Food Inequality between Developed and Developing Countries Introduction These days, any domestic problems tend to be connected with or caused by reasons coming from outside abroad. Among those globalized issues, one of the serious issues is the theme of food security. According to FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), the outlook for the global cereal supply in the 2011/12 marketing season has improved the following positive production. However, the impact on global food security remains uncertain given the current international economic slowdown and changeable weather.
For example of food security, in Eastern Africa, the drought-induced humanitarian crisis continues to take lives and reduce livestock. Additionally, in East Asia, severe localized monsoon floods in several countries – Bangladesh, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Pakistan, Thailand and the Philippines may reduce the final outcome because of the natural disaster while a record 2011 cereal harvest was anticipated. What do all these facts mean? Should people put up with the hunger if weather hits them and the economy is tough?
There seem to be some other reasons which facilitate food security and if we could struggle with them, the damage caused by the reasons of natural disasters and the tough economy will be mitigated. What could these reasons be? This essay explores the extent to which Population Growth, Food Distribution, Genetic Resources Factors contribute to the problem of food security. Population Growth Today, it is generally agreed that food insecurity issue can be attributed to the fact that we are running out of food due to the intense population growth.
In this part, we shall examine the idea carefully. The world’s population has been increasing, according to the report of World Bank in 2011, the population of the world has been doubled over the past 50 years. In this period, world population increase 3 billion to 6. 8 billion. Beyond the year 2050, it is projected that the population is to approach 9 billion, and the growth would likely occur in developing regions such as Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Inversely, the industrial countries or developed countries are going through a trend of decreasing population. The increase in population of developing countries is one of the main factors of the global population increase. Another factor is that the average life p has been extended, which means that the death rate is dramatically decreasing all over the world. The explosive increase of population brings about a problem of inequality, especially food. An excess of population is linked to food production and thus, food security.
In a TED talk in 2007, Hans Rosling gave a lecture about inequality between developing and developed countries and attributed the food inequality to the fact that the world population has been increasing. In 1960, the gap was relatively small but now the existing gap between both of them has intensified. He had mentioned an example of shoes and cars, and at the very last he discussed food insecurity. Therefore, according to his speech, we can claim that the population growth causes the food inequality issue between developing countries and industrialized countries.
However, on the other hand, according to two books which we mostly relied on, Ending Hunger by the Hunger Project and Food Policy by The Johns Hopkins University Press, we found there were some people who had made an objection against the idea. FAO and the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) reported in 2008 that new estimate of the number of people who would suffer chronic hunger in which year was 925 million, which, however, doesn’t mean that there is not enough food for the people who need it in the world.
According to the report of FAO, the amount of world crop production was recorded two billions tons in 2008, which had been the best record. If the all crops were distributed equally to all people around the world, each of people was supposed to eat 320kg in a year, which is twice as much as crops that are eaten by Japanese per a year on average. Given that there are more food like vegetable, fish, and meat, in addition to crops, all people in the world are supposed to be able to get enough food. Then, why can’t all people get enough food?
We examine the causes of food inequality from the different perspective in the next section. However, what we emphasize here is that we think the population growth could also be one of the causes in the near future if the world population kept increasing. As shown in Food Policy by The Johns Hopkins University Press, the world population will soon be over 9 billion people, which means that the earth’s productivity will not be able to catch up with the increase in population. Therefore, people in the world will soon face the fact that we run out of food.
Then, we examine the food production in third section. Inadequate Food Distribution As we discussed in the last section, two books, Ending Hunger by the Hunger Project and Food Policy by The Johns Hopkins University Press, showed us that food inequality issue between developed countries and developing countries arises not from population growth but from in a defect in an appropriate food distribution system. According to Food Policy, All people in the world could be supposed to be able to get enough food, when the all crops were distributed equally to all people around the world.
However, when it comes to the supply of food, only people in developed countries, which are estimated 20% in the world, can always get more calories than they need. Moreover, crops are consumed not only by people but also by livestock such as cattle, chicken, which usually come to the markets for industrialized countries. As a result, people in developed countries like us usually consume more than half of all crops in the world. It turns out that something may be wrong in the process of the food distribution. First, we attribute it to high food prices. As we learned in Prof.
Montgomery’s lectures, the energy and water insecurity made the food prices high because food, water, and energy are tightly connected to each other, so farmers need tons of energy and water to produce food. Moreover, Food Policy also described that due to the energy insecurity, more and more people in developed countries used crops in a different way; today biofuels that are made by crops are one of the popular renewable energies in the world. However, to grow the crops, people also need to use more energy and water, which leads people into a downward spiral, and usually the victims are people in poor countries.
On top of that, according to Ending Hunger, the high food price can be attributable to speculations. The author said, “Crops have been getting the attention as an object of speculation. ” Originally, more crops tend to go into the domestic market, and there are a few products being distributed in the international market. Under the circumstance, investors who were struggling under the financial crisis in 2008 had an eye on crops for speculation, which raised the food prices intensely.
Thus, today under the capitalism, people rather reckon food as a “product”, so food has been distributed in a way that certain rich people can benefit. At the very last in Food Policy, we got a clue for solving food inequality; an alternative food distribution system that can exist even under the capitalism. The authors have an eye on an idea of “food redistribution”. Food bank, a non-governmental organization that provides food to poor people for free, has been popular in many developed countries to help poor people within the nations.
The authors expect that it will be exercised not by government, but by some entrepreneurs since there is a big challenge for governments in terms of fund and security, and that it will become a new business model in the future. In my opinion, however, it seems difficult that the model can be applied, crossing the boarders. In addition to the point of food distribution, we would like to mention the food production. Ending Hunger, the book we had read, said that although every country needs to try to keep their food self-sufficiently stable, it’s a big challenge for developing countries.
There are quite a few countries that rely on the imports from other countries to get crops for their principal diet. It’s related to their history which they were forced to produce some products like cacao to export to industrialized countries in their colonial ages. They are vulnerable because of this monoculture structure which has been still existed when the food prices fluctuate. In the next section, we examine how to solve the monoculture structure issue. Losing Biodiversity In this section, we discuss biodiversity, the problem between biodiversity and food security and the solution.
First of all, Biodiversity is a term that is short for biological diversity. Currently, the great variety and richness of plant, some microbe are said to be approximately 1. 7 million species in 2008. The human race literally relies on those plants and animals for clothing, shelter, medicines, and many other things, according to Red list of Threatened Species. However, 784 species have been officially recorded as extinct and more than 16,000 species contains approximately 12 percent of bird species, 23 percent of mammals, and 32 percent of amphibians as well as a large number of plant species.
Even so, how does the problem connect with food security? Does the extinction of some species of plants lead to such a big problem? The answer seems to be affirmative; the conflicts between agriculture and biodiversity would be possible. Presently, just three crops- rice, wheat, and maize- amount to about 60 per cent of the world’s food crops and 56 per cent of the protein people derive from plants. This means the stability of agriculture is easy to be affected by climates, pests, diseases because there are no other different plants which would be durable to those stresses. As a result, a drought becomes more likely.
In Bangladesh, for example, increasing HYV [high –yield varieties] rice monoculture has decreased diversity, including nearly 7,000 traditional rice variation and many fish species. Ironically, the production of HYV rice per cent acre in 1986 dropped by 10 percent from 1972, in spite of a 300 per cent increase in agrochemical use per acre. (Thrupp 2000,p269) In India, by 1968, although, the so-called “miracle” HYV seed had replaced half of the native varieties, the expected production in many areas were not realized because those seeds need irrigated land with high inputs of fertilizer, which poor farmers cannot afford. Thrupp p269) North America like US is not also exemption. Of more than 7,000 apple varieties grown in the United States between 1804 and 1904, 86 per cent are no longer cultivated, and 88 per cent of 2,683 pear varieties are no longer available. (Thrupp p270). The main causes for the loss of agrodiversity are reliance on uniform plants and the heavy use of agrochemicals (often make lands barren), and institutions and companies from developed countries who gained patents of seeds and other genetic resources.
In order to change this situation, a shift to sustainable agriculture requires changes in production methods, models and policies, as well as the full participation of local people. Example includes use of organic fertilizer, reduction of agrochemicals that destroy diverse rich soil, multiple cropping, eliminating subsidies and credit policies for uniform high-yield varieties. In addition, those developing countries which have plenty genetic resources don’t keep silent to their serious problem.
In the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2010, those countries tried to negotiate with developed countries in order to create a protocol about making the access and payment of genetic resources a matter of international law for “ fair and equitable sharing of benefits” (The Economist 2010) Conclusion As we discussed in this papers so far, we mostly attributed the food inequality problem to population growth, inadequate food distribution system, and losing biodiversity. However, the more we studied, the more we found that the food inequality problem was very complicated because there ere a lot of factors which were connected to each other and which lead to the problem. The solutions we figured out are that an alternative food distribution system, and a shift to sustainable agriculture requires changes in production methods, models and policies, as well as the full participation of local people. The right for accessing to food; it is supposed to be exercised by all people in nature. We strongly hope that more and more poor people will get the access to food in the future, and in order to make it happen, we need to get back to an idea of cooperation at the end.
References 1) J Price Gittinger; Joanne Leslie; Caroline Hoisington; Economic Development Institute in Washington, D. C. (1987). Food policy: integrating supply, distribution, and consumption. Baltimore : Published for the World Bank [by] Johns Hopkins University Press 2) W Ladd Hollist; F LaMond Tullis(1987) Pursuing food security : strategies and obstacles in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Boulder : L. Rienner Publishers 3) Debra A Millar(2008) Biodiversity Detroit : Greenhaven Press.
Thruoo L Ann (2000) Linking agricultural biodiversity and food security: the value role of agrobiodiveristy for sustainable agriculture International affairs Vol. 76 Issue 2, p265, 17p, 4 Charts 4) Global Information and Early Warning System, 2011 Food Outlook November 2011. Available at: http://www. fao. org/giews/english/fo/index. htm 5) The Economist Online (2010) Pay up or die: Protecting and profiting from the environment (21th Oct) The Economist Available at: http://www. economist. com/blogs/newsbook/2010/10/protecting_and_profiting_environment