MAY 3, 1954
NEW YORK—The world food problem is discussed in an interesting article I have been reading in the technical journal published by a group of British industries called the Bush group. The foreword to the article is written by Lord Boyd Orr, who was at one time head of FAO for the U.N. and who has always been deeply concerned about this problem.
"It is estimated," writes Lord Orr, "that to provide sufficient food for the health of the rapidly increasing world population, the world food supply would need to be doubled within the next 25 years."
To do this, vast quantities of industrial products are needed for flood control and for irrigation schemes like the TVA in the United States; for the reclamation of fertile land destroyed by soil erosion; for all kinds of agricultural equipment, and for road and rail transport.
By applying industry to this great end, social unrest in the hunger-ridden countries—which is a threat to world peace—could be allayed, and the resulting rapidly-expanding world economy could provide a market to absorb the products of the highly industrialized countries and to keep the wheels of industry turning with economic prosperity and full employment.
In the article on "The International Approach to the World Food Problem," by Doris E. Baum, group intelligence officer, there are some rather significant figures on world food production. The League of Nations made a survey in the 1930's which proved that approximately half the people in the world were hungry. The U.N. survey shows that in 1960 we will have to produce 19 percent more food than was produced in 1946 if we are merely to preserve the situation shown by a 1946 survey. At that time it was found that the total population of the world had increased by 14 percent, but that two-thirds of the people of the world were hungry.
American people on an average consume 3,160 calories a day. In 1951 and 1952, the average daily food supplies in Pakistan were 1,970 and in India, 1,620. The National Research council of America recommends that a physically active man weighing 154 pounds requires about 3,000 calories a day, and even an eight-year old child needs 2,000. This makes rather serious reading.
The U.N. is doing a major part of the work for improving the world food supply through FAO and technical assistance. But it will require understanding and cooperation both in production and in distribution everywhere to meet the needs of the people.