Magazine article New Internationalist

Hunger: The Facts

Magazine article New Internationalist

Hunger: The Facts

Article excerpt

The world produces more than enough food to feed its entire population. Yet an estimated 35,000 people die of hunger each day. The NI examines the gap between the hungry and the greedy.

THE SCALE OF IT(f.1)

The number of hungry people in the world has actually fallen in recent years, despite overall population increases. But nearly 800 million people still face persistent, everyday hunger. Much larger numbers suffer from malnutrition and seasonal or temporary hunger.

EATING MONEY

Richer countries can choose: they have ample access to food and are less dependent on agriculture. The US is the world's second-largest producer of cereals and meat and comes third in fruit and vegetable production-yet agriculture accounts for only 2.3% of its GDP. European Union countries import twice as many agricultural products from the Majority World as they export to them.(f.3) Poorer countries have little or no choice.

DESERT BLOOMS(f.2)

The countries with the highest rates of agricultural growth are relatively rich nations making the desert bloom. Saudi Arabia has become the sixth-largest wheat exporter in the world.(f.3)

HIGHEST AGRICULTURAL GROWTH 1980-91

Average annual % increase in real terms 1 Saudi Arabia 14.0

2 Jordan 8.1

3 Oman 7.1

4 Morocco 6.8

CRAVING FOR CASH

Cash crops are the only things some countries can export. But such crops take up land which could be used for growing food for local consumption. This wouldn't matter if the terms of trade were fair and cash-crop prices were higher. Cocoa shows how poorer countries provide for a hunger for chocolate in the rich world.

COCOA

TOP 10 PRODUCERS

Income (GNP

per capita in

000 tonnes(f.2) US$, 1992)(f.1)

1 Co@te d'lvoire 747 670

2 Brazil 290 2,770

3 Ghana 243 450

4 Malaysia 220 2,790

5 Indonesia 180 670

6 Nigeria 110 320

7 Cameroon 105 820

8 Ecuador 85 1,070

9 Colombia 50 1,290

10 Dominican Rep. 48 1,040

TOP 10 CONSUMERS

Income (GNP

per capita in

000 tonnes(f.2) US$, 1992)(f.1)

1 United States 593 23,120

2 Germany 264 23,030

3 United Kingdom 180 17,760

4 France 160 22,300

5 Japan 111 28,220

6 Brazil 73 2,770

7 Italy 73 20,510

8 Spain 60 14,020

9 Belgium 57 20,880

10 Canada 49 20,320

Of all the money spent on chocolate in Britain, 15% goes to the Treasury and only 8% to the cocoa farmer.(f.5)

SHARES OF THE CROP

The rich world's proportion of grain production is significantly higher than its share of the world population.

% of world % of world

grain production(f.6) population(f.7)

Africa 5.5 12.4

--------------------------- ------------------

North America

USA & Canada) 18. …

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