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) deficiency. This is not the type of malnutrition that is referred to when world hunger is discussed, though it is certainly very important.

Cause of World Hunger -
There are many inter-related issues causing hunger, which are related to economics and other factors that cause poverty. They include land rights and ownership, diversion of land use to non-productive use, increasing emphasis on export-oriented agriculture, inefficient agricultural practices, war, famine, drought, over-fishing, poor crop yields, etc. The causes of poverty include poor people's lack of resources, an extremely unequal income distribution in the world and within specific countries, conflict, and hunger itself. Extreme poverty remains an alarming problem in the world’s developing regions, despite the advances made in the last decade till now, which reduced "Dollar/Rupees a day" poverty from Progress in poverty reduction has been concentrated in Asia, and especially, East Asia, with the major improvement occurring in China.

Hunger in India -

India is long known to have some of the highest rates of child malnutrition and mortality in under-fives in the world. According to the Indian government statistics two years ago, around 60% of more than 10 million children in the state were malnourished. Nutrition experts say the abysmal record is due to an inadequate access to food, poor feeding practices and poor childcare practices in India. And now the rise in the global food prices has reduced the food-buying capacity of many poor families, making their situation worse. In the past year food prices have increased significantly, but people's incomes haven't kept pace, forcing many families further into hunger, experts say. All states also need to improve strategies to facilitate inclusive economic growth, ensure food sufficiency and reduce child mortality.

World level of Hunger -
No one really knows how many people are malnourished. The statistic most frequently cited is that of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, which measures 'under-nutrition'.
The most recent estimate in 2006 of the FAO says that 854 million people worldwide are undernourished. This is 12.6 percent of the estimated world population of 6.6 billion. Most of the undernourished--820 million--are in developing countries. The FAO estimate is based on statistical aggregates. It looks at a country's income level and income distribution and uses this information to estimate how many people receive such a low level of income that they are malnourished. It is not an estimate based on seeing to what extent actual people are malnourished and projecting from there. It has been argued that the FAO approach is not sufficient to give accurate estimates of malnutrition.

Children are the most visible victims of under-nutrition. Children who are poorly nourished suffer up to 160 days of illness each year. Poor nutrition plays a role in at least half of the 10.9 million child deaths each year--five million deaths. Under-nutrition magnifies the effect of every disease, including measles and malaria. Malnutrition can also be caused by diseases, such as the diseases that cause diarrhea, by reducing the body's ability to convert food into usable nutrients.

Solution of world hunger -
Solving world hunger in the conventional sense (of providing/growing more food etc) will not tackle poverty that leads to hunger in the first place. Further, there is a risk of continuing the poverty and dependency without realizing it, because the act of attempting to provide more food etc can appear so altruistic in motive. To solve world hunger in the long run, poverty alleviation is required.

Another view is that the belief that world hunger can be solved by increasing food production is an unsubstantiated myth. It has lead to policies by international organs that have supported farming policies that in practice have boosted production of expensive export foods on the expense of production of basic foods for the population. The real problem is poverty. As the market responds to money and not to actual need, it can only work to eliminate hunger when purchasing power is widely dispersed. As the rural poor are increasingly pushed from land, they are less and less able to demand for food on the market. Promoting free trade to alleviate hunger has proven to be a failure. In most developing countries exports have boomed while hunger has continued unabated or actually worsened according to the book.

(With thanks to various sites)

1 comment:

Health Care Services said...

ya i agree with you that whole world's major part is suffering from hunger. There must be some rule in order to protect these people and have low ratio of hungry people.