Every human being has the right to freedom from hunger, that is the right to a nutritionally adequate and safe diet and is based on the human right to dignity as a person. This right to food implies a right to certain means of producing/acquiring food.
Putting an end to hunger and poverty, both present and future, is an old promise of the international community which was made after the Second World War. That promise has never been kept, nor has any serious effort ever really been made to keep it. The wealthy Powers preferred to embark on an insane and increasingly expensive arms race which geared their economies to military objectives and diverted funds from aid that could have helped the developing countries. It has been said that, if the arms-producing countries withheld 5 per cent of their military expenses and paid those funds out to the needy countries and peoples, the latter would be able to undertake, and probably to succeed in, launching their economic development, as long as the current economic order becomes fairer and more equitable, of course. Famine is rife in many countries and is now affecting people who were previously believed to be safe from it. Food shortages, compounded by burgeoning growth in world population, make the realization of the right to adequate food daily more remote.
The pollution resulting from industrialization and the use of certain substances is leading to the destruction of all forms of animal and plant life and consequently of all sources of food. The reckless deforestation of some areas of the third world, which has not been accompanied by any reafforestation, has worsened the situation and has caused the desertification of arable land. The right to adequate food is not simply a matter of the abundance of food, but also of its quality. The struggle against the widespread increase in malnutrition among vulnerable groups is one way of working towards the realization of the right to adequate food. The rising costs of food, declining food security, lower production costs and cutbacks in public subsidies on basic foodstuffs are also obstacles to the realization of the right to adequate food. Nowadays, many families spend most if not all of their income on food.
The lack of sufficient food is related to food production, distribution and income levels. Advances in food production methods have made it possible for vast regions to produce sufficient food for their populations yet they still go hungry. In 11997, over 50 million children in South Asia are undernourished, despite the regions food surplus. Some 25 million children in Latin America are inadequately feed even though their region has become, after the USA the world's major food exporter. In these situations millions of people do not have the income to buy food, the means to grow it or the goods to exchange for it.