- The Hunger Problem: Facts and Figures
- Famine geography
- The main causes of food problems
- Ways to solve the food problem
- UN Food Program
The twentieth century is the age of globalization and scientific progress. Mankind conquered space, tamed the energy of the atom, and unraveled many secrets of Mother Nature. At the same time, the twentieth century brought us a number of global problems - environmental, demographic, energy, socio-economic. In this article we will describe in detail about one of them. It will be a question of the reasons, scales and possible ways of the decision of a food problem.
The Hunger Problem: Facts and Figures
The population of the Earth is growing steadily. And natural resources, alas, no. If at the beginning of the last century, our planet fed one and a half billion people, today this figure has grown to 7.5 billion.
Such a rapid demographic increase simply could not lead to an exacerbation of the food problem. Actually, they first started talking about it a hundred years ago. Thus, the Brazilian scientist Jose de Castro, in his work “The Geography of Hunger”, published in the early twentieth century, wrote that almost two thirds of the population of the Earth is in a state of constant hunger.
Today the situation has improved markedly, but the problem has not disappeared anywhere. According to UN reports, every ninth person in the modern world is still undernourished. The most undernourished and starving people (about 85%) are in developing countries. These are primarily the poorest states of Central and South Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. For example, a third of Haitians (the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere) do not receive the daily calories needed.
The world food problem is one of the most important and most pressing global problems of our time. It is expressed in the banal shortage of food caused by insufficient development of the productive forces, unfavorable climatic conditions, military conflicts or political upheavals.
In social geography there is such a thing as a “belt of hunger”. It stretches on both sides of the equator and covers the territories of tropical Africa, Central America, South and Southeast Asia (in general, about 40 countries of the world).
The most difficult situation is observed in countries such as Chad, Somalia, Uganda, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Mali and Haiti. Here the number of hungry and undernourished people exceeds 40%. Currently, the food problem is quite acute in Yemen, Syria, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, and also in eastern Ukraine.
Along with quantitative, one should also take into account the quality indicators of human nutrition. After all, improper or inadequate nutrition not only reduces performance, but also provokes the development of a number of dangerous diseases. Thus, according to estimates of the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 40% of the inhabitants of our planet regularly experience a shortage of certain vitamins and microelements.
The main causes of food problems
So what caused the problem of hunger and malnutrition? There are a number of possible reasons. We will select only the most basic of them:
- The rapid growth of the population of the planet.
- Irregularity in the distribution of the population of the Earth.
- Increasing the degree of urbanization and industrialization of territories.
- Socio-economic backwardness of some countries of the world.
- Land degradation, in particular, soil pollution with pesticides, heavy metals and other harmful substances.
- Reducing the yield of cereal crops.
- Irrational use of land resources.
- Reduction of arable land.
- Lack of clean fresh water.
Ways to solve the food problem
Nowadays, a number of international, public and private organizations, intergovernmental commissions and institutions deal with the problem of hunger. They are joined by global financial and commercial structures, in particular, IBRD (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) and OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries). They finance numerous projects aimed at developing the agro-industrial sector in developing countries.
At the same time, scientists are engaged in the theoretical aspects of the crisis. Their competence is the search for possible solutions to the food problem. Among those it is worth highlighting the following:
- Qualitative and structural changes in the process of food production.
- Modernization of agriculture, the formation of a steadily growing agro-industrial sector in the backward states.
- The active development of biotechnology.
- Improvement of infrastructure outside of large cities - branding of rural areas.
- Carrying out economic reforms in the developing countries of the world, increasing the purchasing power of their people.
- The introduction of the fruits of scientific and technological progress in the agricultural sector of the economy.
- Developing human capital, providing conditions and opportunities for the education of the poor.
The provision of humanitarian assistance to poor and developing countries plays a role in alleviating the effects of the food crisis.
UN Food Program
Among the key objectives of the United Nations is to ensure peace and security in the world, as well as the elimination of all global threats. The United Nations World Food Program (World Food Program, abbreviated to WFP), founded in 1961, is the world's largest humanitarian organization. Every year, it provides real assistance to at least 300 million people living in 80 countries. About 20 million of them are children.
The main tasks of the mission are to fight hunger and improve the quality of nutrition in the third world countries. Each year, the organization distributes over twelve billion food sets worth $ 0.31 each. Every day, about a hundred aircraft and almost five thousand trucks deliver food to those who need it most. Including the regions of Africa and Asia that are difficult to reach or covered by a protracted war.
Among the most pressing global problems is food. Every year it only becomes more acute, primarily as a result of the rapid growth of the population of our planet. The search for optimal solutions to the food problem is one of the main tasks of humankind at the present stage of its development. Hopefully, globalization processes in the global economy, as well as scientific and technological progress, will help us solve this problem as efficiently as possible.