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World Food Day: My Viewpoint (1 of 2)

October 16, 2011

Today’s post follows Tom’s observing the severity of the food scarcity across the globe despite a supply that could easily feed the current population and more. As the Independent on Sunday put’s it, ‘Enough crops can be grown to feed the planet. But spiralling grain prices, stock market speculation, climate change and corrupt and failing governments have left almost a billion people facing starvation’.

As you might have noticed in the build up to today the statistic ‘one billion starving’ was scattered across every article. One billion. A number that you may remember I’ve taken issue with before. A number so large that it relieves us of all emotional and physical connection with the daily struggle of individual people. People just like you and I, only born into unfortunate circumstances, largely beyond the realms of their control. Individual people like Margaret, Rosy-Claire or Kaseyitu who I wrote about before.

I’ll reiterate what I said in that post. Those three people were just that, three individual people. Three people out of one billion. Or 3/ 1,000,000,000. It’s much easier to comprehend the scale of the epidemic when you consider people as individuals rather than numbers.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) published what the Independent called a largely unnoticed report this week estimating that a total of 925 million people were undernourished in 2010, two-thirds of whom lived in just seven countries – Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan.

The reports make quite clear that rising food prices, stock market speculation in crop futures, conflict, climate change and corrupt, repressive regimes are the reasons why so many people go hungry – not humanity’s inability to grow enough crops. The findings come three months after the declaration of a major famine in the Horn of Africa – a glaring instance of several of these dread factors working at once. A vicious cycle that you can quickly digest here.

What I’m trying to assert here, building upon Tom’s point, is that food insecurity doesn’t exist in a vacuum from the rest of society, nor is it an issue beyond the capability of mankind to solve. There is no single solution to this issue, but rather a holistic approach is needed and tomorrow’s post (2 of 2) attempts to detail what that might involve.


Food eaten today is tagged and will add to the food cloud.

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