One of the first things I do online is check on world news, I don’t know why, but it is an integral part of my daily routine which started early on in life when I scoured the Newspaper from front to back. These days News papers are easier to find online so as usual I log on to the BBC website and see this title Global Hunger “Unacceptably High” UN report says… As I read the report I was thinking why would any number of fellow humans going without food be acceptable? I believe that it is our responsibility to make sure no child dies of hunger in today’s world.
The reality according to FAO reports is that Globally there are 925 million undernourished people in the world this year, which is lower than the 1.02 Billion in 2009. But the fight to reduce hunger could be an uphill one if the food prices continue to rise.
- Over 1 billion people across the globe go hungry every day, despite the fact that there is more than enough food in the world to feed everyone.
- Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes – one child every five seconds.
- One in five people in developing countries is chronically undernourished.
- Food prices have increased 83% in the last two years.
- 22 countries have enshrined the right to food in their constitutions.
- Hunger is not caused by nature, it’s a political choice!
- Hunger results from the unequal distribution of food, and the lack of access to and control over resources.
- Climate change is already having a devastating impact on hungry people – Floods, droughts and other consequences of global warming are destroying poor people’s lives.
- Global food prices have increased by 83 percent in the last 2 years (wheat has gone up 181 percent).
- Almost half the increase in the consumption of major fuel crops in 2007 was related to biofuels.
- In most parts of the Congo and Africa the only food available to the common people is Cassava root which has almost no nutrients to talk about.
Action Aid estimates that Hunger costs developing countries $450Billion a year. Reports say 90% of these costs are from the lost in productivity as a result of malnutrition and the other 10% is due to the higher health care costs.
Action aid believes this would be more than 19 times the funding needed to half hunger by 2015; One of the 8 United Nations Millennium development goals intended to reduce poverty and improve lives by 2015.
With the floods Natural calamities and climate change happening world over there is already talk about higher wheat prices and lesser availability of wheat. Higher grain prices also push the price of meat and dairy products up as cost of feeding livestock increases. There have already been bread riots in Mozambique this year and Russia one of the major producers of wheat worldwide has been hit by severe drought resulting in an export ban till end of this year.
The numbers of under nourished people is still higher than before the economic downturn of 2008-09.
ActionAid’s CEO Joanna Kerr said:
“Fighting hunger now will be ten times cheaper than ignoring it. Every year reduced worker productivity, poor health and lost education costs poor countries billions.
“And the cost is not just financial. If governments don’t act now over a million more children could die by 2015 and half of Africa won’t have enough food in ten years.
“Recent food riots are a sharp reminder that poor countries cannot rely on unstable global food markets. Investing in local farms where the world’s hungry live is the best way to avert another food crisis.”
There needs to be a huge increase in support to small scale farmers in poor countries, where the majority of poor people’s food is grown.
There needs to be a coordinated effort to support to social welfare measures so that farming communities can be protected from bad harvests or increases in food prices.
Community programs to encourage and help farmers and farming communities like – public works employment, cash transfers, food rations, and free school meals.
The governments world over need to get together to tackle climate change and stop practices that undermine reducing hunger, such as the cultivation of biofuels for export on fertile farm land. Produced food needs to be distributed so that it reaches people in the poorest areas.
Food security is the opposite of hunger and is defined as having four components: food availability, food access, food utilization, and stability of all these.
Governments need to enact and enforce laws that guarantee all women the right to own land.
You can check out the Action Aid Score card HERE
Action Aid Website here
1Billion Hungry.org here