Food crisis: dilemmas in developing countries

Abdelrahman, Musa
Major Professor
Willis J. Goudy
Committee Member
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For more than three decades, food shortages have created serious difficulties throughout the world. Developing countries in particular face the devastating effects of this brutal problem. Although there is agreement that a problem exists, controversy abounds on what causes food shortages in developing countries. For some, the developing countries are responsible because their beliefs and socioeconomic institutions create obstacles to development. Others blame the developed countries for extracting natural resources from poor countries and placing other obstacles in the way of development. This study applies two widely used theories--modernization and dependency--to issues of food shortages. Internal and external factors related to food shortages are examined in 89 developing countries. Of the eight independent variables in the study--number of tractors, gross national product, population growth, political stability, physical quality of life, external capital, colonization, and external debt--only the first two are related to calorie intake, however;Findings support modernization theory; the most important factors creating food shortages in developing countries are internal--number of tractors and gross national product per capita. Potential external factors have no strong relationships with food shortages in developing countries. However, in solving food shortages in developing countries the two factors--internal and external--should be considered;Policy makers in developing countries should take practical steps to speed up this transitional stage to preconditions for the take-off stage. Local governments are encouraged to focus their attention on promoting the rural economy to lessen the effects of poverty in these areas. Rich countries are expected to help poor ones to reform their local institutions to meet the challenge of development. Finally, extension and research services are needed, with the help of local indigenous knowledge systems, to modernize farming systems in developing countries. Research is also needed on the effects of other internal factors such as population growth and poverty.