According to a recent UN report, world hunger remains a major problem. According to the UN, over a billion people currently live on less than $1 dollar a day. In addition to this general poverty, recent climate changes and political instability have limited the growth of staple crops worldwide.
Unstable weather patterns crippled Russia’s wheat production last summer, driving prices up worldwide. Population increase will also play a major role in world hunger. With population estimates set to top 9 billion in fifty years, the UN estimates that current agricultural models will be unable to feed the growing population.
Finally, increasing oil and fuel prices have helped increase the cost of food and food production. Farmers worldwide, including American farmers and large-scale commercial farmers, have been hurt by rising fuel prices. Agricultural dependence on oil based fuels will, according to the UN, be unsustainable in the long term.
The recent report estimates that small-scale, renewable farming could be the key to boosting production to necessary levels. The UN report, which was supported by years of scientific study, argued that small-scale, energy renewable farms typically performed better in poorer countries. Forgoing fertilizers and chemical pesticides, typically allowed the soil to replenish more quickly and produce greater yields. In addition, sustainable and renewable energy sources help bypass increasing fuel costs.
While world hunger might not be a specifically American problem, U.S. agriculture is certainly responding to the recent agricultural challenges. Many American towns and cities have been relying on small-scale urban agriculture, and recent discussions of the 2012 Farm Bill have focused on biotechnology and renewable energy.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer