We can blame the decadent West – always a ready target and, at least in this instance, a valid one. While hundreds of millions face hunger, the biggest health problem in North America is obesity. While millions could be fed with the agricultural capacity going into agrofuel development, western governments subsidize and promote ethanol from food crops.
How about we look in the mirror? Many North Americans eat meat every single day. If we cut our meat consumption by a couple of meals a week, we could have an impact on the situation. Meat, generally, requires seven times the energy/grain/protein/calorie inputs as are outputted; i.e. it takes seven kg of grain to produce 1 kg of beef. Over 60% of all the corn grown in the US goes into beef and pork production. When we give up a meat meal, we are freeing up seven times what we are sacrificing; if, indeed, eating a healthier, more vegetarian diet is any sort of sacrifice at all.
Only by changing the export-led, free-trade based, industrial agriculture model of large farms can the downward spiral of poverty, low wages, rural-urban migration, hunger and environmental degradation be halted. Social rural movements embrace the concept of food sovereignty as an alternative to the neo-liberal approach that puts its faith in inequitable international trade to solve the world's food problem. Instead, food sovereignty focuses on local autonomy, local markets, local production-consumption cycles, energy and technological sovereignty and farmer to farmer networks.
(The published photo is a scan and remake of the analogic original taken in Burkina-Faso in the '80 during an enquire about food security and self-sufficiency in sub-Sahelian countries.
See also my book: Pieroni, Osvaldo, 1990. Le Paysan, le Sorgho et l’Argent. CILSS, Assistence Technique,. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. )