DeAnza College/CIS2/Summer 2010/Group 1

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What is World Hunger

  • World hunger is the scarcity or lack of food in a country. While it is not one of the highest direct causes of death in the world, it directly and indirectly causes 36 million deaths per year.

World hunger refers to the multitudes of people presently facing the risk of an insufficient (quantity) or inadequate (quality) food supply, something known as food insecurity. This problem has led to detriments from the insidious, such as stunted growth and a greater risk of contracting disease, to the obvious, namely starvation and death.

So, how widespread is world hunger and how great is the problem anyway? The World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations (UN) reports that daily, over 800 million people go hungry while the Hunger Site says that every 3.2 seconds, someone in the world dies of hunger. Most of the world's hungry (over 40%) are concentrated in China and India, with the rest found mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America . Even developed nations such as the USA and Britain have millions of hungry people within their borders.

Main causes of World Hunger

  • Illiterate
  • Low paying jobs
  • Disease
  • Apathy
  • Dependency
  • Dishonesty
  • Ignorance (lack of knowledge)
  • Government Corruption

In the near future, is their a solution to a daunting problem as great as eliminating world hunger? A conclusion can be made if we examine both the causes of food insecurity as well as the steps being taken presently. If the former can be eliminated and/or the latter works, it would then logically follow that world hunger would soon vanish.

So, what causes world hunger? Immediately, famine-causing disasters such as droughts or floods, such as those that occurred recently in Mozambique, spring to mind. The cause is obvious: when farmland and infrastructure such as roads are destroyed or rendered useless, an immediate regional shortage of food develops, causing food insecurity and hunger.

Will disasters ever go away? Obviously not. And as the effects of human activity such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels causes rivers to silt up and the atmosphere to warm, the frequency and severity of weather fluctuations looks set to increase dramatically. Witnesses to this trend include the severe 1995 floods along the Yangtze River in China and the harsh El Nino/El Nina inspired droughts in Africa and South America.

On the other hand, humans have indeed (of late) been trying both to reduce the problems causing the disasters (through efforts to protect the environment) as well as improving their ability to detect and predict impending disasters and reduce their impact on humans. Indeed, the advent of weather satellites has meant that the impending famine caused by the present drought in the Horn of Africa (poised to affect 15 million people in 8 countries including Ethiopia, already synonymous with starvation), was actually predicted over a year ago by scientists. As a result, the UN long ago began taking measures to prevent it, ensuring that the victims would not be so hard hit.

Places Suffering Most

  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Latin America

Statistics and Facts

  • There are over 1 billion hungry people in the world.
  • Over 100 million people die from hunger year in the world.
  • According to the United Nations, 25,000-30,000 people die daily from hunger related causes.
  • 1 of every 6 people in the world are suffering from world hunger (about 15-17% of the world population)
  • Nearly one in three people die prematurely or have disabilities due to poor nutrition and calorie deficiencies.
  • 27 percent of children under 5 are moderately to severely underweight in the developing world.
  • 1 billion people in the world live on less than $1 a day.


How to End Hunger

Now one may ask, what about our current food production technology? Don’t we have anything that could help solve the world hunger issue? John Floros from the Institute of Food Technology believes that he may have some type of solution. After doing some tests, his tests showed that processed foods could be more nutritional for the consumer and often time a better value. Furthermore they require far less resources to make and the output is far greater. However, it is a proven fact that in most cases process foods contain large amounts of salt, sugar, preservative, other chemicals and are not healthier or sustainable. Processed foods also speed up aging and increase heart disease and diabetes. It is unclear what type of processed food and what type of nutritional food Floros was comparing but it is clear that current food processing technology is not the answer to any of the world hunger issues. So what can we do to end world hunger?

Read more at Change: Sustainable Foods: Food Technology Group Says Home Made Foods Cant Feed The World


  • Share existing food, production technology, and water and land resources with developing countries. Pressure your political leaders to pursue policies that promote global cooperation.
  • Promote economic development of developing nations to allow its residents to earn more money and afford more food.
  • Support equal rights for all people. Promoting access to health care, education and jobs for women and minorities encourages economic development for the country as a whole. Birth rates are reduced with even basic education, further reducing the strain on the food supply. See 404 Build a School in a Third World Country.
  • Lobby the U.S. government to remove agriculture subsidies. Designed to help U.S. farmers with globally traded crops like wheat and corn, subsidies depress global prices, holding down the incomes of farmers in developing countries or even driving them out of business. Poor countries can make a strong argument that the developed world is intentionally preventing the creation of a level playing field.
  • Support increased funding of global-assistance programs. The United States uses only a tiny fraction of its money (less than one-half of one percent of the gross domestic product) for overseas food assistance. The nation could easily double or triple this figure without suffering economic harm.
  • Understand the impact that meat consumption has on the world food supply. Meat production is a biologically inefficient process; the amount of meat produced is infinitely smaller than the amount of feed grain the animals consume. Eating meat elevates consumption of scarce resources and increases pressure on the world food supply. The majority of meat is consumed by developed nations.
  • Contribute to private global assistance programs such as CARE ( and the International Red Cross ( Many churches and civic organizations also conduct hunger relief programs.

Read more: How to End World Hunger |

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Suggestions

  • Need to figure a way to produce food at reasonable prices
  • Keep as much spare capacity of land and water available for feeding the world in 2050
  • Utilize new technologies that can help us use scarce resources more effectively, increase stabilize crops and livestock yields
  • Invest in research and development for breakthroughs to be available in time
  • Make the new technologies available to the people that need them the most- the poor
  • Wisely invest in agricultures that adapt to cultural change and determine how much they are effected by extreme weather events

5 Ways to End World Hunger c/o Suite 101

  • Call on world leaders to fulfill development assistance commitments agreed to in 1970.
  • Call on world leaders to stop tying aid to commercial and strategic interests.
  • Stop the industrial agriculture that is contributing to global food insecurity.
  • Make food aid more nutritious and easier to use.
  • Get involved with organizations working to end the world food crisis.

Read more at Suite101: Ending the Global Food Crisis: Five Ways to End World Hunger

The Future of World Hunger

World hunger is a problem that has existed for hundreds of years, and as the world population grows, there is less food to be had, and as the economy gets worse, as there are less jobs to be had putting food on the table is becoming a more and more difficult task. But for under develop countries and societies they have far fewer choices available to them, far fewer food resources available to them and starvation becomes more and more of a threat. Science estimates that there will be 9million people in the world by 2050, that is 3million more then there is today. At the rate of this population growth the world would have to increase its food production by 70%. An almost impossible task, so how does the world meet its demand? How do we improve our food production by 70% in less than 50 years?

With modern technology constantly advancing, scientists use computers and new tools to perform tests and experiments to continue to advance its search for a better way to produce food with less available land and resources. Thus far the results of these tests have been a healthier type of processed food, however science still has a long way until finding a good solution to ending world hunger.

Read more at Food and Agriculture Organization: High Level Expert Forum: How to Feed The World

Related Organizations

"End Hunger Network" -

"One" -

"Bread for the World" -

"We Can End Hunger" -

"Initiative to End Hunger in Africa" -

"The Hunger Project" -

"Feeding America" -


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