Sabina Saktaganova Staff Reporter, The Pawprint
The world produces enough food to feed all 7 billion people, but those who go hungry either do not have land to grow food or money to buy it. Poverty is the primary reason for hunger. The causes of poverty include people’s lack of resources, an extremely unequal income distribution in the world and within specific countries, and conflicts, such as wars.
Who is affected?
Hunger is often a direct consequence of environmental degradation, drought and loss of biodiversity. Around 11.3% of the world’s population is hungry. It was estimated that 821 million people were undernourished in 2017. Unfortunately, extreme hunger and malnutrition remain a huge barrier to development in many countries. In fact, nearly all of the world’s hungry population (98%) lives in developing countries: over 500 million live in Asia and the Pacific, in countries like Afghanistan and Timor-Leste, while 243 million live in sub-Saharan Africa. One person in every four still goes hungry in Africa. Undernourishment and severe food insecurity appear to be increasing in almost all regions of Africa, as well as in South America.
How does hunger affect children?
Over 90 million children under five are dangerously underweight. One in every 15 children in developing countries dies before the age of 5 as a result of hunger. When a mother lacks nutrition during pregnancy, the baby is often born undernourished, too. Every year, 17 million children are born this way due to a mother’s starving before and during pregnancy.
Economy and poverty as a cause of world hunger
In the United States and other high-income countries, hunger is mainly caused by poverty that results from a lack of jobs or because of low salaries. During an economic crisis hunger rates rise, people lose jobs and cannot find work. Once the economy improves some people continue to struggle to find work.
In order to cope with this problem, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon started the challenge called “Zero Hunger”. It is a world food program that prevents food wastage and creates a world where there is no hunger.
The Sustainable Development Goals’ mission is to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, making sure all people – especially children – have nutritious food all year. And with a growing world population, hunger and undernutrition on the rise, governments are looking for ways to deal with hunger worldwide too. This involves promoting sustainable agriculture, supporting small-scale farmers and equal access to land, technology and markets.
Some other ways to deal with the world hunger:
- Food donations
One of the simplest ways to stop the world’s hunger is to initiate food collections. Although a can of food may seem like a small step, it can make a huge difference in someone’s life.
- Access to education
Quality education is the answer to most of the world’s problems. A better education system can improve the situation with poverty and hunger, by improving people’s income.
- Urban & sustainable farming
Agricultural researchers believe that building rooftop/indoor farms in the middle of cities could help solve the world’s hunger problem. Experts say that this kind of farming could feed up to 10 billion people and make agriculture independent of the weather and need for land. Both urban and sustainable farming combine three main goals: environmental health, economic profitability and social and economic justice. Sustainability is based on the principle that farmers must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
- Government intervention
Government involvement in hunger issues can be expressed through programs that provide food to mothers and their children in poor areas. But we could only achieve this if the developed countries cared more about people in need.
- Social change
This is extremely hard and will not take place overnight. However, many social issues, such as war, promote world hunger. Ideally, hunger will stop when world powers, such as the United States and many western European nations, choose to focus on solving these issues instead of stimulating them. However, this can only start when people in developed nations begin to care about those issues as well and pressure their governments to end the conflict.
These are only some ways we can deal with world hunger. Many developing countries that used to suffer from famine and hunger can now meet the nutritional needs using these methods. Central and East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean have all made huge progress in eradicating extreme hunger. If we care more and step up, we will resolve the world hunger together and achieve this complicated goal.