Archive for October 5th, 2011


Food Inequality Equation: 1.5 Billion Obese; 925 Million Hungry

Human Wrongs Watch

By Meredith Alexander* – Think Africa Press

925 million people go to bed hungry every night. At the same time, 1.5 billion people are obese. These attention grabbing figures are just the latest in a long line of counterintuitive hunger statistics. In Africa, women produce 80% of the food, but own only 1% of the land.

Image: lyzadanger | Wikimedia Commons

According to the World Bank, a 1% increase in agricultural GDP reduces poverty by four times as much as 1% increase in non-agricultural GDP. Despite this impressive return on investment, less than 5% of aid is spent on agriculture.

Perhaps most surprisingly, the majority of hungry people are farmers: half of the people without enough to eat, including three-quarters of Africa’s malnourished children, live and work on small farms.

This last statistic can lead people to simplistic conclusions. Perhaps the answer is to consolidate landholdings, mechanise farming and send the extra people to the cities? This seemingly easy answer is mistaken on every level.

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