“Food: There’s lots of it”

“Food: There’s lots of it”

We had a lot of interest in Population Research Institute’s  youtube cartoon presentations on the myths surrounding overpopulation.  PRI recently released another video; this time on world hunger.  We think you’ll enjoy this one too.  “Thank you”to Population Research Institute!

We also wanted to share some interesting statistics on population and world food production.  Check them out below.


Population and Food Production

  • The world produces 23 percent more food per capita than it did in 1961 and the growth in agricultural crops per person in developing countries has grown by as much as 52 percent.  The fall in the proportion of people starving in the world came at the same time as the population of developing countries doubled.  Bjorn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist, University Press, Cambridge United Kingdom, 2001, pg. 61
  • In 1970, 35 percent of all people in developing countries were starving.  In 1996 the figure was 18 percent and it is expected to drop to 12 percent by the year 2010. (United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization,1999c:29)
  • The average caloric intake by people in the developing worlds has increased by eight percent over the last 10 years with gains as high as 26 percent in some developing countries. Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, Food and Production Yearbook, 2000 Database  http://www.apps.fao.org/
  • The price of food fell by more than two-thirds from 1957 to early 2001. World Bank Food Index; International Monetary Fund 2001; Consumer Price Index 1913-2001, Washington, DC:  Bureau of Labor 2001
  • The mass famines “guaranteed” for the 1970’s by doomsayers, such as William and Paul Paddock in Famine 1975!, have not occurred.  Even in 2010, governments in Canada, USA and Europe are still trying to come up with new ways to suppress agricultural production.
  • World food supplies exceed requirements in all world areas, amounting to a surplus approaching 50% in 1990 in the developed countries and 17% in the developing regions. (World Food Summit 96/Tech I Executive Summary, FAO, 1996, pp. 8-9)
  • “Global food supplies have more than doubled in the last 40 years…between 1962 and 1991, average daily-per-capita food supplies increased more than 15%…at a global level, there is probably no obstacle to food production rising to meet demand.” (“Food Requirements and Population Growth,” World Food Summit Technical Background Documents 1-05, Vol. 1, FAO, 1996, pp 8-9)
  • The amount of food produced per person increased about 62% from 1948 to 1996—a period of substantial population growth. (The State of Food and Agriculture, published annually by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, 1953, 1997)
  • In developing countries, the average calories per person per day were 2060 in 1966.  By 1995, the average calories per person per day were 2570, an improvement of about 25%. (The State of Food and Agriculture, published annually by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, 1997)
  • Crop yield has been increasing faster than population has grown for more than sixty years.  It would be possible to feed today’s larger populations using less cropland than was used in 1948. (The State of Food and Agriculture, published annually by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, various editions)
  • The International Monetary Fund says African economic problems result from excessive government spending, high taxes on farmers, inflation, restrictions on trade, too much government ownership, and over-regulation of private economic activity.  There is no mention of overpopulation. (Christine Jones and Miguel A. Kiguel, “Africa’s Quest for prosperity:  Has Adjustment helped?” Finance and Development June 1994, pp. 2-5)
  • Africa has the worst average diet in the world, but also has much unused potential rain-fed land. Diet has been improving fastest in Asia, which has little unused land.  Latin America uses the same amount of land as South Asia, which feeds a much greater population.  Many in Latin America are malnourished even though 80% of the potential rain-fed agricultural land in Latin America is unused. (World Agriculture:  Towards 2010, Nikos Alexandratos, et al. (1995) A Food and Agriculture Organization Study, John Wiley & Sons, New York.)
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