Food insecurity around the world


“Those who wish for a more peaceful, just and sustainable world are helping to make ending world hunger a major priority… Together we can end hunger.”

Robert Alan Silverstein

That we, as a global community, could end world hunger is not a naïve notion. No, it is not as far-fetched as it seems, despite the daunting numbers and the amount of time, effort and resources needed to accomplish such a gargantuan task.  As with any challenge of great magnitude, the reasonable approach is (and has been) to compartmentalize the problem into smaller, more manageable components. Since the whole is equal to (not lesser than or greater than ) the sum of its parts,  each “part” (and, by extension, each of the subparts, and sub-subparts) can be (and have been) uniquely addressed.  In this instance, the “parts” refer, of course, to the continents;  the “subparts” are the countries, and “sub-subparts” are the cities, counties or communities.  If it sounds simple enough, experience has taught  us that the real bottleneck lies in the allocation and acquisition of the “time, effort and resources” required to eradicate the problem.  Just how big a problem is it?

The Numbers:

According to The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization:

  • In 2010-2012, estimated that nearly 870 million people throughout the world (that’s one in eight people) suffer from chronic undernourishment and food insecurity.
  • an estimated 852 million live in developing countries; 16 million live in developed countries.
  • Asia and Pacific region: saw a 30% decrease (from 739M to 563M) in the number of undernourished people – due to socio-economic progress. <heatherfromthegrove: I believe that these numbers may increase by next year, as the recession makes its hasty way to Asia>
  • Latin America and the Caribbean:  also saw a decrease, from 65M (1990-92) to 49M hungry (2010-2012).
  • Africa: by sharp contrast, saw a huge increase, from 175M to 239M hungry (one in four people are hungry).
  • In developed countries, the number increased from 13M (2004-6) to 16M (2010-12).

The Causes:

According to The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, there are five (5) principle causes of hunger:

  1. Poverty.
  2. Harmful/unstable economic and political systems.
  3. Conflict (the influx of refugees from unstable, conflict-ridden regimes/countries).
  4. Hunger (hunger causes physical and mental health issues which, in turn, bring on poverty – due to the inability to work or function properly; and this creates greater hunger).
  5. Climate Change (drought, flooding, erratic  climate patterns).

The Solutions:

According to Josette Sheeran, formerly the Executive Director (until her term ended in 2012) of the UN World Food Programme and now the Vice Chairman of the World Economic Forum, there are ten new approaches to eradicating world hunger:

  1. Humanitarian action.
  2. Provide free school meals.
  3. Safety nets (for when disaster strikes or a food crisis occurs).
  4. Connect farmers to markets.
  5. Special focus on providing children under two years old with proper nutrition, to help them develop properly and give them  fighting chance.
  6. Empower women.
  7. Technology is a powerful tool.
  8. Building resiliency… against national disasters.
  9. People power (individuals, partners, organizations, communities)
  10. Accountability (countries’ political leaders make it their mission to ensure that no child (in their country) will die from hunger.

For a more comprehensive understanding of world hunger, please refer to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s report, The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012.

Ending world hunger… an impossible dream, or an attainable reality?

You know where I stand. 


From Aug 14-Sept 7, purchase a copy of  Casualties of the (Recession) Depression, and for every $20 book purchased directly from my website, I will be donating $5 from the proceeds of each book sale to either: Feeding America (US), Action Against Hunger (Canada), or The World Food Programme (Global). The purchaser chooses one of the three.

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If I could be anywhere, where would I be?

I’d be in Africa.  For at least two decades now, I’ve wanted to explore this vast and, in many parts, still untamed continent. Not just for a brief visit, but perhaps for a year or two. I’d want to spend time observing and writing about the awe-inspiring work that the dedicated men and women from Doctors Without Borders do, or the selfless missionaries who spend their days helping those who can’t help themselves.

I imagine the wide open spaces, vistas where magnificent wild animals roam free, and the ever-present yin and yang  — horror and beauty, violence and serenity, the looming undertow of all that is uncivilized – masked by an outward appearance of all things “civilized.” 

Africa, a land of contrasts, is where I would be — if I could.

And, one day, I will.

There are so many passionate poems about  Africa and here’s one that I thought I’d share with you (by Zulu poet, LLM Mbatha) :

I Have A Dream Of An Africa

I have a dream of an Africa
A united Africa! 
Self sustaining and self-reliant
Able to produce 
Anything out of nothing
And trade within her-self
And with the world at large
A proud Africa 
Of a civilizing people
Like our Egyptian, and
Olmec ancestors…
I dream of an Africa that 
Patrice Lumumba died for
Kwame Nkrumah stood up for 
Nelson Mandela paid dearly for
An Africa of Haile Selasie I
An Africa of GIANTS
Where men are great, proud and dignified
An Africa of Cleopatra, Maqeda, Nzingha and Nyamazana
An Africa without genocide, starvation, or disease
An Africa, without dictators! 
A free Africa
Taking on the driver’s seat 
Teaching without enslaving
To show the world it’s possible! 
No refugees because
All the Children belong! 
An Africa, a Mother Land
Where an elephant 
Feeds from the Elephant Tree
And the gorilla roams free
And the lion goes to hunt
If he wants
Because God loved him to! 
An Africa that
Bhambatha (ka Mancinza) 
Sobukwe (Robert) 
Fanon (Frantz) 
Biko (Steve) 
X (Malcolm) 
Garvey (Marcus) 
And Douglas (Frederick) 
Would look at and smile about
I have a dream of an Africa
But from this one, I shall not wake
Because I dream standing up
My eyes looking out
My arms open wide
To the ones, mad enough, to dream the same 

~ by LLM Mbatha


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