The Birth of World Food Programme

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Photo by Hanna Morris on Unsplash

For the first half of the twentieth century, the global food aid debate was governed by a paradox. In 1913, two German chemists, Fritz and Carl Bosch had successfully synthesised ammonia from nitrogen and hydrogen on an industrial level. This mass production of ammonia served as a highly utilised crop fertiliser world-wide, resulting in massive increase in global agricultural production. The world had never seen such a huge surplus of food. In the west, governments were running out of storage. The food was abundant.

At the same time, humanity had never seen so many mouths hungry. Around half of the world’s population was either undernourished or malnourished. In the poor countries, starvation was the biggest cause of death. While food was getting rotten in the warehouses of rich countries, people were dying of hunger everywhere else. …

Ankur Bedi

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