Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 22, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
With the world's population growing by a and its food supply dropping we are entering an era of mass starvation. A five-part NBA report focuses on This Hungry World. Portrait of a hungry wor found one family who were all on the verge of dying. mother and daugther were lying on the not speaking. The father was digging in the sand with his hands to make a grave for a son who had already passed away. We gave them and some food but by the time we got them to the hospital who was so had died Red Cross worker in Africa In the big war against hunger most formidable foe is winning It has always been difficult for most Vortli Americans to imagine fhe cornucopia has been more than egend on this despite 'rumbling over increased food a virtual right. Yet for much of the rest of the Ireadfully less starvation continues to be a primary enemy. Even while the garbage cans of Sorth America overfill with the amine in sub-Sahara Africa is turning entire tribes of humans into dis- terrified zombies. And though the Africans are the most mmediately visible victims of nuclear ige there are millions of others ilsewhere who are starving more ilowly. In fact many authorities agree hat perhaps half the people in the vorld are living in Georg food science irofessor at Michigan State md one of the most persuasively food authorities in the says are 1200 nillioh well-nourished or adequately lourished people on the globe. Then here are the rest 2500 million who ire underfed or malnourished. We have severely hungry Of people have been trying to the message across for many rhomas an English warned in the 1800s that ood supplies could not keep pace with increases. But his theories eceived widespread disapproval. Even as food production izzles and world population ulalthusian pessimism is kept at bay by a general feeling that God will provide. says still convinced that some great technological trick will The survival of billions is based on the assumption that miracle chemical substitutions and fascinations yet un- known will ultimately and assuredly prevail. And though the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization admits that last year's world food production dropped three per though it agrees current harvests are the most gloomy since the reconstruction years following Second World the inter- national body believes that the agriculture potential is great enough to feed 40 times billion people the present world population. One optimist is Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Norman Borlaug. He believes that if man then can be He says the Green Revolution in India nearly doubl- ed its wheat harvest from 1965 to 1970. Science-aided production in before that nation's civil did the same. India or Pakistan one can see a gleam in the eye of people. Even in the back villages there's The most important Borlaug the will to even Borlaug concedes man's will to win may be fac- ing defeat on the battlefield of popula- tion growth. world population is grow- ing at the rate of 70 million people a year. The globe increases by GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT PER CAPITA 1964 U.S. 500 0 USA GERMANY-1 UNITED MIDDLE LATIN AMERICAl ASIA AFRICA I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I iSoiircv World people a or a population the size of the United States every third year. The planet will grow by nearly 1 billion peo- ple this decade. Dreary predictions es- timate 12 billion souls on earth in the next half century. Can we feed 12 Can we feed the FAO's figure of 157 MSU's Borgstrom says we can't even feed the present legions and insists six-to-seven billion is absolute tops. For one there are limits to the land. Half the world's farmable land of about 7.9 billion acres is already under cultivation. Claiming more will be ex- pensive perhaps as much as an says Borgstrom. it may be dangerous. Borgstrom says the world has already cut too much of its forests. There has been critical destruction of vital watersheds and ecosystems As a he world deserts have grown five times in Besides the finite there is the finite water. It takes 110 gallons of water to produce one breakfast about 3500 gallons to grow one day's food for one North American. World irrigation has grown four-fold since the 1800s and expects to double again by the end of this century. But it is approaching limit. And so the situation if Borgstrom and other pessimists are correct is virtually catastrophic. Besides the people that must be so too must all the pets and other domestic animals. Borgstrom calculates that if the world's domestic animals are added to the food supply the planet is already pop- ulated by more than 17 billion people- equivalents. To feed this horde just in the next three decades the world must grow more crops than in the years since agriculture according to food expert Lester Brown. Is it say the unless world priorities are immediate- ly and enthusiastically revalued. Says developed nations now spend more money on ar- maments than the underdeveloped countries do on So the for one must begin to share substan- tially with the Have-Nots. whose citizens eat four times that of the cereal dominant peoples of the is one of 15 or 16 nations rich enough to help yet its per-capita 'assistance to the hungry world ranks toward the bottom of this affluent Above people must begin to appreciate the risks to their survival. Even in North America. the bounty is still at hand and there is no extreme worry for the immediate future. But says is you ask a child in this country where potatoes come from he'll probably answer the super- By next Thanksgiving a more realistic assessment should be implanted if the nation is to help the world stave off nutritional dis- integration Starvation as old as man The experience of mass nunger pre-aates the earliest traces of civilization. Even1 when man has to eliminate hunger from the people still die every day from malnutrition. Here a relief from an ancient Egyptian temple shows emaciated peasants dying of hunger during a some so weak they have to be supported by relatives. Serious world protein crisis leaves one child dead in four While food scientists and food processors congratulate each other because they can meat im- itations from soy can grow edible high quality protein using yeast and bacteria on petroleum paper or people in the world die every day from malnutrition. This is primarily due to the lack of adequate protein in their diet. That makes 3.5 million persons a year who never will know the joys of dining on egg-less shrimp less shrimp or meat-less roasts. According to the United 25 to 30 per cent of all children die before their fifth birthday. Those who do live are stunted physically and mentally for life because they suffer from protein deficiency diseases such as kwashiorkor. some 40 million non star- vation deaths a year are related to hunger. Crippling and killing infectious diseases strike down those weakened by a constantly poor diet from the day they were bom. How can this About 118.7 million tons of protein are produced yearly throughout the according to John A. director of agricultural sciences for The Rockefeller Foundation. this should be enough for the present world population. But with the world's skyrocketing even this theoretical suf- ficiency is fast disappearing. The world is on the brink of a protein crisis. The rude fact is that as developing countries pull themselves up by their sandal the rich get richer and the poor get poorer as the lyric originally get Pino explains that as income rises in the relatively affluent sectors of the population in such countries as In- dia. Peru and some African the gross increase in consump- tion of milk and other animal proteins masks a backlast effect on the who suffer most from malnutrition. For as middle and upper in- come groups demand f poultry or more acreage is planted in animal feed grains cutting down the supply of human food grains and raising their prices. Even at an optimistic rate of 2 per cent annual increase in it would take 100 years for those in the less than group to afford enough animal protein just to meet their minimum needs. The Pino is to im- prove the quality of cereal grains which are the staple for the world's poor. The Green Revolution which led to the planting of high yielding wheat varieties in part of India and Pino was thought by many to be the hungry world's manna. It was merely a seed for other world food experts now admit. Pino believes the key to righting the protein imbalance rests with improving the cereals and introducing more legume fava cow peas for lowland pidgeon soybeans a most complete the chick pea to combine with the rice or wheat now eaten. Pino's with Indians in Mexico has been.that is it best not to change the look or taste of food which they are accustomed to eating. Adding lysine to com genetically raises its pro- tein quality without changing its look. In underdeveloped he con- changing the cereal com- improving yield per acre and improving quality of legumes must also be done so that it does not require that the already poor native buy something extra. Taboos or traditions also block many well-meaning efforts to change eating patterns of the impoverished and un- educated. For in most hurting nations the male adult gets the most and highest quality food because he is the then comes pregnant and lactating women and at the end of the food line are the children under 5 who need the largest amounts of protein. In India beef still remains Moslems eat no in Africa some tribes frown upon women eating eggs.