- Created on Sunday, 16 September 2012 19:31
There are at least 923 million people across the globe, that go to bed hungry every night and every 3.6 seconds someone dies due to hunger related causes. More than 73 million people in 78 countries that depend on food handouts from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) are facing reduced rations this year. The increasing scarcity of food is the biggest crisis looming for the world, according to WFP officials.
At the same time, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation have warned that rising prices have triggered a food crisis in 36 countries, all of which will need extra help. The World Bank points out that global food prices have risen by 75% since 2000
According to the World Health Organization, hunger is the gravest single threat to the world's public health. Mortality due to malnutrition accounts for over half of the total mortality rate. The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world is well-fed, one-third is under-fed and one-third is starving. Every 3.6 seconds someone dies of hunger.
What is happening?
World food prices have risen by 75% since 2000
Since the start of 2006, the average world price for rice has risen by 217%, wheat by 136%, corn by 125% and soybeans by 107%.
Poor families spend up to 80% of their budget on food and have been forced to reduce non-food spending such as schooling and medical expenses
According to the World Bank, an estimated 100 million people have fallen into poverty in the last 2 years
Prices are expected to stay high through 2015
21 of 36 countries in a food security crisis are in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the United Nations FAO
West Africa, the Horn of Africa, and fragile states are especially vulnerable
Why has this happened?
Poor government policies across the globe
Rise in oil and energy prices which affect the entire value chain of food production from fertilizer to delivery
Economic boom in some developing countries has lead to more demand for current supplies
Climate change leading to extreme weather such as floods, droughts and other natural disasters
Depreciation of currency’s, in particular the US Dollar
Subsidies and Trade restrictions
Declining world food stockpiles
How Biotechnology can help
Projections indicate that rising food prices are not a temporary phenomenon- crop prices are expected to remain well above 2004 levels until at least 2015. To meet this emerging challenge, global efforts must focus on increasing agricultural productivity, especially in Africa. With greater investments in agriculture, infrastructure, improved technology, seeds, tools and fertilizer, African farmers could benefit from increased crop yields and stronger connections to domestic, regional, and international markets. Biotechnology can play significant role in increasing agricultural productivity through better seed quality, higher yields, and less post harvest losses.