Global food supplies are sufficient to meet the calorie requirements of all people if food were distributed according to needs.
From the UN Chronicle article by Per Pinstrup-Andersen.
Per capita food supplies are projected to increase further over the next twenty years. Thus, the world food problem now and in the foreseeable future is not one of global shortage.
Instead, the world is faced with three main challenges in relation to food: widespread hunger and malnutrition, mismanagement of natural resources in food production, and obesity.
The other challenge is to assure that everyone has access to sufficient food to live a healthy and productive life.
Elimination of food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition, in a manner consistent with an ecologically sustainable management of natural resources, is of critical importance.
The failure of about 800 million people to meet food needs is a reflection of widespread poverty, which in turn is associated with a very skewed and deteriorating relative income distribution.
Although some progress has been made during the last twenty years, the future is not bright.
At the World Food Summit in 1996, senior policy makers from more than 180 countries agreed to the goal of reducing by half the number of people whose supply of food is not certain, to 400 million, between 1990 and 2015.
At the second Summit in 2002, policy makers from the same countries reaffirmed the goal.
Unfortunately, action does not seem to follow rhetoric. In the 1990s, less than one third of the countries managed to reduce the number of food-insecure people, while one half experienced an increase.
Armed conflicts continue to cause severe human misery in a large number of developing countries. About half of African countries are currently experiencing some form of instability or armed conflict.
While humanitarian assistance may be effective in providing food and shelter for the many millions of refugees and displaced persons, policy action is needed to deal with the situations that make people into refugees.
Recent research shows a clear causal link between poverty, hunger and natural resource degradation on the one hand, and the probability of armed conflict and instability on the other.
While these studies have been undertaken at the national level, it is reasonable to hypothesize that continued extreme inequalities and poverty among nations, along with further information on globalisation, will lead to similar relationships at the international level.
Widespread hunger, as well as the lack of hope and of social justice, generate anger. They provide a perceived justification for international instability and terrorism instigated and supported by individuals and groups who are not poor persons.
Failure to recognise and deal with these fundamental causes of instability will render ineffective much of the current investments in military solutions, intelligence and other protective measures.
Excerpted from: JUSTICE AND PEACE: AN AUGUSTINIAN CONTRIBUTION TO TOPICS OF JUSTICE AND PEACE, Volume II Number 15 March 2004. ID2069