Food Insecurity in Developing Countries

Food Insecurity in Developing Countries


- Zulfiquer Ahmed Amin.

In a world where obesity is epidemic in some countries, 25,000 people die daily of hunger and poverty in others. Some 840 million people in the world don't have enough food for their daily needs. The great majority of them -- 799 million -- live in developing countries in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. Food is a constantly threatened commodity in poor countries due to the pressures of population, under-investment in infrastructure, degradation of the environment, manipulation of trade and international market by the rich countries, and the constraints of natural resources. Added to it, natural calamities and trade-off between food and non-food items are worsening the menace.

Never before in human history has our planet been so densely populated as today. The present international consensus is that in the next thirty years the world population will swell to at least 8.2 billion. Already, today's 400 million or so subsistence farmers cannot feed the urban population of 1.5 billion; the 800 million subsistence farmers of the year 2025 will not possibly be able to feed 4 billion city dwellers. In the same period of time, the globe's ecological carrying capacity is expected to shrink. The World Resources Institute estimates that since World War II, 1.2 billion hectares – equivalent to about 10.5% of the world's agricultural land, or to the combined areas of China and India -- have been impaired as a consequence of human activity. The greatest damage has occurred in China (450 million hectares), followed by Africa (320 million hectares).

In Asia, ongoing urbanisation and industrialisation will reduce arable land per capita from today's 0.15 hectares to only 0.09 hectares by 2025. In the wake of its drive to industrialise, China alone is losing a million hectares of arable land yearly.

In the case of developing countries, investments in public goods and institutions to...

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