Global Food Scarcity

By Gwendolyn Morgan

The scarcity of food has been brought to people's attention for many years. People in certain countries are scared that there won't be enough food to put on the table while others have too much stalked in their cupboards and refrigerators. It is said that there is enough food to go around, that everyone could have an equal share, but clearly this is not the case. There are some countries that have more than enough while others need more in order to survive. This webpage will focus on the threats of food scarcity that some countries face, if food scarcity affects Canada, and how both Canada and worldwide are helping to decrease the amount of food scarcity and hunger there is around the world.

A True Definition

What is World Hunger?

World hunger refers to the want or scarcity of food in a country. People can suffer from either malnutrition or undernutrition, which are both effects of people not having enough food. The two types of malnutrition are protein-energy malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency. The type that is referred to when speaking about world hunger and food scarcity is protein-energy malnutrition. It is specific to having a lack of protein and calories. A proper amount of calories and protein in your diet are important and essential to the body. With a lack of these essentials it could lead to growth failure. The two types of growth failure are wasting and nutritional edema. Wasting is when someone suffers rapid weight loss which in severe cases can result in death. Nutritional edema is caused by not enough protein in your diet.

Who Does this Affect?

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization estimates that in 2014-2016, there were about 795 million people in the world that were chronically undernourished. This is 1 in 9 people. 780 million of these people are said to be living in developing countries while only 11 million of these people live in developed countries. Hunger takes a big toll in southern Asia, which includes Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. These countries contain 276 million undernourished people. According to the Global Food Security Index, the country with the highest food security is none other than the United States. Canada falls at 3rd place out of 109 countries.
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The Global Food Security Index

What is the Cause?

The world has enough food to feed every single person but the problem is that there are some people that just don't have enough available income to purchase their food. Poverty is the #1 cause of world hunger. Now the causes of poverty can be many different things. They can include an unequal income distribution, a lack of resources, conflict, natural disasters, world population, climate change and potentially hunger itself. It was estimated by World Bank that in developing countries, a little over 1 billion people live on $1.25 a day or less. Most countries have plenty of resources and income, but they tend to be controlled by the ones with military, political and economic power. Those people will have more than those at the bottom who may have close to nothing. Having a large world population can make it more difficult to find a job and provide an income to meet a decent standard of living. Climate change is a reoccurring factor because changes like a drought, flooding, or any other severe weather occurrences can harm crops or shift their season. Finally, hunger can be factor in the cause of poverty because it leaves you in poor health, low levels of energy and a reduction in your mental functioning. This will impact your work performance which can lead you to be even more hungry.

Children and Food Scarcity

Undernutrition is very visible in children. In 2013, Black et al estimated that 3.1 million child deaths were caused by nutritional diseases such as, stunting, wasting, fetal growth restriction and deficiancies in vitamins. Undernutrition can give a child a higher chance and a greater affect in these diseases.


Stunting is a term used to measure children's nutritional status and it is helpful in indicating the amount of malnutrition in a given country. It is a slow process and is caused by a low intake of nutrients. Stunted children will look younger than their actual age but still have normal body proportions. UNICEF estimates that 39% of children are stunted in the developing world. That is a total of 209 million children. It is a shame that children are such major victims of world hunger and food scarcity.

Does Food Scarcity Affect Canadians?

Canada is a country with an agricultural abundance. Most people won't have to worry about running out of food due to a high employment rate and Canada being a developed country. Families won't have to worry about not being able to feed their children because money is not so hard to come by and there are government benefits incase it is hard to come by. However, Canadians should start to take some precaution. We have been quite carless to our resources and we have a feeling that our abundance of food will go downhill. As the Science Council of Canada warns us, we don't understand that we only use 10% of Canada's total land and the land that was good to use for crops such as Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec were destroyed. Also our food prices here in Canada are currently at record lows but we are expected to see an increase. Competitions between different brands make prices low, however that puts pressure on farms and farmers which might not be able to continue because there will be a point where it will be too much. So even though Canada seems to be doing very well, it is expected that it will fall.
Canadian Children Talk About World Hunger - Child Hunger & World Vision
Watch from 0:38 - 1:38 to see Canadian kids talk about their perspective on what its like to be hungry.

Canada's Efforts to Stop Food Scarcity

Canada has done quite a bit to help people in developing countries have clean water and a bigger food supply but we obviously can't get to everyone. We have raised money and spread awareness about the issue to the public and its touched a few people but not enough. Food scarcity is a big issue that affects the lives of millions and it is not fair that we have so much and they have so little when food should be distributed equally considering that there is statistically enough to go around. Canada need to spread a louder message to the public. We need to speak about how no food can affect the quality of life for people in developing countries and how it is essential for their survival. The scarcity of food is affecting the health of many and resulting in millions of deaths because we are taking their food. We should also focus on agriculture and sending what we have to developing countries. There could be some serious conditions when certain countries are not able to grow their own food, but if we put emphasis on this issue, they could have more. So although Canada has done some things, there is always room for improvement.

To Conclude...

So as you can see, food scarcity is quite a big problem and affects a big portion of people today. Even though we do not recognize it ourselves, there are people at this very second who are starving due to a poor distribution of food and a poor place to live. We need to speak out about this issue so every person in the world can get a fair chance to live.
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