By Audrey Quinn
Posting in Education
And which are getting too much to eat?
Living in a country like the U.S., where most people struggle with limiting their food consumption, it's hard to imagine a life where you don't even have the option of accessing enough calories for health.
But The Economist Intelligence Unit's new Global Food Security Index makes clear the existence of that reality. It shows that in the planet's most food-poor countries, food availability for the average inhabitant falls over 300 calories shy of the recommended daily intake of 2,300.
The five countries with the greatest calorie shortage per capita are (ranked worst to least worst):
- Congo (Democratic Republic)
In the five countries with the greatest calorie excess the average person has over 1,300 more calories available than the recomended 2,300. Those countries are (ranked beginning with highest excess):
- United States
The US, Denmark, Norway and France came out on top for the overall Food Security Index. In addition to food availability, the index ranks countries on the affordability of food, as well as its quality and safety.
Interestingly, for most countries scoring high on the food security index, micronutrient availability remained a problem. France was the only country in the top ten for the overall index that also ranked in the top ten for micronutrient availability. The weak micronutrient scores appear to primarily come from limited the availability of vegetal iron in national food supplies.
The Economist Intelligence Unit argues for optimism:
Several of the sub-Saharan African countries that finished in the bottom third of the index, including Mozambique, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Nigeria, will be among the world's faster growing economies during the next two years. Although still poor in absolute terms, rising incomes suggest that these countries may be in a position to address food insecurity more forcefully in coming years.
However, the volatility of a growing economy can also lead to increased food access risks. If a growing economy stimulates population growth without adding to the food sector, that could drive food stores even lower. And, when some people suddenly become increasingly wealthy, it can make them more likely to demand extra food, leaving the supply for the rest of the population even weaker.
Those numbers showing that a number of countries really don't have enough food to feed everyone made me wonder, does the world as a whole have enough food to feed everyone? According to the World Hunger Education Service's 2012 facts, it does:
World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase.
That's enough for feed everyone on the planet at least 2,700 calories a day. However, we still have a dire shortage of solutions for distributing those calories to the people who need them.
Jul 28, 2012
the vast majority of population growth is in the underdeveloped countries, most Western nations are flat or even declining (Japan, Germany, Italy). These countries are least able to provide for themselves, and any intensification of agricultural production on given land requires investment and know how which they do not have. Population growth has reached critical mass, we are expecting 1 billion more people on the planet within the next 12 years, given current patterns. I also agree with Hates, harsh as it may sound, that more food means more people in countries that do not have either an educated population or a population policy in place. That is a vicious circle no one has an answer for. In regard to total calories produced at global level; the number is misleading. 50% of all grains are used for animal fodder. The calorie conversion rate for beef is 15:1, for pork 6:1, poultry 5:1. Also much of the food in underdeveloped countries goes to waste, between inadequate transport, storage, distribution systems. We are now experiencing a convergence of influence factors: population growth, environmental damage (30% of greenhouse gases come from agriculture, ground water depletion), and a nutrition related health crisis. All 3 lead towards a clear path of changing diets in the developed world, and we don't know yet to what in the crisis countries.
First Food! My soulâs secure when I must muse how wordâs endure from sageâs cues about their insight for manâs health, which all men cite yet trade for wealth. First commandment in all creeds remains constant â for basic needs: âno civil man forsakes the farm that bears his bran and breeds the balm of Ceresâ gift of daily bread that all men lifts from hungerâs dread.â The second is like unto it: âsocieties that donât admit the need for grain for all their folk, do thus profane, and pain invoke; for neverâs man calm peace enjoyed when food is scant and hope destroyed, not goods nor gods, not gain nor greed increase the odds to live and breed if farm and food doth fail, then war will more preclude âtill all are poor.â From dying lips the calls arise for leadership to realize; that granâries filled all else secures, that soils tilled gives arts tenure, that civil life needs feeding first, that crimeâs made rife by hungerâs thirst. For âtis truth yet all need examine Lest we forget until next famine. 30 July 2010
All we hear is that so many people are starving now in Africa. Yet the population of Africa has increased 6 fold since WW II while the populations of the US and Europe have hardly doubled in the same time frame. So please tell me how their food shortage it is my problem when the UN is predicting the populations of these nations will be doubling again by the years listed below? Congo 2038 Burundi 2046 Zambia 2035 Angola 2037 I am sorry to be the cold realist here, but they are not starving as bad as you think if they are reproducing so fast as to expand the population like that. 40 years of western nation food aid and we are still being told people are starving, yet the African population continues to explode. Are we only exasperating the eventual collapse of their entire existence by sending massive food aid now? When will the day come when the oil and gas supplied fertilizers run out in the US and elsewhere and we can no long feed these people? No one knows for sure, but many say SOON. Right now Africa has over a billion people. Will we be shutting off the food to 3 billion people by the time the oil runs out for the fertilizer? The harsh reality brings the tough question. Should we stop sending food aid now and strictly focus on trying to teach them self sustainable farming? Should we make them feed themselves and let the population naturally stabilize? Even if it means people dying by the millions. We are at the point where we must ask, do we act now when changes can be done humanely to wean them off food aid or do we deal with it later when the food just runs out? Tragically, Haiti is a lost cause for many reasons. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_African_countries_by_population
A lot of the reason why Africa is rife with aids and exploding populations is the religious missionaries that spend billions a year converting people and essentially eliminating condom use. The unfortunate thing is that, because they also help people, if they were urged to stop they would claim whoever was behind that was not in favor of helping people.