The causes of hunger


Last update:    November 2013

The causes of hunger

The process that keeps around one billion people in a situation of food insecurity and undernourishment is complex. There are a number of factors that help to explain why certain population groups find themselves in the intolerable situation of not being able to have access to adequate food.

An analysis of the drivers of hunger can help us to understand which are the factors that influence food security from both conceptual as well as historical perspectives.

In this part, we would like to analyse the main causes of hunger largely from an historical perspective by examining  some elements of the past that have contributed to  the very high level of hunger in the world. These elements are:

  1. The colonial legacy

  2. The process that led to the implementation of what has become the dominant economic model: economic liberalism

  1. The agricultural policies implemented in countries where food insecurity is greatest and mainly hits the rural population -  in particular those policies that have led to the progressive neglect of agriculture and to diminishing support for its development.

The world is now undergoing rapid changes and so we will also try to explain the issue of the agricultural transition and its possible effects, already observed in some countries, on the incidence of hunger.

The political causes of hunger are described in our analysis of the paradox of food and agricultural policies

Materne Maetz

(September 2012)

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