The rapid global population increase is feeding the issue of hunger in third world and developing countries. The effects of uncontrolled population particularly in counties where food supply is less than sufficient, hunger emerges as an alarming sign of poverty. This situation is evident in countries such as Bangladesh where poverty is everywhere. Mohammad Yunus (1999), founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh tells story of a woman named Ammajan Amina whose life experiences depict a life in poverty.
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Amina is widow and mother of six children. Four of her children died either of hunger or disease. The fact that their family’s living condition and livelihood is not sufficient to feed such number of children and considering that her husband was quite ill. Whatever resources they have were eventually spent on her husband’s medication instead of providing sustenance for the entire family. If a family such as Amina’s is not earning enough for basic necessities such as food and the fact that there is someone sick in the family in this case her husband, the situation generally transcends into a picture of poorness. Having that her husband is sick and the number of mouths to feed is too much, the impact is devastating for the family. No food means lack of nutrition, which eventually impacts the quality of health making them vulnerable to diseases and the result would be death and that’s what happened to four of Amina’s children.
Amina also experienced another death in the family in which her older child died when her house collapsed because the rains destroyed her mud walls and the fact that her tin roof was unwillingly sold by her brother-in-law. That event made her and her surviving children’s living condition even worse. They suffered cold and hunger because Amina herself have not earned income in her life and her lack of education hindered their utmost survival from the situation. A person such as Amina with no earning power and education is one of the many individuals that are likely to be poor because their capability for sustainability is very limited. Amina’s situation led her to beg in nearby towns, which for a normal person is quite a desperate move for survival.
Given the fact that Amina has no education, making her a none-skilled individual and her lack of work experience limits her opportunities. The possibilities of individuals and families like hers to live in a very poor condition is obviously high. Having no capability to make money is a huge problem, which leads to having no means for sustenance and eventually leads to hunger. Situations like that of Amina is evident in many large, but poor families around the world. One of the main causes of hunger is mainly the number of people that needs to be fed with little food. Population expert Lester Brown, mentioned that the rapid population growth have resulted to environmental degradation thus, impacting the ratio of food production versus consumption.
According to Brown, from 1970 up to today the rate of population growth is between 2 to 1. 5 percent annually, which is equivalent to 74 million people added to the population every year from today’s 6. 3 billion (NOVA, 2004). The 74 million people adding up to the population every year is like creating two new countries yearly. This number will be equivalent to three billion people by the end of 2050 and that requires a monumental task of feeding such number of people. This rate of population growth according to Brown is not a recipe for economic stability and progress. Considering the number of people of occupying the land has resulting effects of croplands to shrink, which will even bring down food production.
Water supply would also become a problem because large population requires sufficient amount of water for sustainable living and hygiene. Logically, the more people there are, the higher the demand for food and water, but the problem starts when water and food is already scars at the beginning and such scarcity coupled with high population demand is a brewing recipe for poverty and hunger. Apparently, Brown only presented the facts and possible consequences of continuous population growth as it relates to hunger, but no definite suggested solution.
The issue of hunger and poverty is very real particularly in countries ranked by the United Nation’s World Food Program. The Democratic Republic of Congo is ranked number one in the world with the most number of mortalitiy’s in relation to starvation and undernourishment. There are about 70 miliion people in Congo and 75% of the population is suffering food shortage and malnourishment. One of the reason is that the country is ravaged by civil war and food production is undermined by the political turmoil reducing their per capita GDP of only $342 annually. WFP’s Global Hunger Index listed the country on their top priority according to their 2012 report wherein 1 out of 5 children is malnourished and 6 out of 11 provinces doesn’t have adequate food supply (World Food Program, 2012). The food displacement is DRC is also a result of lack of physical safety from armed groups that regularly disrupt communities with their normal agricultural activities.
Brown, Lester. ” The Global Population Conundrum.” NOVA. Pbs. org, 20 Apr. 2004. Web. 1 July 2012.
World Food Program. ” Overview: Democratic Republic of Congo.” World Food Program. wfp. org, 2012. Web. 1 July 2012.
Yunus, Mohammad , and . ” A Pilot Chapter is Born.” Banker To The Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty. New York, USA: Public Affairs, 1999. 81-82. Print.