Myth 1: There’s Simply Not Enough Food

As often as I’ve heard this myth dispelled, it is still common to hear that the problem of hunger is primarily about quantity, not enough food. Even at our current moment when there is a growing food crisis, the production of food continues to outstrip demand. There is more than enough food to feed everyone on the planet. It’s a problem of distribution.

Even with that said, some might still imagine that the food is being hoarded in wealthy countries like the U.S. and Europe. Certainly these countries have an abundance of food that they both produce, import and export. However, the problem is not that they are keeping food from poorer countries. This chapter details through examples of specific countries that hunger continues to grow in countries where food production increases.

Here’s some stats from the book:

  • The world today produces enough grain alone to provide every human being on the planet with thirty-five hundred calories a day.
  • 78 percent of all malnourished children under five in the developing world live in countries with food surpluses.
  • In 1995 200 million went hungry in India while they exported $625 million of wheat and flour and $1.3 billion in rice (5 million metric tons)

So, the notion that scarcity is the cause of hunger is a myth that continues to perpetuate, not only ignorance about the nature of hunger, but also solutions that are ineffective at best and dangerous at worst, as we’ll see later on.

This is part one in an ongoing series looking at the classic World Hunger: Twelve Myths by Francis Moor Lappé, et. al

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