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close this bookTowards Creating a Poverty-Free World (UNESCO, 1995, 12 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentHunger is not Caused by Shortage of Food
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Hunger is not Caused by Shortage of Food

There are two issues in the world which a get prompt response from all nations, at all times. They are: war and hunger. Fear of war is universal. People hate them more than anything else.

But both have remained real threats all through history, defying all good wishes and good logic. War is not the subject we are going to discuss here. Nations get involved with it while professing total commitment to peace. No nation or community wants to get involved with hunger, but they find themselves living with it. More human beings get aroused and activated by seeing a picture of a hungry person than by any other picture. Hunger is an issue which unites all human beings. But it still persists. More than a billion people on this planet go partly hungry everyday. Projections tell us that the number is increasing and will continue to increase.

We are told that the world produces more food today than is needed to feed all the people in it - thanks to the agricultural scientists. But why is it then that so many millions cannot have enough to eat? Where are we going wrong?

Everybody agrees that hunger today is not caused by shortage of food. it is caused by the lack of purchasing power of the people. Poverty is the root cause of hunger. As long as poverty continues to exist, there is no way the world can make itself free from hunger. This, however, does not mean that in a poverty-free world there will not be hunger. There may still be hunger, but it will be a chronic case. It will be caused by temporary breakdown of production and/or distribution system of food.

All food-related organizations paid more attention to food production than to facilitating food availability. It came from our fear that the population is increasing faster than the increase in food production. We single-mindedly wanted to beat that. In the process we have organized everything to achieve the production goal and discarded all other dimensions of food from our thinking.