Myth 1: Industrial agriculture will put an end to hunger

Not true. Hunger is not caused by food shortages, but by poverty.

Marco Visscher | April 2003 issue

Hunger plagues some 800 million people in the world. In India, 200 million do not get enough to eat, in Brazil 70 million and in the United States 33 million. Every four seconds someone in the world dies from malnutrition.

Linking hunger to food shortages is neither new nor illogical. But the fact is that there is more than enough food to go around, even in countries where hunger is widespread. Annual global wheat, grain and rice crops are sufficient to provide every world citizen with 3,500 calories a day. In fact, there is enough food being produced to give everyone, each and every day, 1.25 kilos of grain, beans and nuts, 500 grams of fruit and vegetables and just under 500 grams of meat, milk and eggs.

Meanwhile, Western agro companies continue to buy up fertile land for the production of export crops. Around the globe, millions of farmers are being driven from their land, plunging their families and communities into poverty, and robbing them of the ability to produce enough food to sustain themselves. Driven from their land, many families head to the cities to seek their fortune, often ending up in slums. If they find work, it is almost always badly paid.

Industrial agriculture adds to urban poverty, but its effects on rural communities are even more devastating. The ‘demand’ for chemical additives, technological innovations and patented seeds has caused farmers’ costs to spiral upward. At the same time, they are being paid less for the fruit of their labour. Many farmers have amassed dramatic levels of debt and a number of countries have reported a remarkably high incidence of suicide among farmers.

The multinational companies taking over the world’s farmlands produce the crops that yield the highest profits. Instead of producing food for the indigenous population, they concentrate on export crops such as cotton, soybeans, coffee and flowers. Crops for local consumption are grown on less fertile land resulting in inferior harvests and increased hunger. Between 1970 and 1990 – during the emergence of industrial agriculture – the number of hungry people increased by 11% in every country except China.

Economic reforms are needed to combat hunger. ‘Food independence’ must be given priority. That means redistributing land, stimulating production for one’s own family and community and encouraging sustainable and affordable farming methods.

 

Solution News Source

Myth 1: Industrial agriculture will put an end to hunger

Not true. Hunger is not caused by food shortages, but by poverty.

Marco Visscher | April 2003 issue

Hunger plagues some 800 million people in the world. In India, 200 million do not get enough to eat, in Brazil 70 million and in the United States 33 million. Every four seconds someone in the world dies from malnutrition.

Linking hunger to food shortages is neither new nor illogical. But the fact is that there is more than enough food to go around, even in countries where hunger is widespread. Annual global wheat, grain and rice crops are sufficient to provide every world citizen with 3,500 calories a day. In fact, there is enough food being produced to give everyone, each and every day, 1.25 kilos of grain, beans and nuts, 500 grams of fruit and vegetables and just under 500 grams of meat, milk and eggs.

Meanwhile, Western agro companies continue to buy up fertile land for the production of export crops. Around the globe, millions of farmers are being driven from their land, plunging their families and communities into poverty, and robbing them of the ability to produce enough food to sustain themselves. Driven from their land, many families head to the cities to seek their fortune, often ending up in slums. If they find work, it is almost always badly paid.

Industrial agriculture adds to urban poverty, but its effects on rural communities are even more devastating. The ‘demand’ for chemical additives, technological innovations and patented seeds has caused farmers’ costs to spiral upward. At the same time, they are being paid less for the fruit of their labour. Many farmers have amassed dramatic levels of debt and a number of countries have reported a remarkably high incidence of suicide among farmers.

The multinational companies taking over the world’s farmlands produce the crops that yield the highest profits. Instead of producing food for the indigenous population, they concentrate on export crops such as cotton, soybeans, coffee and flowers. Crops for local consumption are grown on less fertile land resulting in inferior harvests and increased hunger. Between 1970 and 1990 – during the emergence of industrial agriculture – the number of hungry people increased by 11% in every country except China.

Economic reforms are needed to combat hunger. ‘Food independence’ must be given priority. That means redistributing land, stimulating production for one’s own family and community and encouraging sustainable and affordable farming methods.

 

Solution News Source

SIGN UP

TO GET A Free DAILY DOSE OF OPTIMISM

Optimist Subscriber
Delivery Frequency *
reCAPTCHA

We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously. Privacy Policy