“Every day nearly 2 billion people wake up to face a world in which their lives will be dominated by a single desire…for food.”
Millions of people need more or better food. 821 million people continue to struggle with hunger every day. Is the earth to blame for man’s lack in this respect?
No; the earth appears capable of supporting billions more persons than the present 7.3 billion who now populate it.
Some authorities say there is twice as much arable land available for cultivation as what has been used in recent decades.
So, why do so many go hungry? We shall discuss 5 reasons.
5 Reasons Why So Many Go Hungry?
1. Technology Fails to Solve Food Shortage
While control of the natural elements is out of man’s hand, what about technology? Although it has developed techniques and equipment that are valuable, it has also done much to contribute to the current food shortage.
‘Urban sprawl‘ gobbles up much fine farmland as man’s cities grow. Industrial pollution and wrong use of commercial fertilizers have greatly lessened the fertility of countless acres.
Furthermore, much agricultural research today, while centering on “cash crops,” is oblivious to the real food crops of poorer nations.
It is noted that the world’s food problem persist largely in the tropics. Nevertheless, most scientific study is on crops that thrive, not in the tropics, but on the temperate zones.
Modern technology has not, therefore, solved the overall food shortage. Infact, in some respects it has contributed to the current crisis. Other factors, also of man’s making, have likewise seriously aggravated food shortage.
2. Religion and the Famine
Religion, too, often contributes to the food problem. Consider an example.
Seventy-three people live in the village of Nazrichawk in the Indian state of Bihar. The soil there is described as “good”.
Further, after the last drought, in 1967, an effective irrigation system was set up. Today, however, the diesel pump operating the irrigation system is rust-coated and the people go hungry!
Yet they can afford to get the pump fixed. Then why does it stay in disrepair?
“The answer is that the necessary work projects would require a group effort: to develop schema any more sophisticated than a bullock-drawn waterwheel demands consensus on such issues as water distribution, financing and labor”.
Such common needs, however, rarely unify a community divided by religion, caste, and politics….
A multitude of small, caste-oriented political parties are active throughout the state, and their activities further fragmentize the villages.
Instead of being a community, a village often disintegrate into hostile factions splintered along religious, political, and caste lines”.
Yes, people starve because religion and other social forces divide them! But there is another way in which some religions affect the food problem adversely.
Certain religions discouraged small families; yet more births mean more mouths to feed. Already India alone currently has more than 1,380,863,473 people based on worldometer latest elaboration of the United States.
Each year that country increases by another twelve to thirteen million people. Though the Indian government seems to have earnestly tried to encourage smaller families, it’s success has been limited -by religion.
As a case in point: Recent figures show that in the last decade the number of Hindus increased by only 24 percent, while the number of moslems was up 31 percent.
On learning this, what did Hindu religious leaders do?
They lost no time in using these statistics to buttress their repeated appeals to Hindus not to practice family planning for fear of becoming a minority in their own country.
They simply ignore the fact that that Hindus constitute 82 percent of the population, while moslems account for roughly 12 Percent. No doubt, such religious leaders do much to nullify the government’s effort at controlling population.
Furthermore, most Indians readily comply with the wishes of their religious leaders. Why? Because to them, children are a form of wealth. Farmers, for instance, use their children to ‘look after the goats’.
Moreover, parents want children who will take care of them in their old age.
Many Asian children die early in life; thus the more offspring one has, parents reason, the greater the likelihood that some of them will survive until the parents’ old age.
Opposition to government programs for birth control comes not only from ‘Eastern religions’. Christendom too, is a source of stuff opposition.
Some of the world’s largest religions, therefore, must share the responsibility for Earth’s bulging population and food crisis.
3. Politics and Hunger
Man’s political wars-‘not natural causes’-can be blamed for the suffering from food shortage in many parts of the world, including places like Cambodia and Bangladesh.
Agricultural systems, grain and water supplies, as well as draft animals, have been destroyed by war.
As a result, there have been food riots and looting. Soldiers guarding bridges have assessed “black taxes” on trucks carrying produce into that city, doubling the price of food; prices have trebled in other places in Cambodia.
The political system itself, often cripples efforts at fighting famine.
4. Effects of Malnutrition
Hungry people can’t provide food for themselves. They are prone to disease, since natural immunity vanishes with poor diet.
Persons with wasted legs and who cannot walk because of malnutrition can be seen in many countries. How much heavy work can such persons do on farmland?
Mentally, too, people are affected by malnutrition. What may at first appear to a visitor as a natural ‘calm’ in some nations is often the tiredness, aimlessness and complacency brought on by a poor diet.
Can dispirited weakened persons be expected to respond vigorously to the challenge of providing ample food for their families? They are obviously limited in what they can accomplish.
5. Unpredictable Weather Aggravates Food Shortage
One major factor that greatly limits the amount of yield that can come from even excellent soil is weather.
Much of the famine situation in Asia and Africa was brought on by drought.
Monsoon rains in 1972 were too limited or too late to benefit India’s summer crops. Rains in Bangladesh were 40 Percent below normal during the growing months.
The weather’s irregularities also dangerously affected production in the Philippines. In the north, the rice crop was ruined by the worst floods of the century; while in the south, crop yields were limited by drought.
Russia, on the other hand, has suffered large grain losses in the last two years because of recieving only light snow cover during the winter; grain crops we’re thus left to suffer frost damage.
The world’s current food crisis should realistically remind man of his weakness before the natural elements.
The uncertainties of weather have largely canceled out the effects of the ‘green revolution’.
The food shortage, therefore, runs much deeper than merely the right combination of soil and weather.
Man’s political, technological and religious activities and social attitudes, as well as his lack of humane consideration, have unquestionably complicated the problem beyond the ability of imperfect men to solve.