hunger can be solved: Technology's part
Chronic persistent hunger can also occur in a country due to
the current inability to produce enough food from the available
arable land to meet the requirements of the ever expanding
population. When this occurs, often in less economically developed
countries, then food supplies can fall below the required level and
often the country cannot afford to import food to cover the
| Malthus' theory on hunger
The problem was first highlighted by Thomas
Malthus, a British economist in 1798. Malthus said that human
population grows at a geometric or exponential rate, i.e.
1->2->4->8->16->32 etc, whereas food supplies, at
best, only increases at an arithmetic rate, i.e.
1->2->3->4->5 etc. (Show in diagram). This theory
highlights a major problem: population will expand greater than
food supplies, and mass starvation would prevail.
However, Malthus' theory has yet to come true.
So far, on a global scale the world's population has increased at a
tremendous rate as predicted by Malthus, but technological advances
have increased food supplies to feed every mouth, something that
Malthus couldn't have predicted.
| Thomas Malthus
These technological advances have included the wide use of
artificial fertilizers and the rapid developments in mechanization
(the use of machines in the production of food). In the last 25
years, technological advances have lead to food production growing
at an annual rate of 2.8%, whereas population growing at an annual
rate of 2.0%.
Farmer using traditional
farming technique to plough his field using donkeys.
These technological advances have included the
wide use of artificial fertilizers and the rapid developments in
mechanization (the use of machines in the production of food). In
the last 25 years, technological advances have lead to food
production growing at an annual rate of 2.8%, whereas population
growing at an annual rate of 2.0%.
However, on a more local scale, economically more developed
countries where technological advancement can be easily funded and
developed, there has been a much greater gap between the difference
between annual increase food production compared to rate of
population expansion. The less economically developed countries,
where governments and businesses are unable to afford to develop or
import technologies, has meant the annual increase in food
production has been less than the rate that the population has been
expanding. The result: chronic persistent hunger in less
economically developed countries.
The Green Revolution refers to the application of modern,
Western-type, farming techniques to developing countries. However,
it can only occur where funding has been provided to allow
developing countries expand their food production methods. A lot
has been done in recent years to solve the problem, and in some
cases chronic persistent hunger has been completely
However, it is widely believed that technological advances from
previous years have reached their limits, now being unable to
expand food yields much further. This has brought about the need
for new technologies to be developed.
An excellent example is Biotechnology - the idea
of genetically modifying crops in an attempt to increase yields
from crops and livestock even more in the future. However, this
technology is still in development and not everyone is certain that
it is safe - not only from an environmental point of view, but also
regarding the effects on humans. Making crops resistant to diseases
and parasites is obviously the next step to increase yields, but
the wider effect of the technology, such as the possible chance of
causing slight mutations that weren't intended to occur may cause
concern. For example, chemical company Mon Santo has developed a
strain of oil seed rape, which is immune to their own brand of weed
killer used to cleanse fields. This will have the effect of having
nothing for insects to feed on, no insects, no birds and so on -
something that is not desirable for the security of the future.
Strip of DNA - the item at the
heart of genetic modification.
Helping the hungry - using the
Internet to promote their cause.
Technologies that don't directly apply to the
production of food, such as the Internet are also helping solve the
problem of chronic persistent hunger. The Internet is an ideal
medium to broadcast information about the problem that the general
public wouldn't have otherwise received. Such technologies broaden
the awareness of such problems, and help persuade people to support
Technology, as you can see, is a very important factor in
helping to solve the problem of chronic persistent hunger
throughout the world. You can help by making use of the technology
in front of you. Write to your friends using email, support online
campaigns and research more into the problem using the Internet.
The problem cannot be solved without the support of people like