General Information


Famine is defined as an extreme shortage of food that may apply to any faunal species accompanied by an increase in death rates. Deaths during famine occur not only due to malnutrition, starvation, epidemic and also from infectious diseases to which malnutrition predisposes the population and from the social ills brought about by food shortage and increased mortality.

Causes of Famine:

The general causes of famines have included natural disasters such as droughts (a drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a region receives consistently below average precipitation or rainfall) and floods, war, civil strife, and population displacement and economic failure. The immediate causes of famine are inadequate food production or market availability, price fluctuations, and limited household assets. In countries with preexisting widespread poverty, unemployment, or debt, natural and human-caused disasters are the most common causes of food shortages and famine. Nations in the Southeast Asia areas are chronically vulnerable to changes in weather.

The consequences of the famine can be physical, psychological, social, and economic. Malnutrition results from food shortage within weeks. Children fail to grow, learn in school, and both adults and children experience weight loss, lack of energy, and decrease in work ability. Malnutrition also put people at a high risk of dying from common infectious illnesses. Diseases such as measles, malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea are the most common causes of death during famine. Psychological impacts result from fear and uncertainty about having enough to eat or to feed one's family. Socially, migration is a common occurrence during periods of famine.

High Yielding Varieties:

High-yielding varieties (HYVs) are any of a group of genetically enhanced cultivars of crops such as rice, maize and wheat that have an increased growth rate, an increased percentage of usable plant parts or an increased resistance against crop diseases. Those crops formed the basis for the Green Revolution. In general, they require a higher level of agricultural care, such as intensive disease control, higher fertilizer levels and controlled water supply. While those crops have enabled the multiplication of agricultural production, their increased demands of fertilizers, pesticides and water control have drawn criticism from environmentalists.