The world food situation and global grain prospects

Science  04 Dec 1981:
Vol. 214, Issue 4525, pp. 1087-1095
DOI: 10.1126/science.7302579


The basic realities of the distribution of the world's population, wealth, and agricultural production base are not conducive to an automatic stabilizing process for the world's hungry. Increasing volatility in the world grain production in the 1980's could create a problem of major proportions. By 1990, the developed world will account for 24 percent of the world's population, 85 percent of the world's economic activity, and around 50 percent of the world's grain production and consumption. On a per capita basis, the developed world will consume nearly three times as much grain as the developing countries which account for three-fourths of the world's population. Increased food aid, which is essential, is not the solution to the basic problem. The low-income countries need a massive infusion of capital investment, research support, and education if they are to build infrastructures that have the capacity to produce, distribute, and market food supplies. Other options serve only to prolong and aggravate the current disparities.