Which Crops would be most effective in Ending World Hunger?


According to the World Food Programme, only about 8% of undernourished persons in the world are in a state of famine (not enough food to survive), and the other 92% are in a state of chronic hunger (enough food to survive, but not enough for good health).

In my analysis of chronic hunger (Hunger Math, chapter 2), I conclude that the problem of world hunger is primarily due to a lack of dietary fat, secondarily due to a lack of protein, and least of all due to a lack of carbohydrate. The reason is that most hungry persons have some type of staple food, which prevents them from falling into utter famine, and that staple food is high in carbs, moderate in protein, and low in fat. Dietary fat is an essential nutrient, and it also offers a high caloric density.

The foods that would be most effective in fighting chronic hunger must provide calories, but they also must provide the macronutrients most in need by the undernourished population: first of all fat, and secondly protein.

Chufa (tigernut)

Chufa is 30% dietary fat, 5% protein, and 47% carbohydrate including 4.3% fiber.

This crop has the distinction of producing the most calories per square meter per year of any food crop in the world. It also produces more dietary fat per square meter per year than any other fat crop, including palm oil.

Chufa produces 15,113 kcal per square meter per year for a high yield (14 metric tonnes/hectare), or 11,875 kcal/m2-year for a moderate yield (11 MT/ha), or 8,636 kcal/m2-year for a low yield. Even on the low end of yields (8 MT/ha), chufa out-produces every other staple crop except pumpkin. And on the high end of yields, nothing is a close second.

And for dietary fat production, again chufa outstrips every other crop, even when we assume a low yield for chufa.

Fat Yield (kg/ha-yr) and Crop Name

10080 Chufa high yield
7920 Chufa moderate yield
5760 Chufa low yield
3954 Peanut (groundnut)
3942 Palm fruit oil + kernel oil
3248 Rapeseed oil (canola)
3237 Pumpkin seed high yield

Peanut and Palm Oil are the top most productive oil crops on the world market today. But even on the low end of yields, chufa out-produces both of those crops. And at the highest yields, chufa is twice as productive as peanut or palm oil.

More on this topic in subsequent posts.


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