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7.Insufficiency of Food

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7.Insufficiency of Food

The President's Green Column

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7.Insufficiency of Food

Despite the adequate food supply,
there is an increasing number of people suffering from hunger.

In my previous entry, I wrote about 「Insufficiency of Water」amongst the 「Insufficiency of Energy Resources, Water and Food」. This time round, I would like to write about the 「Insufficiency of Food」

There is in fact sufficient amount of food to feed all the people around the world at this moment.

-Global annual production of grains is 2.1billion tons (FAO, 2007)
-Average production of grain of 1 person a day = 2.1billion/6.67billion people/365 = 0.86kg/pax a day
-Assuming 1kg of grain is equivalent to about 2500kcal.
0.86kg of grain/person a day = 0.86kg x 2500kcal = 2150kcal/person/day
-After including meat, fish, fruits and etc. into the diet, it is about 2500~3000kcal/person/day
-Average consumption of a Japanese is about 2800kcal
-Thus, dividing food supply equally would give each person a diet of calories equivalent to a Japanese.

However, there are about 854 million people suffering from hunger and malnutrition.

-Amongst which more than 350 million are children and more than 820 million are from developing countries.

25,000 people die each day due to hunger and poverty

-Amongst which 18,000 are children, dying at a rate of 1 in 5 seconds.

Population facing chronic hunger is increasing by 4 million people per year

-Despite reducing the number of people suffering from hunger by 27 million in the early 90s, the number of people suffering from hunger was increased by 20 million in the late 90s.

The 3 facts above are from WFP Hunger Facts (WFP: United Nations World Food Programme)

Since there is sufficient supply of food to go around, why are people suffering from hunger and why do we see a gradual increase?

The main reasons are 「Spread of Chronic Poverty」and「Inflation of Food Prices」. Poor people cannot afford to buy sufficient supply of food due to inflation of prices and hence, this lead to the unequal distribution of food.
The severity of inflation of food prices can be found in the graph below.

Price of basic diet doubled in 5 years leading to the acceleration of widespread hunger.

FAO Food Price Index

FAO Food Price Index: Calculated from the price of meat, butter, cheese, grain, rice, oil, sugar and etc.
(FAO: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States)

Increase of global population, increase of average calories consumption in developed countries, negative influence of insufficient water and natural disasters on food production and the tendency of increase use of energy such as bio-ethanol that is produced from food are likely to deteriorate this situation further. It might even be possible that we would not have sufficient food to feed our population.

Like the insufficiency of water, the insufficiency of food is also a problem that requires global attention immediately.

In my next entry, I would like to write about the 「Insufficiency of Energy Resources」.

30 Sep 2008 Hironobu Matsui

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