It has been fifty years since J. F. Kennedy’s spoke about ending world hunger; nonetheless, the issue on famine still remains. Many people strive to find a solution on how we will feed the world. Ideas on intensifying industrial agriculture, with more high-tech seeds, chemicals and collateral damage have been introduced, though; there are other better options.
“Feeding the world” might as well be a marketing euphemism for “Let’s ramp up sales,” as if manufacturing more cars would indicate that everyone would own one. There are people dying of starvation not because lack of food but because not all of those calories go to feed humans, but end up being wasted, and used to produce biofuels.
The current system of trying to avoid starvation results nothing but environmental as well as economic unsustainability. The half of the population on Earth with money eats well, while the other half scrambles to eat as cheaply as possible.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, a billion people are hungry, and about three billion people are not eating well. This includes people who lack in nutrients, along with the ones who binge eat (junk food).
In order to ensure that poor people eat, we must follow these five rules:
1) Block the speculators: Huge sums of investment fund money have flooded into the commodities markets since the financial crisis, looking for returns no longer available in equities. Automated trading systems that exploit tiny flaws in the market and encourage volatility make it impossible for traditional traders to keep prices stable and hedge against spikes.
2) Produce less biofuels: Food and fuel prices are inextricably linked, so producing biofuel may lower food prices.
3) Stop the meat feast: meat production is a wasteful use of the planet’s limited resources. The UN states that agricultural production will have to rise 60% to feed the extra 2 billion mouths in 2050.
4) Support small farmers: A combination of aid, education in low-tech methods such as better rice planting and irrigation, and the introduction of better seeds and fertilizer could spark a green revolution in many developing countries.
5) Target infant nutrition: The solution lies in education on good feeding techniques and getting the right nutrients to the mother and child from the beginning of pregnancy.
October is World Hunger Action Month when Stop Hunger Now raises public awareness around the issue of world hunger. Tomorrow (October 16) is World Food Day, and Stop Hunger Now and partner organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations help increase the understanding of problems and solutions in the drive to end hunger. This month, it is important that we, Western University students, raise awareness on World Hunger.