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World Hunger and Food Distribution as Global Issue

The uneven distribution of food is one of the most pressing global issues today. In most developed countries, people have no shortage of food and can afford to throw a lot of products away; in some developing countries, on the other hand, many adults and children are dying of malnutrition and cannot access the products needed to fulfill their nutritional requirements. Many non-governmental organizations aim to support these populations by providing food, but the issue remains widespread despite their efforts.

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Surprisingly, insufficient food production is not one of the reasons for world hunger. On the contrary, the food production industry has been developing by global population growth over the last decades. For instance, worldwide food crop output has grown significantly due to the increase in yield per acre, achieved by the improvement of agricultural techniques. Nevertheless, a major economic crisis of 2008 decreased the people’s capacity for buying food. The average for daily food calories available per person in the 1960s was 2700 in developing countries and 3300 in developed countries; at the beginning of the 21st century, however, the global average for calories available per person has lowered to 2350, with the economic crisis of 2008 decreasing the figure further. Thus, even though enough food is produced in the world to keep every person fed, many people simply cannot afford to pay for proper nutrition. For example, according to the FAO, over 800 million people suffered from chronic undernourishment in 2012-2014, even though over the same period, world levels of undernourishment dropped by 8 percent. WHO, on the other hand, states that over 50 million children under five years of age are underweight, with an estimated 3.1 children dying each year of hunger-related causes. Malnutrition is tied to geographical areas, with some parts of the world having a higher share of undernourished people than others. For instance, sub-Saharan Africa is the only part of the world where they share of malnourished people is over 25%. The second highest undernourishment rate can be seen in South Asia, with 15% of people having lower than average access to food.

The main cause of world hunger, as stated by world authorities, is poverty, with the majority of undernourished people being unable to afford their basic needs in terms of daily food intake. Moreover, in some parts of the world, climate and soil specifications do not allow for a crop production that is sufficient in its scale to cover the food needs of populations living in those areas. For instance, in the countries of Latin America and Asia, agricultural productivity is significantly lower than in other parts of the world, which leads to local agricultural sectors being unable to supply enough food for local people. Another reason for malnutrition is the growth of food prices, which was also triggered by the 2008 crisis. In the case with children undernourishment, one of the reasons for the issue is the lack of proper knowledge of breastfeeding practices and the worldwide substitution of breast milk with artificial infant foods. Finally, wars and other military conflicts in some countries can take the government’s funding away from the agricultural and food production sectors, thus becoming another major reason for undernutrition.

Overall, world hunger is a serious issue that affects the development of many countries, impairing the overall health of their populations, increasing child mortality, and decreasing active workforce availability. Nevertheless, socio-economic and technological development of countries has the potential to decrease hunger and malnutrition, which is why major efforts need to be undertaken to provide help to the countries suffering from high rates of undernourishment.

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