Q. How can we remove the causes of hunger in the world today?
At the end of World War II public officials and scientists from all over the world predicted that, with advances in modern technology, it would be possible by the end of the century to end poverty, famine, and endemic hunger in the world. Today these optimistic projections have been replaced by hopelessness and resignation as perhaps one-fifth of the world’s peoples live in absolute poverty with incomes of less than $700 a year. The United Nations estimates that around 830 million people in the world do not have adequate access to food. An estimated 24,000 people die from hunger or hunger related causes, three-fourths of which are children under the age of five. Moreover, hunger exists not only in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, but also in the richest nation on earth. Thirty-six million Americans do not have enough to eat, and the number is growing.
In order to discuss eradication of hunger, we need firstly to identify some true causes. The immediate cause being improper food management; over population, lack of purchasing power, ignorance and unemployment are the issues that worsen the problem.
Lot of people in this world is hungry because some people misuse and waste the worlds abundantly available food resources. The first and an obvious solution to the problem therefore is to stop this, and to distribute them among the starving population.
World production of grain alone is over 1.5 billion tons, enough to sustain the entire world population with two pounds a day. This grain combined the current production of other foods such as meat, fruits, vegetables, and nuts is enough to provide each adult and child on earth 3000 calories a day. Sadly much of these produce is wasted each year. In the US and Europe alone, farmers burn large amounts of excess crops and kill animals to raise the price of the produce, while it would have been a lot cheaper to sell the produce in cheaper price and make profit in quantities.
Food exploitation due to corruption is another major cause of hunger, especially in the developing countries. Around three-quarters of the developing countries that report child malnutrition are busy exporting food to the developed countries. For example, during the much-publicized famine in the1980s, Ethiopia was exporting green beans to Europe. In the year 1999, the Indian government had 10 million tons of surplus food grains, which increased to 60 million by the year 2000. Most of the produce was left in the granaries to rot in the hope of being exported. It also stopped buying grain from its own farmers, leaving them destitute. The farmers, who had gone into debt to purchase expensive chemical fertilizers and pesticides on the advice of the government, were now forced to burn their crops in their fields. The wasted food would have been enough to feed entire starving population of India, which is about a third of 830 million worldwide.
Other causes of hunger, such as poverty and over population, can be solved to some extent through education. This can be provided through opening institutions and conducting training programs in various remote regions. As majority of hungry people around the world have little or no education, this would allow them to have better job opportunities. This will also provide them with better understanding of the politics and conditions surrounding them. Through educating women about birth control methods and benefits of family planning, over population can be controlled. Education can also enable farmers to learn better farming techniques and about food conservation. Most organizations such as Save The Children, Feed The Children etc, focus on small-scale projects directed toward the third world countries. What we need is large-scale projects focusing on the global figure of starvation. We need better policies to facilitate food and fresh drinking water to starving people. Finally, we need development of small and large industries especially in remote areas, where people are unemployed.
Hunger touches each one of us because we, the taxpayers, are helping to aid it. Not only does it touch our pockets, but also it touches our conscious. How can anyone look at a starving child and not think about the food that they waste day in and day out. How can we stand by and watch people that go to work everyday like us, and probably work harder, cannot afford to feed their families. It is unfair that we live in a world where food is thrown out in the garbage rather than used to save the life of a child.