Peak Oil is You

Donate Bitcoins ;-) or Paypal :-)

Page added on February 24, 2017

Bookmark and Share

Famine is back

General Ideas

For the first time in six years, there is famine in the world: a real, United Nations-declared famine, with more than 30 percent of the affected population suffering acute malnutrition and more than a thousand people dying of hunger each day. And there are three more countries where famine may be declared any day now.

As you would expect, all four current and impending famines are in war zones. As you might not expect, one of the afflicted countries is not in Africa. It is war-torn Yemen, the poorest Arab country, whose 22 million people depended on imports for 90 percent of their food. With most of Yemen in rebel hands and daily air raids, the food is no longer making it in.

But the other three places are indeed African: South Sudan, Somalia and north-eastern Nigeria. The official famine is in South Sudan, where, after three years of brutal civil war, 40 percent of the population, some 5 million people, are starting to starve.

There are poor people elsewhere, but apart from North Korea in 1996, every famine of the past 40 years has been in Africa. It’s usually linked to armed conflict, of course, and most of the world’s wars are in Africa, but that just pushes the argument back one step.

Why is Africa, a continent with only one-seventh of the world’s population, home to the great majority of its wars? Only the Arab world, a much smaller region, even begins to compete, and its wars, bad as they are, almost never cause famines. Africa is a global outlier, and there must be some common factor beyond mere politics that makes it the global capital for wars and famines.

The big thing that distinguishes Africa from the rest of the planet (except, once again, the Arab world) is a rapidly growing population: the average fertility rate across the African continent is 4.6 children per woman.

That was about the average fertility rate of the whole human race in 1960, when the entire world’s population was exploding. But the global fertility rate has halved since then, while Africa’s has stayed much the same. If it remained at this level for the rest of the century, today’s 1 billion Africans would become 7 billion, and half the human race would be African in 2100.

In fact the fertility rate is forecast to fall gradually in most African countries, although some countries – Niger, Mali and Uganda, for example – will continue to have higher birth rates. But the fertility rate is falling very slowly: the forecast is that by 2045 the average African woman will be having only three children – but anything above 2.2 children per woman means the population is still growing.

The forecast of the United Nations Population Division is that Africa’s population will almost quadruple by the end of the century, while most other countries stand still or even fall in population. That means there will be 3.6 billion Africans by 2100 – a third of the human race. It also means that war and famine may be their constant companions.

It’s not that Africa has already outgrown its food supply. There is probably enough good land in Africa to feed twice the present population (though not four times as many people). Global warming is likely to damage the productivity of African agriculture quite badly in the long run, but that’s not happening yet. So why is there a famine problem now?

It’s because for the past half-century, Africa’s population has been growing as fast or faster than its economies. Most Africans therefore stay poor, and poor people, especially the rural poor, tend to have higher birth rates. And since they cannot afford to invest much in their farms, in their children’s education, or in anything else, the problems and the conflicts deepen and fester.

Africa is having famines long before there is an actual shortage of food on the continent. It’s having wars that are essentially over the division of the spoils (like in South Sudan) in economies where there is simply not enough wealth to go around. Unless it can somehow get its population growth under control, it will just go on getting worse.

19 Comments on "Famine is back"

  1. onlooker on Fri, 24th Feb 2017 4:13 pm 

    Yep, and to follow the other horseman of the apocalypse famine, pestilence, war and death

  2. Go Speed Racer on Fri, 24th Feb 2017 4:28 pm 

    Yeee hawww!
    Famine is back. I like losing weight.
    “You can’t be too rich, or too thin”.

  3. Cloggie on Fri, 24th Feb 2017 5:02 pm 

    Time for a contrarian post:

    War & famine almost always go together. How about peaceful African countries helping war torn African countries.

  4. Hubert on Fri, 24th Feb 2017 6:03 pm 

    Too many Africans breed like animals. Millions will die. No one will care. Europe is finished with migrant crisis.

  5. makati1 on Fri, 24th Feb 2017 6:15 pm 

    Hunger and starvation is NOT a recent event. It is ongoing:

    Total number of people that die every year from hunger 7,665,000

    Total number of children that die every year from hunger 1,250,000

    Percent of world population considered to be starving 26 %

    And even …

    Percent of U.S. households that are at risk of hunger 11%
    (End Food Stamps and watch it happen.)

    Famine never went away. It is, and will be, THE “growth industry” of our future. No one is immune.

  6. makati1 on Fri, 24th Feb 2017 6:19 pm 

    Hubert, a very racist remark. You might make the same claim to Catholics, Mormons and Muslims. ALL promote large families. Famine exists in many countries outside of Africa. (~26% of the world) It is also coming to YOUR country soon. Be patient.

  7. onlooker on Fri, 24th Feb 2017 6:26 pm 

    Percent of world population considered to be starving 26 %–Makati, I read about 1 billion do not get enough to eat, still an unacceptable number

  8. Go Speed Racer on Fri, 24th Feb 2017 7:09 pm 

    They can kill and eat each other.

    Send them guns. ammo,
    charcoal and BBQ sauce.

  9. makati1 on Fri, 24th Feb 2017 9:09 pm 

    Some of you may find this article interesting and even useful. I did.

    I am no stranger to sauerkraut and dill pickles. American use of this same process.

  10. Sissyfuss on Fri, 24th Feb 2017 10:03 pm 

    We need a 7 billion human dieoff to salvage any portion of the biosphere. Who’s going to volunteer. (Crickets).

  11. makati1 on Fri, 24th Feb 2017 10:24 pm 

    I know a few whom I would push to the front of the line. lol

  12. rockman on Fri, 24th Feb 2017 10:34 pm 

    “For the first time in six years, there is famine in the world”. Really???

    “Approximately 3.1 million children die from hunger each year. Poor nutrition caused nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five in 2011.” Yeah…and that’s just one sad stat from But what would they know?

    Always amazing to see some with a valid point lead off with what they know is bullsh*t just to get attention. Usually the effort is counterproductive.

  13. peakyeast on Sat, 25th Feb 2017 12:49 am 

    Hubert is the dullest knife in the drawer…

    How does he think the Americas, Australia et cetera got populated by Europeans or how Europe got filled up in the first place?

  14. Hello on Sat, 25th Feb 2017 6:15 am 

    Monkey invasion. Man, serious, them negros look like monkeys.

  15. Davy on Sat, 25th Feb 2017 6:47 am 

    “It’s not that Africa has already outgrown its food supply. There is probably enough good land in Africa to feed twice the present population (though not four times as many people). Global warming is likely to damage the productivity of African agriculture quite badly in the long run, but that’s not happening yet. So why is there a famine problem now?”

    WTF did I just read? We have famine now because our entire civilization is in overshoot to what is sustainable and real per the natural. The rich of the global world out grew their food supply it is just they hold the last of the planets finite resources. They will likely not survive long “as-is”. Africa is a canary in the coal mine for what is ahead. The statement above about enough good land to feed twice the African population is more of the same thinking that has destroyed the planet. We are nearing thresholds of collapse and the fragility of the planetary system to feed us and the fragility of our civilization to distribute vast monocultures globally is close to breaking. The real dangers of climate change is food related. Our continued growth in consumption and population is not called into question with people like this. They are doubling down on more so called sustainable development through globalism. This is just more of the same that is killing us. It is about wealth transfer of the elite in privilege while preaching hypocritical solutions to those dying around us.

    We now should be building hospices and lifeboats but we will not until it is too late. Vast populations are going to die early and without dignity because we are delusional as a civilization and continue to follow a path that is going to destroy us. We are destroyed anyway so just get used to hearing about famine and prepare for it yourself because it will likely be your reality at some point. The potential loss of industrial food system and the tools to distribute it is being ignored even though it is a potent risk factor. There is no hope with modern man but you as an individual can prepare and navigate the lies. You can’t transcend this reality but you can the insanity. You can find the wisdom to navigate around some of the dangers ahead. You can embrace the truth and seek a higher wisdom not lies and false hopium.

  16. Billy Nelson on Sat, 25th Feb 2017 8:11 am 

    In the history department at Florida a&m university, I was taught that what ever happens to black people, African Americans, Africans, or people of African descent will happen to everyone else in the next generation. I don’t see that trend changing anytime soon. Black families in the US with two parents, 25℅, white families, 50℅, Spanish families (non Puerto rican, they trend more like black people) 75℅. With no family, you have no village, no town, no city, no state, no nation. I guess one world government will save us. #hesnotfuckingupfastenough

  17. Anonymous on Sat, 25th Feb 2017 5:34 pm 

    Yes, another uS troll that thinks famines are for black people only. Historically, pretty much everyone(white or not) was often one bad harvest away from famine. What was the Irish potato famine of 1845? They were white, catholic, and over-reproduced. There white-ness didn’t help them much did it?.

    Amerika is currently gorging itself with low-quality pseudo-foods, made from raw materials stolen from over half the world. It has produced record numbers of uS lard-asses that don’t exercise, but do they do manage to crank out chronically fat kids, sometimes, right out of the womb. Even with that, hunger in the uS is more widespread than is reported, or believed even. When the current food system starts to come unglued, amerikans whiteyness wont same them either, or any else for that matter.

    Unless you happen to be rich AND white, then you’ll likely be ok regardless what else is going on.

  18. makati1 on Sat, 25th Feb 2017 6:30 pm 

    The Great Famine or the Great Hunger was a period of mass starvation, disease, and emigration in Ireland between 1845 and 1852.[1] It is sometimes referred to, mostly outside Ireland, as the Irish Potato Famine, because about two-fifths of the population was solely reliant on this cheap crop for a number of historical reasons.[2][3] During the famine, approximately one million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland,[4] causing the island’s population to fall by between 20% and 25%.[5] WIKI

  19. peakyeast on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 8:53 am 

    Interesting to see where the next “green revolution” will come from. Especially since the first one was powered by hydrocarbons.

    And what would a better distribution of already produced food do? I will tell you: It will enable the 5+ children per woman to survive and a few years later this “low hanging fruit” is eaten and gone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *