03
Jun
08

How do you stop world hunger?

Global food prices are at their highest for thirty years. The UN says 800 million people don’t have enough to eat on a daily basis. It’s the biggest threat currently facing the world and many of our leaders are in Rome talking about it; probably over a meal or two. But what’s the answer to the global food crisis?

 
The head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Jacques Diouf, has told us thirty to fifty billion dollars EVERY YEAR is needed for long-term solutions–a ten-fold increase on current levels. Where is that going to come from? Is it realistic? Who should pay? And who will ensure it’s spent in a way that will really solve the problem?

Read more about this here:

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary General, Ban-Ki Moon will call on countries to ease a wide variety of farming taxes and export bans and to phase out subsidies for food-based biofuels.

Tell us what you think.


43 Responses to “How do you stop world hunger?”


  1. 1 Shirley
    June 3, 2008 at 02:18

    Some scholars have referred to European bans on genetically modified crops as one of the sources of the crisis. I feel that such a claim is absurd. So Monsanto comes out with a GM crop that has a high yield. What good does that do to farmers who then have to buy seed from Monsanto for the rest of ever? Why ever on earth have any of us ever allowed ourselves to become the seed-purchasing slaves of corporations?? Why hasn’t more thought and more energy been spent on finding natural ways of increasing crop productivity? Some scholars feel that Africa needs more large-scale farms. Others disagree, pointing out the potential environmental damage of such farms.

    Huge monoculture crops whose plants are foreign to the area in which they are grown are devastating the ecology in which they are raised. I was discussing this with my family today when the topic of inadequate rainfall came up. I asked whether there aren’t some plants that naturally require less water, and why we don’t plant them in the dry years. My family responded that we don’t know whether it will be a dry year until the crops have already been planted.

    Then I realised that if we switched from monoculture crops to multiculture crops, we would be able to plant some crops that could withstand dry spells more easily, as well as crops that need more water than others. Crops that failed could be used for something else, even turned over and allowed to return to the soil to enrich it; and successful crops could be used for food yields.

  2. 2 Shirley
    June 3, 2008 at 02:21

    Another advantage of multiculture crops would be that the variety of plant types in one field would contribute to the health of the soil Plants that enrich the soil would counteract that depletion of the soil that occurs at the hands (roots) of ther plants. In addition, raising more than one type of crop in one field would reduce the potential and impact of pests. Yet we stick with a system that practically begs us to dump fertilizers and insecticides on our food while it is growing in the field.

    Our farmers raise huge monoculture crops in large fields; and so much of what they raise is not even intended to end up in our stomachs. Some of it is animal feed. It takes 7 pounds of feed to make one pound of ruminant meat and 2 pounds of feed to make one pound of poultry meat. Some of it will be biofuel. And only some of it will feed us. Such a system insults and angers me. Why can’t we people raise our food more sensibly?? Why can’t we encourage more senible agricultural practises at home and abroad??

  3. 4 Will Rhodes
    June 3, 2008 at 02:34

    Firstly – it must be said that there isn’t a food shortage. What there is, is expensive food production and waste. If you tackle those you will get rid of the want for food.

    The investment should be there and you will not have to provide any more money – in fact you could reduce the amount needed.

    Look at the subsidies that farmers get – take them away! The CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) in Europe is disgusting! If farmers cannot produce cheap and efficient farming practices, they should not be farmers.

  4. 5 Will Rhodes
    June 3, 2008 at 02:35

    Brett – you will never get me to stop eating meat and Chicken! 😛

  5. 6 Shirley
    June 3, 2008 at 03:22

    Will,
    It might not actually be necessary to stop eating meat altogether. If we reduce our consumption of meat to more moderate levels, we might convince people to stop investing so much into animals that eat up my food. Anyway, I put faith into those studies that say that more than 6 ounces of meat a day will sap calcium form your bones, They say similar things about milk. Would farmers need to reduce the expensiveness and increase the effectiveness of their agricultural methods is they didn’t need to raise so much animal feed?

  6. 7 Zak
    June 3, 2008 at 03:24

    Reduce the unhealthy levels of western meat consumption

    No doubt couldn’t agree more; I would add to that the World’s meat consumption. Particular to America I would add stop exporting absurd amounts of meat. Just today S. Korea started accepting US beef back in after the fears of mad cow disease. The amount of meat that gets sent around the world is a huge problem. In CA we no longer have the Salmon to export and you can bet it has to do with how much we’ve been exporting for years. But now in China there’s a particular call for exotic meats, rare seafood and animals. We all know what happens with a mass amount of veal production so why doesn’t the world wake up. Moving the meat around the world causes more disease and famine due to the diseases in both Humans and animals that it’s a major disaster.

  7. 8 vijay
    June 3, 2008 at 04:23

    “When will there be a Harvest for theWorld “by the
    Isley Brothers(1976)
    should be the theme tune for this debate.
    Putting my small third world farmer hat on
    I would say No water No agriculture.
    Therefore my priorty list is
    Water(Irrigation systems,AS OLD AS CIVILISATION)
    Road Rail Infrastructure
    Cold chain for fruit and veg
    less protectionism(free trade)
    Technical expertise
    appropriate Machinery
    seeds
    fertilisers

  8. 9 Vijay srao
    June 3, 2008 at 05:20

    If you simply throw money at the problem the money will disappear,but the problem will remain.

  9. 10 jane
    June 3, 2008 at 05:35

    And happening in the western US, as many other places around the world, small farms are being replaced by housing developments, golf courses, and sometimes commercial/industrial uses. Part of the reason in the US is that farmers can no longer afford the property taxes, so sell out to developers. Another is that developers want the water rights associated with farming. It’s all about money, money, money. And with transportation costs escalating it makes less and less sense to discourage local farming. Someday we will all be at the mercy of a few large corporations for our food, and of course, we all know who the winners and losers will be. It’s shameful. I can’t help but feeling that the world economy is just a “pyramid scheme”, with bottom of the pyramid expanding exponentially, more poor people fighting over fewer and fewer resources, while the few at the top benefit from this and expand their wallets exponentially. My humble opinion is that the population of our planet is much too large to sustain itself; we are slowly (or maybe rapidly, now) killing that which sustains us.

  10. 11 Mitchell Fuller
    June 3, 2008 at 06:51

    The 8,000 lb gorilla that is ignored in all of this and every discussion of problem is human population and our exploding numbers. The planet has finite resources and finite capacity to replenish these resources and our increasing population has / is stressing this capacity. Population reduction through family planning must be central component of resolving food shortages

  11. 12 Robert in angola
    June 3, 2008 at 07:07

    what we have unfortunately had is a period of very (almost unreasonable) cheap food and petrol during the 90’s. As a result nobody invested in farming or oil and now we are feeling the pinch as supply has dropped below demand. The feeling of high prices is made worse by the preceeding low prices. The only way to solve this is to open up the markets and make them more efficient in operation. More efficient markets tend not to experience such extreme highs and lows as ones with a high degree of government intererence.

  12. 13 Zak
    June 3, 2008 at 07:19

    Organic farming, certified or not, but sustainable is also going to have to be put forth as a standard and not as a specialty. If we don’t nurture the ground we grow on the Earth will not sustain the farming. The South East of the US is a prime example of land that’s been so ravaged by cotton growing that it can no longer sustain even that crop. We waste years of production loss by rapid yield crop harvest and that is proven to be short of the amount of land needed to feed the people of the world. Until people will replant nurturing Nitrogen rich crops like beans in every off-season of growing the land will become infertile. The organic label isn’t nearly as important as the second yield crop. As it stands now framers often just burn off their fields and start over; that will empty the value of the soil before we can feed everyone.

  13. 14 dave
    June 3, 2008 at 07:33

    I Believe it is population explosion . The world should put population controls in place. In America if you go on welfare and have children you actually get paid for each child , plus food stamps and low or no cost housing . Make sense to any one? I say if they are on welfare and cannot afford their kids ( I am talking about long term abusers of the system) tie their tubes. We may need to do this in all countries . Africa’s population is exploding which produces another generation of poor hungry people . Same for China, India etc.

  14. 15 Pangolin
    June 3, 2008 at 08:44

    I was dismayed to hear the BBC report on the world food crisis completely ignore the very large connections to the price of oil and the increase in population. The BBC reader blithely mentioned the US governments promotion of GM agriculture whilst ignoring that all GM seeds currently in production require the co-use of petroleum derived herbicides and pesticides.

    The BBC also neglected the very real issue of loss of bio-diversity in food crops that is accelerating the rate of crop loss world-wide. All in all the report amounted to promoting the ever more energetic application of a failing program.

    True food security will ultimately depend upon crop biodiversity that is resistent to diseases, not GMOs. It will rely upon the production capabilities of small labor-intensive farms that do not require large petroleum inputs, not fertilizer forced crops. Most importantly it will rely upon understanding and working with micro-climates and major ecosystems to not overtax the sustainability of the soils and the conservative production capacity of the world, not overpopulation and the rule of the plow.

    There is an alternative to accepting and working within the bounds of the environments sustainable capacity and that is waiting for reality to impose it’s own order. That is the alternative that we are facing all over the world now. We can deal with the environment on it’s terms or starve; no third option.

  15. 16 markferon
    June 3, 2008 at 08:57

    Since the population explosion is happening in places that can not produce enough food to feed themselves or are to poor to feed themselves. They will either have stop reproducing until they learn to feed themselves or they will mostly likely perish.
    Since most of the people starving have no income to pay for food and rich countries are can’t afford to feed the poor as there numbers increase. The poor will have learn grow there own food. Since the only other option is starvation. the rich countries might be able to give poor seeds and food to survive a short while till they
    get on there feet but as a gardener I know you can take semi usable piece land no bigger then 400 m ^2 foot and produce enough food to live off for a year in less then 8 months with minimum of tools and upkeep.

  16. 17 Pangolin
    June 3, 2008 at 09:48

    I would ask anyone considering whether people can be fed without the use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers investigate a few alternatives.

    The first is permaculture a method and an ethic that teaches people how to produce plentiful crops using local ecology to the best advantage. Bill Mollison has demonstrated around the world that permaculture can increase the productivity of various ecosystems per unit of labor or energy input.

    The second would be Biochar which is the application of powered or granulated charcoal to soils to improve water retention and nutrient availability. Biochar is also known as Terra Preta which is the name for human-created, carbon-rich soils in the Amazon that date back several thousand years. Biochar has one of the best potentials for actually reducing atmospheric carbon and fighting global warming.

    Finally I would ask that you investigate the Rodale Institutes web site on Organic Farming. As organic farming methods would represent a massive loss of income for corporations like Monsanto and Chevron. Major funds have been spent to muddy the waters and detract from the productivity of organic methods which CAN feed people in a sustainable fashion. Any farm method that requires an input of fossil fuels is by definition, not sustainable.

    Ultimately what will matter is how we are going to get the food we need from the ecosystem without damaging our ability to eat tomorrow. As the Aral Sea and Lake Victoria disasters show us that can be harder than it looks. Locally the salmon runs are gone except for one local creek that is in recovery.

    Don’t believe for a minute that the solution is more tractors, pesticides and herbicides. That is all well and fine for the tractor salesmen but in the US many, many farmers were forced to leave the land and are not being replaced. Before adapting the United States model for farming consider the average age of our farmers; a nation dependent upon 55 year old farmers is in trouble. If you look at the amount of debt american farmers carry you can realize how deep the trouble really is. Some of the statistics can be found here.

    The US model of agriculture is great for the seed, pesticide, fertilizer and herbicide corporations. It isn’t that great for the farmer or the consumer.

  17. 18 VictorK
    June 3, 2008 at 12:04

    Some interesting ideas here on a topic that I for one would like to be much better informed about. Shirley’s point about multiculture crops could be a critical one. What evidence is there about planting practices in the countries most at risk from hunger?

    While I agree with Will that the Common Agricultural Policy needs to undergo serious reform and the levels of subsidy to farmers ought to be drastically reduced I don’t think it would be right for subsidies to European (or other) farmers to be completely eliminated. The fact that we’re having a food crisis makes it imperative that each country should take whatever steps are necessary -including a level of sensible subsidies – to maintain an indigenous capacity to meet (some of) its food requirements.

    Part of the fallacy of globalisation is the assumption that there can be a free market in all goods, without significant market distortions. Free markets seem to be viable within national boundaries or regional federations. Internationally, as they try to embrace countries at very different levels of development, they become more and more problematic and finally impossible. A country with a well-developed transport infra-structure has a big competitive advantage when it comes to exporting goods as against a country where most roads are mud tracks (except the ones leading from the Presidential Palace to the various Presidential luxury retreats). And there are many other social, structural, cultural and legal advantages that make a global free market a chimera.

    The solutions to this problem – like those Shirely suggested – need to have a national and regional focus. What can individual countries and trading blocs do to help themselves? We shouldn’t rule out some measure of protectionism or national subsidy, if that will help. Several people have mentioned population growth. This seems a point of obvious importance, but none of the reports I’ve heard about the food crisis have mentioned it. Countries that aren’t prepared to stabilise or even reduce their populations had better be prepared to accept the alternative, which is starvation, social disorder and collapse. Excessive fertility is a large part of this problem (certainly in the absence of other measures).

    What we must avoid at all costs is short term measures which involve one set of countries paying to feed the hungry of another set of countries. This removes all incentive for governments that need to reform many of their own practices in relation to farming, patterns of state expenditure and nurturing local free markets when they know that in the last resort ‘the international community’ (i.e. the West) will come to their rescue. We should also stop exculpating badly administered developing countries (note some of the places where their have been food riots – Haiti, Egypt, Somalia) by presenting this crisis as something that the West is to blame for and that only action by Western countries can put right. The aim should be for each country to be as self-sufficient in food production as it can be.

  18. June 3, 2008 at 12:55

    One very important thing that has not really been brought up yet in many of these debates is not only buying locally, but producing locally.
    So many residents spend thousands and thousands on landscaping each year for non-native plants and shrubs that do what? Look nice?
    People need to begin to look at edible landscapes. Instead of lining your house with flowers or shrubs, maybe you should line them with pepper plants? Blueberry bushes for example, are often used in landscaping and can provide anything from a nice snack and sprinkling on your cereal, to yields that can be frozen and used throughout the year.
    Live in an apartment and don’t have land? Do container gardening on your balcony or in a sunny window.

    I think the importance of this method for alleviating higher food prices is beginning to be realized as more and more people take up gardening in their landscaping ideas and plans.

    The smallest thing you can do is nothing at all. Even growing herbs or small pepper plants indoors is better than nothing.
    Not only is spending time outside tending to a garden healthy for you, but its calming and peaceful, you’ll also know exactly what goes into your produce and not have to worry about pesticides and other contaminants if you don’t use them.

    People complain that farmland isn’t being used efficiently. Well, if you own land or rent, is your land or space being used efficiently?

    My garden this year is about 10 times the size it was last year (My overly-excited pumpkin plants are making that ratio grow larger every day lol), next year it will be even bigger. It takes time to find out what works in your area and what doesn’t but its well worth the time and effort.

    Regards,
    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  19. 20 Alistair Walker
    June 3, 2008 at 14:57

    To resolve the food crisis is many faceted and cannot be simply answered. Issues such as trade, import & export tariffs, land management and distribution, natural disasters such as floods & drought, the introduction of GM crops, education of farmers and the special farming requirements of Africa, which as we recently learned is the only continent unable to feed itself. All thease factors need to be taken into consideration to find solutions.

  20. 21 Shirley
    June 3, 2008 at 15:09

    Victor, I tip my hat – hijab – to you. Blow me over with a feather eh. But thank you.

    Brett, you rock.

    The talk of population control frightens me. China. Earthquake. Myanmar. Cyclone. There is no way that I could express to you what I would feel if that were my only child. And do not doubt for an instant how I would treat the one responsible for any population-restriction policy that effictively rendered me childless. I don’t want 13 children. But I don’t want some government stepping into my house and telling me what I can do with my body and my family. And I don’t want one disaster to take them from me. As far as I am concerned, overpopulation tends to fix itself with the trends for infanticide, fratricide, cannibalism, and homosexual behaviours above normal amounts of incidence. Not that infanticide, cannibalism, etc. are normal, but that in overpopulated populations, they occur at higher rates. And it doesn’t even take overpoplation – even populations that experience skimpy resources-to-population ratios increase the incidences of these population reduction measures. Add our wars, the natural disasters, and other population-reducing effects together. Don’t you think that they have taken enough of our people that we can continue having families at our own discretions?

  21. 22 Earth Ninja Steve
    June 3, 2008 at 15:58

    Ecologists warned us in the 1970’s that the human population of Earth was growing exponentially. Now, it seems that we are reaching ecological limits. Maybe some starvation will convince people that they need to have fewer kids. There is still hope to reduce the population voluntarily, especially in the industrialized countries, where so many resources are used per person. I suggest that people be educated about ecology and family planning.

    See my fledgling website at

    Thank you.
    .

  22. 23 Mohammed Ali
    June 3, 2008 at 16:06

    Hunger can only be tackle with seriousness from the people who are affected and not sitting to wait for handouts form the west or Japan or China.

  23. June 3, 2008 at 16:53

    Help the people know how to fist so that you won’t give them fish all the time.

  24. 25 Vijay srao
    June 3, 2008 at 17:58

    @dave,jane and Mitchell Fuller.
    Consumption is more of a problem than population,populations regulate themselves in due course ,anytime a country gets properous the reproductive rates fall.Look at Europe and Japan ,there is population decline,the USA keeps on importing people to make up for their declining birth rate amongst the established population.

  25. 26 Long_Odds_Indian
    June 3, 2008 at 18:30

    Hunger has always been with us.. It will end when we are all socially and politically equal, and make completely sure no one is so poor or marginalised that they go hungry. To have hungry children in our world of wealth and technology – anywhere, in any country – is a disgrace for every living creature that calls itself a human being. There is currently a human right to food, to subsistence and to a “decent standard of living” – but given how the UN and governmental bureaucracies treat our rights, they might as well not exist. And we must not steal from other species – animals, insects, or plants – in order to feed ourselves. The world has enough for all our needs, but not for our obesity, paranoia or aggression.

  26. 27 Zak
    June 3, 2008 at 19:59

    True there is enough ground to produce food for the world; when there’s a constant supply of land to grow food on. But there’s a secondary issue, for every hectare of land we produce in the world we’re losing one due to the lack of sustaining it. You cannot say the solution to producing more food is as simple as finding cheaper production costs. An even greater issue is the erosion of soil and the lack of sustainable harvest practices. Consider it like this: we have all viable agriculture land in use. That is the claim in America, and we’ve already lost a lot dating back to the civil war and the salting of southern soil and the years of nitrogen depleting cotton production that followed. So many farmers, instead of turning over a harvest on all that soil every year alternate plots and leave some untended to grow wild grasses and such. This is mainly because the cost of production doesn’t allow them to fertilize all their land. But grasses don’t give back the kind of nutrients that food crops take out.

    Alternatively with organic practice, and beyond to nutra-farming, the soil is replenished with alternate crops and a plot can yield sustainably for about 7 years before it has to rest. With that method the amount of production goes up and so does the farmers yield. So the most sustainable method of subsidizing is to give farmers the alternative crops to plant instead of $ for petroleum based fertilizer.

  27. 28 Keith Heiberg
    June 3, 2008 at 20:20

    I was a bit startled to hear UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon declare that “Nothing is more degrading than hunger.”

    I’m sure all those victims of rape, torture, and genocide — and their families — must be relieved.

    Keith Heiberg
    Boston, MA, USA

  28. 29 Zak
    June 3, 2008 at 20:29

    What would you rather he said; do you know more about what it feels like to go without food for weeks on end, in Boston?

  29. 30 Keith Heiberg
    June 3, 2008 at 21:11

    Before you criticize me, do you know more about rape, torture, and genocide?

    Are you saying that hunger is worse?

  30. 31 jane
    June 3, 2008 at 23:13

    Pangolin and Earth Ninja Steve make the most sense to me…once you destroy ecosystems that sustain you you can’t bring them back. We are destroying the best farmlands, we are destroying the natural environments that support all life. Species of plants and animals are disappearing faster than we can even consider the roles they play in our ecosystems, (i.e. bees, medicinal plants in the rainforests) due to the human folly of thinking we can always improve on, subdue or otherwise alter nature for human benefit (and money of course). We need to be teaching that doing physical labor, as in growing food, is one of the more admirable and worthwhile of jobs that anyone can do. And i and my brothers CHOSE not to have children…SOMEONE has to do it! To me that is a noble sacrifice to the others who wish to have children. We need to quit insisting that people must reproduce to live a fulfilled life. The entire world would be much better off if the population were less and the wealth was more equally distributed. The planet is finite and so are its natural resources. (And no GM crops for me if i can avoid them; that’s a BAD practice! My father was a chemist for ADM; he agrees!)

  31. June 4, 2008 at 00:24

    To Jane and others.

    I am developing an “earth wisdom” web site for young people to scan quickly.
    It is located at: earthninja.org
    You can participate in my “earth wisdom group” by blogging on my website.
    ecological carrying capacity should be explained to all the kids of earth so they understand that there can be too few resources to go around for a large population.

    Thank you.
    -Earth Ninja Steve
    .

  32. 33 Tino
    June 4, 2008 at 01:28

    https://worldhaveyoursay.wordpress.com/2008/06/03/talking-points-3-june/#comment-28430

    $1 bliion dollars ~= 4,166,666,666 pounds of rice @ these record prices which were NOT how much it cost at the time of the article writing so consider it a fairly conservative estimate. Not sure how many people that feeds but it sounds like a whole lot.

  33. 34 Vijay srao
    June 4, 2008 at 03:01

    @pangolin , earth ninja steve and jane,

    Most countries have not fully utilised their agricultural land using conventional means,in Europe farmers are paid not to produce and also there are milk qutoas.In South America,Africa and Asia countries are developing they don’t have the
    knowledge,seeds,fertiliser and machinery to maximise their production as yet,there is plenty of slack in the system.

    The World does not exist for the sole purpose of servicing the needs of the USA.North Americans and Australians have to reduce their consumption.
    US hegemony is ending,deal with it.

  34. 35 Rick
    June 4, 2008 at 07:51

    Seriously though, has anyone thought about how overconsumption and waist in the west affects the situation? Surely that drives up world prices.

    Years ago I heard of a groop in Canada called The Okanogan Valley Gleaners. Volunteers went into the feilds after the harvest and found produce that had been missed. They then processed it and sent it off to the third world through their church.
    Perhaps this could be done with and bakery and resturant leftovers. Overripe produce from the markets and the stuff that is not perfect enough to make the grade for the supermarket. We really do throw out an obscene amount of food that could solve a bit of the problem.

  35. 36 akan
    June 4, 2008 at 15:19

    african need to look more within for help we have become beggers as such the west is begining to take us for granted lets change our mentality and start workin hard lets learn from the asians (to beat them we most be ready to step up ;most africans are just lazy )
    AKAN nigeria

  36. 37 Jeff Minter
    June 4, 2008 at 20:45

    Increase supply – more land for farming, GM crops.
    Lower demand – diversify in food types(yeah right), reduce wastage, lower calorie intake diet, cull a few billion people.

  37. June 4, 2008 at 22:52

    Get rid of the World bank and the IMF, Africa would be better off.

    These institutions are corrupt and only help further the agenda of those who profit from ineffective governments in Africa. These governments are really a concoction of those of Western countries (members of the WB and IMF) who take full advantage of the miseries of Africa.

    Please explain to me why WB and IMF investments are geared towards stratefies that improve sub-regional exchanges in Africa. Countries like cameroon in West Africa have been known to be very productive to the extent of being the bread basket of central Africa. In fact Gabon, Tchad, the central African republic and other countries depend heavily on cameroon and yet, the WB and IMF have knowingly ignored the request to improve sus-regional infrastructure. What do you think happens when it is the rainy season in central Africa?

    Rainy season in central Africa means less exchange between a productive agricultural area and a non productive agricultural area. As a consequence, you can have hunger a few miles away from a very productive country/region.

    The solution is to start with good governance, build better infrastructures.

    By the way, i am a cameroonian living in california where pesticides are needed to grow corn and other product. Please, go to cameroon and throw raw corn anywhere (I net you anywhere), it grows.

    something is wrong people.

  38. 39 Shirley
    June 5, 2008 at 13:12

    Big Papa, you raise some amazing points. We really do need to re-think the place that we have given large financial institutions in Africa – multinational corporations in additon to the WB and IMF – and the influence that those corporations have on African governance and economy. I was especially intrigued by your mention of how well crops grow in Camaroon without unnatural assistance from chemicals. Perhaps the crop-growing techniques used in Camaroon are effective without depleting the soil or resorting to fabricating GM nonsense in labs; and perhaps we in the West could learn something from that. Have you seen the other WHYS discussion page on food? The big debate there is vegetarianism, but I get the sense that discussion was not meant to be restricted to that one topic there.

  39. June 6, 2008 at 00:05

    Shirley, thanks for yur feedback. I actually read the WHYS discussion page on food. Going veggie makes a lot of sense from the food distribution standpoint and for ensuring that the poor gets fed.

    However, we are in a market-driven economy. The idea is to create a demand for genetically engineered food in countries that already have the potential to feed themselves.

    Once this is done, the poor countries of the world, which could feed themselves had they been treated fairly (or treated with respect by the IMF, World bank and foreign donors)resort to directing their resources solely to those crops (cash crops)that are sold in western markets; such as cocoa, coffee.

    Once the resources are directed towards cash crops, there are no resources for yams, casava, plantains which are used for the “foufou” in west africa. To put it simply, there are no resources for the local agricultural economies which; become vulnerable to the genetically engineered food.

    As a consequence of this dependency, Africans are dying at an alarming rate from cancer. Moreover, imported food costs money which many Africans do not have; and hunger comes as a consequence to the lack of money.

    You can see from here that, grandma could get her vegetables from the backyard, now she needs to produce something she does not consume (cocoa, coffeee), and lives off of something she can’t control (genetically engineered food whose availability depends on money).

    Going veggie at least ensures food availability for the short term. I mean short term, because the land which is available for vegetables, will still be invaded by cash crops.

    I believe good governance, the promotion of sub-regional commerce and the lowering of trade barriers are the answer.

    The basic principle of international economics is the ability to exchange good and services from an area of where there is abundance to another area where there is scarcity (basic international economics 101).

    There is no point in producing Avocado thru genetic engineering when it can easily be bought from countries that can efficiently and organically produce it.

    BigP

  40. 41 Shirley
    June 6, 2008 at 13:37

    But doesn’t the elimination of trade barriers only increase the potential for cash crops to flow? How would eliminating trade barriers actually help the food crisis situation?

  41. 42 arshams
    June 7, 2008 at 22:32

    By excellent agricultural activities to produce maximum possible foods throughout the world would be best possible process towards rescuing humans from hunger resulting to starvation and tragic ultimate death.

  42. 43 Offthepink
    September 30, 2008 at 11:37

    Increased food production won’t be enough. Any creature will reproduce until it has outstripped it’s ability to feed itself without natural predators. This has been proven in Deer, moose, lab rats, and humans are no different in this regard. Most humans just mate, seemingly indiscriminately, without the sole intention of reproducing…but it happens anyway. The poor in third-world countries reproduce willy-nilly with the notion that each kid can help the family more, not understanding that each new kid means less food for everyone. Humans perpetuate their own hunger with this bad idea. Without population checks, humans will always keep reproducing needlessly, until they can’t feed themselves.


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