Is there a solution to world hunger problems?

A hungry man looking for food in a large dustbin.
Through world news sources, the faces of hungry people confront us with growing frequency. Hunger, of course, is not new." 

Who among us can see pictures of hungry people without feeling a desire to aid them? But what can you do?

On a local scale, it is not difficult to help neighbors temporarily in need, as when some disaster hits. People often respond with acts of kindness and generosity.

On a worldwide scale, however, the situation is quite different. Why?

Challenges in finding a lasting solution

For one thing, there is more to today’s situation than meets the eye. It would seem that the earth is just not producing enough food to go around.

But this is not really the problem. Grain crops now harvested would feed adequately every person living—if they were distributed equally and if the grain were eaten directly as cereal or bread or similar products.

But that is not the case. Much of the world’s harvest is used by wealthier nations to feed animals and produce meat, milk and eggs. It can take up to seven pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat.

That is one reason why so-called “advanced” nations with only one third of earth’s population consume more grain than the other, poorer, two thirds put together.

So, too, with fuel and fertilizer, key production factors in modern agriculture.

But are not the “advanced” nations feeding much of the world? Yes, countries like the United States, Canada, Australia and Argentina export millions of tons of grain annually.

The problem is that the poorer nations find it ever harder to pay. Spiraling inflation devastates their ability to buy food, fuel and fertilizer.

And their populations keep growing. Each year there are millions more mouths to feed—most in already hungry lands.

Is there a solution?

What is the solution? Contradictory claims are made. Leaders of “advanced” nations say that the poorer nations must make greater efforts to slow population growth.

But in such lands many children die at an early age. So, parents actually want large families, hoping that some children will survive to care for them in their old age.

To the “advanced” nations the poorer nations say: ‘Why do you buy our raw materials at low prices and then sell us your products at high prices? Why don’t you live and eat more modestly so that your lands’ bounty can benefit more of mankind?’

Faced with this situation, what can an individual do to help? Obviously, just your eating less is not going to put food on people’s plates in another country.

Can you confidently rely on national governments or other organizations to see that any efforts you make to contribute toward a greater food supply will bring relief for the world’s hungry?

Unfortunately, there is much to discourage people’s efforts. They see that, despite the vast amounts of financial aid given, conditions worsen. There are more hungry people now than ever before.

Governments receiving aid may use it to buy costly military equipment rather than food. Corruption, black-market profiteering and waste cut deeply into food supplies sent, often reducing them to a mere trickle by the time they reach needy ones.

So, it would be prudent to know how your charity contributions are used.

Evidence is that “advanced” nations often do not really want food to reach the point of abundance. Why not? Because then prices would drop and profits would be cut.

Production is geared to keep prices high on the world market. Food is even used to gain political advantage.

On the one hand, then, we often hear world leaders claim that they view all men as brothers and they speak of the “brotherhood of human kind.” 

But when large areas of mankind come into need, time and again nationalistic and commercial interests are put first, ahead of the needs of fellow humans.


Clearly what is needed is an entirely new system for mankind, one that eliminates selfish nationalism and ruthless commercial competition, replacing these with systems that treat all persons as equals and that foster cooperation, unhypocritical generosity and love of neighbor.

Only then can we find a solution to the world hunger problems.