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Global Food Crisis





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Forget oil, the new global crisis is food.

Alia McMullen, Financial Post

In 2011 our world became a world of 7 billion. According to the United States Census

Bureau right now there are 7,005 billion people living on our Earth. With the growing number of

population and its increasing density, humanity faces such acute and complicated problems as

lack of space and resources, with food as the most wanted one.

The issue of starvation has always taken place throughout the history. Natural disasters,

social instability and military conflicts constantly caused outbreaks of hunger and malnutrition in

different parts of the world. Even in the 21st century the global society is deeply alarmed at the

issue of food insecurity and the non-decreasing number of people suffering from it. Today over

925 million individuals worldwide are affected by chronic hunger. It is almost one seventh of the

whole world inhabitants, or 16 % population in developing countries. In the era of informational

and high technologies, nuclear and nano-tools, one out of seven on the Earth still experiences

constant food shortage and dies dreaming about a small piece of bread.

One of the strongest and most unavoidable reasons for that is environmental instability.

Natural disasters such as floods, tropical storms and droughts are at peak nowadays with tragic

consequences for food security in poor, developing countries. Drought is now the most

deleterious ground for food shortages in the world. In 2006, recurrent drought caused crop

failures and heavy livestock losses in parts of Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. In many countries,

climate change is aggravating initially severe natural conditions. For example, poor farmers in

Ethiopia or Guatemala traditionally deal with rain failure by selling off livestock to cover their

losses and pay for food. But recent years of drought, increasingly common in the Horn of Africa

and Central America, are exhausting their resources.

In addition, national and regional military conflicts and local civil fights (нормально с

этим окончанием) displace millions of people from their homes, leading to some of the world's

worst hunger emergencies. Since 1992, the proportion of short and long-term food crises that can

be attributed to human causes has more than doubled, rising from 15 percent to more than 35

percent. Increasingly often, these emergencies are triggered by conflicts. For instance, since

2004, conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan has uprooted more than a million people, deepening

a major food crisis - in the area that had usually enjoyed good rains and crops.

Moreover, in war, food often becomes a weapon. Soldiers subjugate their opponents by

means of seizing or destroying food and livestock and systematically destroying local markets.

Fields and water wells are often mined or contaminated, forcing farmers to abandon their land.

When conflict threw Central Africa into confusion in the 1990s, the proportion of those starving

rose from 53 % to 58 %.

Due to natural and human-made disasters the development of agricultural infrastructure

becomes more and more arduous and sometimes even unfeasible. As a consequence, developing

countries lack key agricultural infrastructure, such as enough roads, warehouses and irrigation.

That often results in high transport costs, lack of storage facilities and unreliable water supplies.

In developing countries, farmers often cannot afford seed to plant the crops that would provide

for their families. Craftsmen lack the means to pay for the tools to ply their trade. Others have no

land or water, or education to lay the foundations for a secure future. Consequently, those

poverty-stricken do not have enough money to buy or produce enough food for themselves and

their families. In turn, they tend to be weaker and cannot produce enough to buy more food. In

short, those poor are subject to hunger, which traps them in poverty.

Given there were beneficial circumstances for agricultural development, the farmers

cannot be sure that one day it all will not pass. The reason is threat to the world's fertile farmland

posed by erosion, salination and desertification. Poor farming practices, deforestation,

overcropping and overgrazing are exhausting the Earth's fertility and spreading the roots of

hunger.

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