Grain Yields Rise, But No Respite for the Hungry
In 2004, global grain production broke 2 billion tons for the first time in history, marking a 9-percent increase from the 2003 level. Also in 2004, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the number of hungry people around the world increased for the first time since 1970. Starvation now kills more than 5 million children each year.
The biggest factor behind this record grain production in 2004 was an increase in average yields: with the same amount of hectares for planting, farmers were able to harvest more crops. However, most people go hungry not because of a global food shortage but because they are too poor to buy food or to obtain the land, water, and other resources needed to produce it.
"Grain Harvest and Hunger Both Grow," in Vital Signs 2005, pp. 22-23
UN Food and Agriculture Association, http://www.fao.org/