What Causes Food Scarcity?

Concentrated overpopulation can cause scarce food sources in areas.
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  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 11 April 2014
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Food scarcity refers to a situation where there is a disparity between the aggregate food needs of the world population in comparison to the actual output or production of food. Despite the advent of globalization, which has made movement and transportation of people, goods and materials easier, there is still a mismatch between the world food needs and the supply of food items to fill those needs. Some of the issues fueling food scarcity or facilitating the same include factors like the placement of a huge burden on the land and other resources due to an explosion on world population, wars and the resultant lack of stability, inefficient or underdeveloped infrastructure, and lack of transportation. The lack of adequate technology to efficiently utilize the land resources is also a contributing factor.

One of the factors that contributes to world food scarcity is the increase in the world population, which serves as a source of huge burden to the limited resources on the planet. Since the resources on earth are constant in comparison to the more variable nature of population growth, a rapid growth in the direction of human population will tilt the scale of the harmonious relation between nature and man unfavorably. This is due to the fact that the food resources will have a longer way to go in terms of satisfying human demands, leading to food shortages.


Wars and instability in communities and governments have a negative effect on the availability of food. This is partly due to the fact that the resultant lack of stability and security often interrupts normal activities, including agricultural endeavors, leading to food scarcity. It also leads to the wanton destruction of property, including crops and farmlands. Even when other communities and countries that are not a part of the conflict are willing to send food to the battle-stricken communities, they may not be able to send food to the communities that need them due to the fighting by different warring factions.

Lack of infrastructure is also a cause of food scarcity, because a poor framework of infrastructure like roads and transportation affect the availability of food, especially perishable food. This is especially pertinent with the realization that most farms and agricultural resources are located in the hinterlands or rural areas, away from the big cities. Where the roads are really bad, or the transportation network is very poor, such food items will not get to the places they are needed on time, leading to a lot of food spoilages and waste.


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