Population and Feeding the World

Author and Page information

  • by Anup Shah
  • This Page Last Updated Monday, July 09, 2001

"World hunger is extensive in spite of sufficient global food resources. Therefore increased food production is no solution. The problem is that many people are too poor to buy readily available food. Therefore measures solving the poverty problem is what is required to solve the world hunger problem"

It is a myth that world hunger is due to scarcity of food

The food scarcity part of the argument in the population debate is an interesting one—people are hungry because they cannot afford food, not because the population is growing so fast that food is becoming scarce.

As discussed further in the Genetically Engineered Food section of this web site, international trade and economic policies that have lead to immense poverty and hunger, not food scarcity due to over population. In other words, this is a political problem, not necessarily a shortage problem.

Oftentimes, people make the argument that population increases increases the lack of food or ability to provide enough food to sustain such growth. However, for many decades food production has more than kept up with population growth. As Greenpeace has noted, most hungry people live in countries that have food surpluses rather than deficits.

When weighing the impacts on demands by populations versus the way large chemical companies and industrial agricultural businesses promote certain types of agricultural practices, and the serious threat of top soil loss (which will affect yields in the future, where large populations could feel an additional burden), it is less certain that populations and “over” population is the main cause.

Where next?

Land Rights

Last updated Saturday, August 25, 2001.

One important aspect about the causes of hunger is often ignored; that is, land ownership and who controls the land. Throughout history, this has been an important part of power struggles and one of the major causes of poverty (and therefore, hunger).

Read “Land Rights” to learn more.

Myth: Too Many Mouths to Feed

Posted Saturday, December 02, 2000.

With kind permission from Peter Rosset of the Institute for Food and Development Policy (or FoodFirst.org as it is also known), chapter 3 of World Hunger: 12 Myths, 2nd Edition, by Frances Moore Lappé, Joseph Collins and Peter Rosset, with Luis Esparza (fully revised and updated, Grove/Atlantic and Food First Books, Oct. 1998) has been posted here. It describes in details the issue of population and hunger.

Read “Myth: Too Many Mouths to Feed” to learn more.

Links for More Information on Feeding the World

Last updated Monday, December 04, 2000.

This issue is related to many others presented on this web site, such as poverty and hunger, the disastrous effects of food aid in non-emergency scenarios and the promise of benefits to solving hunger via genetically engineered food.

Read “Links for More Information on Feeding the World” to learn more.

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Author and Page Information

  • by Anup Shah
  • Created: Tuesday, December 01, 1998
  • Last Updated: Monday, July 09, 2001

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