Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Food Crisis Won't Be Solved without Stabilizing World Population Focus of Summit Should Go beyond Simply Producing More Food

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Food Crisis Won't Be Solved without Stabilizing World Population Focus of Summit Should Go beyond Simply Producing More Food

Article excerpt

In our rapidly advancing technological world, it is often difficult to imagine that technology can't solve all our problems. And in America, where we take in on average one-third more calories than we need, it's difficult to think of the food crisis going on all around us.

Yet 800 million people worldwide are chronically undernourished, and 88 countries can't produce or import enough food to feed their populations. Is this simply a problem of uneven distribution? Is the solution fertilizers that increase wheat production and super plants whose harvests will be able to double yield per acre?

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has called the World Food Summit to address the current and future crisis of food security. This is the first time heads of government will meet to address the problem of hunger since the founding of the FAO. The FAO says there is a need to "attack the root causes of persistent food insecurity, notably the inadequate overall development and, particularly, agricultural and rural development." A plan of action Heads of state and government from approximately 200 countries, rank-and-file citizens, and representatives of international organizations will meet in Rome, Nov. 13-17, to design a plan of action to eliminate hunger - one of human society's most fundamental rights. The two sides of the debate on the causes of food insecurity are as follows: Scientists and agronomists feel the problem is primarily a matter of uneven distribution and say the advances in agricultural technology will solve the problem; while some social scientists and population activists think the "miracle cures," even another Green Revolution of the past, won't promote sustainable farming practices that can keep the land producing for years to come. The latter claim biotechnology does not take into consideration the harmful effects these super plants can have on surrounding life. The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), chaired by Ismael Serageldin, World Bank vice president, released a report stating that there is no need for alarm. The report maintained that "despite some gloom and doom predictions, the world has the resources needed to feed the 8 billion people who will be on the Earth in 2025. …

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