JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -The latest population figures show that the 7 billionth person on earth was probably born on Monday.
With the population expected to reach 10 billion by 2030 or sooner, questions arise. Where will all these people get water, shelter and especially food. Arkansas, especially Northeast Arkansas exports wheat, soybeans and rice all over the world .
According to Dr. Paul Armah an Ag Economics teacher at ASU... Providing food is not the problem.
Dr. Armah says that as a whole, the world grows plenty of food. He says that Arkansas alone exports, rice, wheat, corn, soybeans and poultry, 38 percent of it's total agricultural products to the world .
It's not just a production problem to feed the hungry. It's economic.
Armah, "How do those poor people have the resources in order to purchase the food even if the food is given to them. That is the challenge the world is facing today."
Armah, continued, "There is sufficient food on the planet to feed every one on the planet."
"Water.", Dr. Armah says, also has to be monitored closely. "Even in third world countries you see water being sold as a commodity. Water is one of the critical resources that including food we will have to take care of as the world population grows."
Armah says in spite of the need to make cheap or even free food available to third world countries can cause problems.
Armah, "It depresses their domestic prices, discourages the farmers to produce and what about the people. They become dependent on us."
Dr. Armah says we should export appropriate technology and training to 3rd world countries. Not giant John Deere tractors but things like hybrid seed and simple pumps to irrigate with.
"Teach them how they should be able to feed themselves and that should be the long term goal of our ability to feed the growing population around the world. Educate them on how to innovate. How to use these technologies to increase their food production. It's one of the cornerstones for us to be able to mitigate the world food shortage."
Armah says countries with booming populations are also quite often the worse at providing for their own people. "By encouraging and training farmers to produce. " he says, Any time they are able to produce food for themselves and sell the surplus. Their income goes up and then they will be able to buy those high end food products that we produce in Arkansas here."