National Geographic : 1975 Jul
schools, then the father cannot hire them out to a neighboring farmer to earn 50 piastres a day. They become an expense instead of an asset, a fact families quickly catch on to." While population growth still accounts for the major part of rising food demand, a rave nous new rival has emerged: affluence, re flected by the industrial world's consumption of meat. This glorification of steak and ham burger now extends from North America across Europe and the U.S.S.R. to Japan. As a result, one pound of grain in three goes into animal feed. "The livestock of the rich world," claims Dr. Georg Borgstrom of Michigan State University, "is in direct competition with the humans of the poor world." Malnutrition Knows No Borders Malnourishment caused by calorie defi ciencies and by too little protein and other nutrients afflicts an estimated 400 million to 1.5 billion of the world's poor. Even in the affluent U. S., poverty spells undernourish ment for an estimated ten to twenty million. Mother of an instant herd, this Charolais in one year produced the ten calves milling behind Canadian David Dyrholm, whose firm transplants embryos from prize cows Hardest hit are children, whose growing bodies demand 21/2 times more protein, pound for pound, than those of adults. Nutrition ex perts estimate that 70 percent of the children in low-income countries are affected. In Colombia, where one can find a cross section of the food problems besetting much of Latin America, nutrition-related diseases claim two of every five children who die be fore the age of 6. At a hospital in Bogota, I saw rows of cribs holding pathetically shrunk en figures, each 35 or 40 percent under nor mal size, suffering from edema and pellagra, and blotched with body sores. These were victims of chronic malnutrition. To stem the scourge, the government was launching an energetic nutrition campaign in cooperation with CARE, whose workers fight hunger around the world. In the town of Leiva, I found 32 Peace Corps members meeting and comparing notes on their struggle with the phantom killer. "Because the average campesino is poor and doesn't understand nutrition," said into proxy mothers. The result: A superior cow, normally limited to one calf a year, can produce a host of genetically desirable off spring, thus quickly upgrading herds.