Food security is a hot button issue these days. Drought in the Midwest has caused a food shortage in the United States and, in an unpleasant display of supply and demand economics, has caused a spike in the price of food. Shortages like these are going to become evermore impactful, as the world population is projected to hit 9 billion by 2050. Agricultural production will need to increase by 50-70% in order to meet the demand of that population.
This week, Fast Co. Exist published some interesting infographics about food insecurity world-wide. The data comes from a study performed by the Economist Intelligence Unit, and includes information on both the affordability and availability, as well as the quality and safety of the food supply.
“Like other rich countries, the U.S. enjoys a calorie surplus. On average, Americans have access to 3,600 calories a day--well above the recommended 2,300. The poorest, such as Haiti and Burundi, on average have 100 calories less than minimum-- though for the very poorest, it’s worst than that. The Democratic Republic of Congo has a per-person food supply of 1,605 calories, or 43% below requirement.”
But this study is not comprehensive. Yes, the United States has access to an abundance of calories. But are they healthy calories? In a country that sports a 35% obesity rate, probably not. What this study does, however, is allow us to understand global food insecurity so that it can be dealt with. It is not overly complex - if we can see where shortages and shocks are likely, we can plan for them. Hopefully, these numbers will help to create a lasting solution to the issue of world hunger.
How the World's Countries Rank for Food Security from FastCo Exist