I have been working this week on hunger conditions around the world to use for publicity for a Hunger Sunday at church. There are huge quantities of data out there, but somehow they rarely answer the questions I ask.

Along the way I found some interesting facts about food crops. Do you know what the fourth largest – and number one non-grain product – is?  Potatoes.  Do you know which country is the largest potato producer in the world?  China.

I was interested in the basic grains, because I was trying to figure out who, where, eats how much of what. The top three crops are 3. rice, 2. wheat, 1. corn.

One can grow more rice than wheat per acre, but it takes a lot of water. Rice is the source of 20% (1/5th) of all calories consumed by humans. We can guess that a lot of this is in Asia, but don’t forget the popularity of rice and beans in Latin America!

Another stray fact from another source: Cambodians eat a lot of wheat bread along with their rice. It’s the influence of the French who once controlled the country.

Wheat in the Field

Wheat in the Field

Wheat is the leading source of vegetable protein for humans worldwide. It also takes up a lot of space – more than corn – partly because it can be grown in colder, drier places.

Corn is a staple food for the majority of sub-Saharan Africa. It is also, as we know, feeding cars as well as humans.  My source, being about the business side of crops, not the hunger issues, did not consider this a problem.

Even with the cars taking a share of the corn, there is enough food in the world to feed everyone; the problem is distribution. Finding out the end result – who gets how much of what to eat – has proven difficult.

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/10-crops-that-feed-the-world-2011-9?op=1#ixzz3G5Lbl1wx