World Hunger- A Major Unattended Issue
For most people, hunger can be defined as the grumbling sound of the stomach that indicates the need to fill their bellies. However, for millions of people worldwide, it is the physical and psychological distress that creates a sense of euphoria in their guts cause by the lack of nutritional and economic resources. The simple definition of hunger can be scarcity of food in a country.
Few causes of hunger
Poverty: Poverty is the major cause of any crisis so it should not be a surprise if it makes the top list of world hunger problem as well. Poverty and hunger go hand in hand. Those living in poverty often face hunger, as they cannot afford nutritious food for themselves and their families.
Food shortages: An estimated 124 million people in 51 countries are currently facing Crisis food insecurity or worse. The number of children and women in need of nutritional support increased between 2016 and 2017, mainly in areas affected by conflict or insecurity such as Somalia, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen and northern Nigeria. Some of these countries have also experienced severe outbreaks of cholera, exacerbating levels of acute malnutrition. United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has predicted that the world’s population will reach 9.1 billion by 2050 and 70% more food needs to be produced to feed these people. Roughly, one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tones — gets lost or wasted. Food losses and waste amounts to roughly US$ 680 billion in industrialized countries and US$ 310 billion in developing countries. The statistics is frightening and eye opening.
Poor nutrition: It is very important to know that when it comes to hunger, it is not just about access to food but also access to appropriate nutrients. Many people are able to afford basic food, but that does not necessarily mean that they are able to meet the daily nutritional requirements of human body. Poor families rely on just one or two staple foods such as corn or wheat that means they are not getting enough of critical macronutrients as well as vitamins. An estimated 15% of all the births in developing countries result in incidents of low-birth weight babies. Thus, poor nutrition is one of the major factors contributing in the increase of this monster called hunger.
Economy: While talking about world hunger, one cannot forget to mention the declining economy of various countries that is also the major cause of world hunger. Much like the poverty-hunger cycle, nutritional resilience at a national level is tied to a country’s economic resilience. For example, Liberia‘s overall economic troubles deepened after the Ebola outbreak in 2014, and now more than 15% of the country’s families don’t know where their next meal will come from. Working towards economic stability is crucial to addressing other issues.
Other causes can be Gender Inequality, War and Conflict to name a few.
After knowing the ‘why’ and ‘what’ of a problem, one should be able to answer the ‘how’ of it as well. It is not easy to fight such a huge problem but at least we can begin today by making a few changes.
Solutions or more like efforts that need to be done to implement the said “solutions”
We do not need more corn and soybeans, which have become part of the ethanol focus to be energy efficient, and for feeding livestock, but we do need to produce food to eat rather than industrial commodities.
“Technology could be a key to ending food scarcity”, said Charlie Arnot, CEO of the Center for Food Integrity, a nonprofit group with business members including ConAgra and DuPont.
"We should be using more genetically modified crops that would produce stronger and sturdier crops," Arnot said. "We need to move food from where it is to where it isn't and that means investing in agriculture development using the best technologies we have," Arnot added.
The more localization of food growing can also help in fighting the local hunger problems on a small scale. Food shortage solutions includes taming the investing markets.
Other solutions include access to credit, sustainable food and proper education. Moreover, food donations, social change and government intervention can be considered the major swords in fighting against World Hunger.