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FOOD SUPPLY, FOOD SHORTAGES

tries on four continents, including Europe (FAO/ GIEWS, 2000). One of the factors that adversely affects real food supply per capita in many countries is the uti- lization of cereals as animal feed, which in 1999 amounted to 35.1 percent of total world cereal stocks (Faostat, World Food Balance Sheet, May 2002). Unless local small-scale production for self-consumption is protected and encouraged, continuous and adequate access to food cannot be guaranteed for the rural populations of the world. With rural-urban migration on the rise almost everywhere, the majority of populations in the world will soon be concentrated in cities, contributing to the ex- pansion of already impoverished slums.

A series of fundamental changes in global trade and the international financial system is in order if food se- curity for all is ever to be attained. In this regard, the ef- forts of civil organizations fighting for fair trade and a more egalitarian world society are crucial.

See also Food Supply, Food Shortages; Political Economy.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Drèze, Jean, Amartya Kumar Sen, and Athar Hussain, eds. The

Political Economy of Hunger: Selected Essays. Oxford: Claren-

don, 1995.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. “Current Agricultural Situation: Facts and Figures.” In The

State of Food and Agriculture 2000. Rome: Food and Agri-

culture Organization of the United Nations, 2000. Online document report available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/ x4400e/, May 2002.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and GIEWS [Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture of the FAO]. “Countries Facing Exceptional Food Emergencies.” Food Crops and Short- ages 2, April 2002, p. 2. Food and Agriculture Organiza- tion of the United Nations. Online publication available at http://www.fao.org/WAICENT/faoinfo/economic/giews, May 2002.

Harris, Marvin. Cannibals and Kings: The Origins of Cultures. New

York: Random House, 1977.

Korten, David. When Corporations Rule the World. West Hart-

ford, Conn.: Kumarian, and San Francisco: Berrett- Koehler, 1995.

Mittal, Anuradha. “New Arms, New Wars: Food Security in the

New World Order.” In Bangkok: Focus on the Global South.

Online document available at http://www.focusweb.org, May 2002.

Moore Lappé, Frances, Joseph Collins, and Peter Rosset, with Luis Esparza. World Hunger: 12 Myths. 2d ed., fully revised and updated. London: Earthscan, 1998.

Murphy, Sophia. “Managing the Invisible Hand: Markets, Farmers, and International Trade.” Institute for Agricul- ture and Trade Policy. Online report available at http:// www.wtowatch.org/library, 23 April 2002.

Sen, Amartya Kumar. Hunger in the Contemporary World. Lon-

don: Development Economics Research Programme/Sun- tory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines/London School of Economics, 1997.

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FOOD AND CULTURE

Sen, Amartya Kumar. Hunger and Entitlements: Research for Ac-

tion. Forssa, Finland: World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University, 1987.

Shiva, Vandana. Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food

Supply. Cambridge, Mass.: South End Press, 2000.

Luis L. Esparza Serra

FOOD SUPPLY, FOOD SHORTAGES. A na-

tion’s food supply is determined by composition and se- lection. The components of a food supply are limited by a number of factors, primarily climate and geography. The U.S. food supply is noticeably different from that of other nations as the twenty-first century begins. Ameri- cans are more likely to recognize food products than the specific ingredients in the seemingly endless array of products on supermarket shelves (some supermarkets stock over forty thousand different items). Fast-food out- lets—a McDonald’s, Taco Bell, or a Subway sandwich shop—are more recognizable than a steer, hog, chicken, or a bushel of wheat. Most such foods are slaughtered, processed, manufactured, and packaged; few are sold in bulk, as was common before World War II. Nearly all foods are shipped from distant places on pallets or in large containers, transported to huge warehouse storage facil- ities or to freezers close to cities, and trucked from there to be unpacked and displayed on supermarket shelves or served in fast-food outlets.

The United States enjoys a temperate climate espe- cially hospitable to agriculture that supports the produc- tion of a wide variety of grains, fruits, and vegetables as well as milk, meat, poultry, and fish. Within the U.S. landmass, soil conditions and characteristics ensure an abundance of available farm acreage, which, in turn, as- sures a profuse supply of food—so much so, in fact, that the U.S. Congress authorizes programs that pay land- owners to keep portions of their farmland lying fallow. Purchasing, storing, and maintaining food surpluses cost taxpayers more than paying farmers not to produce, mak- ing payments to idle farm acreage the cheaper alterna- tive. Income also is a significant element in the composition of the food supply.

Composition of the U.S. Food Supply

Americans are among the wealthiest populations of the world, and their wealth enables most U.S. citizens to pur- chase from abroad any food not available from U.S. agri- culture or fisheries. The United States is a magnet for the world’s food supply, drawing an endless trade cara- van of meats, pastas, spices and herbs, sauces, cheeses and other dairy products, wines and spirits, cakes and crack- ers, and fish as well as exotic and conventional fruits and vegetables, mostly fresh. While income is a means of ex- panding the selection of foods available in an indigenous food supply, income more often is a limiting factor in the

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