Stopping population growth critical to ending hunger
This year, World Food Day (October 16) calls for action to make healthy and sustainable diets
affordable and accessible to everyone. If this is to be achieved, population growth must be slowed
and even reversed, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).
Sandra Kanck, SPA national president, says more than 80 million people in the world go hungry,
thousands of whom die every year, and even more are malnourished.
“If all people, particularly growing children, are to have healthy diets, then it helps if there are not
ever more mouths to feed. Unfortunately, global population still grows by more than 80 million
annually,” says Ms Kanck.
“It will become harder to produce nutritious food for everyone in the future with, for instance, soil
erosion and falling water tables. The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) warns that climate
change threatens to reduce not just the quantity of food by lowering yields but also the quality or
Last week, the former head of the Australian Defence Forces, Admiral Chris Barrie, warned that the
melting of Himalayan glaciers, which will shrink by at least a third if temperatures rise by 1.5 o C,
would create a very high risk that irrigation water would not be available for hundreds of millions of
“With the lack of fresh water will also go a lack of food,” said Admiral Barrie.
SPA calls for an increase in foreign aid, particularly for family planning, to help countries stabilise
“Stabilising their populations will help stall looming problems of food security,” says Ms Kanck. “If
they do not have to worry about always increasing the quantity of food for ever more mouths, they
can work on improving quality.”