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Although enough food is being produced today for nobody to have to go hungry, about 840 million people are chronically undernourished, around 185 million pre-school children are seriously underweight for their age, and illnesses resulting from, or exacerbated by, hunger and malnutrition are widespread (FAO, 1996a). As the world's population will also increase by an expected 80 million people every year over the next quarter-century (UN, 1996), attaining food security will be the central global challenge. Will there be enough food to meet the needs of current and future generations? And even if enough food is available, will all people have access to sufficient amounts to lead healthy and productive lives? Can, and will, global food security be attained or will food surpluses continue to coexist with widespread hunger and malnutrition, further destabilizing and polarizing the world? What will it take to ensure a world of food-secure people? Following a brief discussion of food security concepts and an assessment of the current food security situation, this paper examines the major challenges to realizing a food-secure world, considers the prospects for global food security with special attention to whether Malthusian predictions may come true for sub-Saharan Africa and identifies key actions required to ensure global food security.


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