English IV Honors
24 September 2013
Third-World Hunger Crisis Currently, there are over nine hundred and twenty-five million people suffering from chronic hunger worldwide (“Global”). Chronic hunger can be defined as a painful or exhausted condition caused by the scarcity of food (Meriam). “The world is facing a hunger crisis unlike anything it has seen in more than fifty years” (Global). As one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world, the United States plays an important role in this hunger crisis affecting developing countries (Rogers). The third world hunger crisis can be attributed to economic status, crop production, and the political decisions made not only in developing countries, but in the United States as well. “Not every poor person is hungry, but almost every hungry person is poor. Hunger is often called the most severe and critical manifestation of poverty” (“Issues”). Hunger is a continually growing problem that affects more than two sevenths of the world population in some capacity (Global). Poverty has been on the rise since the early 1960s; and the United States’ economic status has been fluctuating continuously ever since (“U.S.”). The global stock market downfall and economic recession of 2008 forced food prices to increase at a rapid pace (Magdoff). With food price inflation and the unemployment rate increase in 2008, many families became dependant on government assistance and non-profit organizations to provide food and shelter (Magdoff).
The economic recession of 2008 was not the only major factor that is affecting the hunger crisis. Climate change in Australia brought on major crop failures, and drought destroyed a large portion of the wheat and rice production in 2008, which is Australia’s major export (Magdoff). “An increase in deforestation, desertification, soil erosion, and drought has produced poor agricultural reward (“Top”).” All over the world, countries are finding that climate change is affecting crop production more and more (Magdoff). In sub-Saharan Africa, inadequate rainfall, shortage of land and disease outbreak has diminished the amount of available crops (“Technology”).
The use of pesticides has also presented many problems with crop production efforts. In earlier farming methods, the use of pesticides led to contamination of water and land, threatened wildlife, and poisoned field workers (“Technology”). Crop production rates are decreasing due to natural disasters, pest control, and global warming; however, technological advancements have been made in an effort to slow down the world hunger crisis. One of the most successful technological advancements made in farming and crop production has been the development of biotechnology and the advancement of molecular biology. In Kenya, biotechnology experiments have provided an increase in the production of bananas, potatoes, and sugarcane (“Technology”). Now, using molecular biology, scientists have created genetically modified crops, which can resist pests, due to their genetic makeup (“Technology”).
Even though technology has provided some relief to the crop production, another problem arose not long ago, majorly affecting the world hunger crisis. In 2012, the world population finally reached seven billion people. Over the past one hundred years, the world population has more than quadrupled itself (“Human”). South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa currently hold the title for the deepest poverty as well as the highest birth rates, which has contributed greatly to the hunger crisis at hand (Brown). Population growth has become the number one reason for the hunger crisis in developing countries over the past 50 years. The lack of birth control, proper medical assistance, and technological advancements has caused birth rates to increase at an alarming rate in under developed countries. Many countries have resorted to population control methods to try and combat