In this discussion of the nature of the world food and population problem attention is directed to the following: progress and prospects since the World Food Conference adopted a Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition in 1974; major elements of the food and population problem; the population side of the equation; how developing countries can increase food production; problems of malnutrition and the effective distribution of food; the need for increased investment in food; priority for increased food production; critical importance of international grain market stability; more effective means for meeting local food emergencies; the growing importance of food aid; and food security policies and country action programs. The 1974 World Food Conference adopted the following resolutions for safeguarding populations affected by drought and disaster from the fearful consequences of inadequate food supplies: increase food production in countries where it is most needed; broaden the effective distribution of food through measures for improving trade consumption and nutrition; and build a better system of world food security which can avoid the disruptively wide swings in food prices such as occurred so dramatically in 1972-74. The World Food Conference called on developing countries to place a higher priority on rural development and the role of the small farmers in meeting the food needs of poorer people. It called on developed countries to increase their assistance to low income countries. The progress of the last 4 years has been mixed. Good harvest for 3 successive years have contributed to the rebuilding of food stocks and a presently improved world food situation. In developing countries there has been increased investment in food production and governments have begun to focus more attention on the longterm food needs of their people. Yet the efforts thus far are still less than adequate to meet the needs. Mechanisms within the UN for emergency food relief have been strengthened. It is most unfortunate that much of the progress in the world food situation to date is the result of good weather. The world food problem has international dimensions which affect almost all countries but in the 1st instance it is a problem which primarily concerns most directly some 36-40 countries. Countries which have substantially lowered birthrates appear to be those effectively meeting the basic human needs of the broad mass of their populations for food health care (including family planning services) employment and improved roles for women. The most promising option open to low income developing countries faced with increasing food deficits is to produce much more of ther own food. It is in the basic interest of the U.S. and of other advanced industrial countries to support increased investment and a marked increase in food production in developing countries.

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