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Abundance, not scarcity, best describes the world's food supply. We assume that people are starving because there is not enough food to go around and we overlook the real causes of malnutrition, starvation, and famine. World hunger is not the result of insufficient food production. Enough food is already being produced to provide everyone in the world with a nutritious and adequate diet.

Over the years, we've been inundated with the statistics and the pictures of poverty around the world-so much so that many people in both the North and South have come to accept it as an unfortunate but unalterable state of affairs. The truth, however, is that things have changed in recent years. The world today is more prosperous than it ever has been. The technological advances we have seen in recent years have created encouraging new opportunities to improve economies and reduce hunger.

Even though we have the means to end hunger people are still dying. In fact, every 3.6 seconds one person dies of starvation. Every day almost 16, 000 children die from hunger worldwide. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reports and some 300 million children go to bed hungry every day. At least a seventh of the world's population, some 800 million people, go hungry because many people are too poor to buy readily available food or they do not have access to land on which to grow food.

Every day, millions of people around the world eat only the bare minimum of food to keep themselves alive. Every night, they go to bed not certain whether there will be enough food to eat tomorrow. This uncertainty about where the next meal will come from is called 'food insecurity'. FAO defines food insecurity as:

"A situation that exists when people lack secure access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life." The world's most food-insecure and hungry people are often directly involved in producing food. They cultivate crops on small plots of land. They raise animals. They catch fish. They do what they can to provide food for their families or earn money at the local produce market.

The number of under-nourished and food insecure people in the world had increased by 20 million to some 854 million. That spike had occurred after Governments at the 1996 World Food Summit had pledged to cut in half the number of hungry people in the world by 2015. The increase has been due to three factors: 1) neglect of agriculture relevant to very poor people by governments and international agencies; 2) the current worldwide economic crisis, and 3) the significant increase of food prices in the last several years which has been devastating to those with only a few dollars a day to spend.

Food is always available for those who can afford it. Starvation during hard times hits only the poorest. Millions live on



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