Alarm Bells We can’t Snooze : World Hunger

Have you ever seen a baby crying for her mother’s milk who has just died hours back due to malnutrition? Have you ever lived in a city where buckets of food are wasted in the name of posh parties but right in the next lane, few unfortunates are seen scrapping away tonnes of rags, but all they get is packets of empty biscuits and chips! — What is this? It is nothing but a clear depictipn of ‘World Hunger’!
The numbers of hungry people in the world has increased for the first time since the turn of the century, sparking concern that conflicts and sudden climate change could be revenging those years of tremendous progress.
In 2016, the number of chronically under-nourished people reached 815 million, up 38 million from the previous year. The increase is largely due to the proliferation of violence and climate-related shocks, according to the state of food insecurity and nutrition in 2017, a report issued by five UN agencies. The study also revealed that the number of chronically hungry people has increased from 10.6% in 2015 to 11% in 2016. Africa has the highest levels of severe food insecurity, affecting 27.4% of the population – almost 4 times than that other region! Hunger has reached “extreme level” in many parts of the world, with famine declared in South Sudan and Yemen, North-East Africa.

Do we realize?
* “815 million people in the world dont get the food they need to live a healthy life”
— 2017 FAO Statement.
* “66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world.”
— World Food Programme.
* “Every $1 spent on malnutrition prevention delivets $16 in economic return.”
— 2016 Global Nutrition Report.
* “Asia has the largest numbers of hungry people, with two-thirds of the population affected.”
— FAO.
* “If women farmers had the same equal access to resources as men, the numbers of hungry people could fall by 150 million.”
— FAO.
* “Malnutrition in all its forms- from easting to obesity-directly affect one in three people.”
— 2016 Global Nutrition Report.
— 190.7 million people are undernourished in India.
— The Global Hunger Index 2016 ranks India at 97 out of 118 countries on the basis of three leading indicators– prevalence of wasting and stunting in children under 5 years, under 5 child mortality rate, and the proportion of undernourished in the population.
Now the bigger question is who is responsible for the death of those 3,000 children each day in India? India being the home to a quarter of all undernourished people has to keep a key focus on tackling food hunger on a global scale. In the last two decades, per capita income more than trippled, yet the minimum dietary intake fell. The gap between rich and poor increased during this period of high economic growth.
“The main cause behind such a situation is the productive-assetlessness, remunerative joblessness, and social and gender injustice and inequalities, besides destitution, illness, disability, old-age and widowhood. Some other causes include leakages in government’s schemes meant to overcome hunger and malnutrition, low level of awareness about do’s and dont’s of balanced food, health and hygiene and high levels of corruption.”
Some reconstructive cures for this hunger problem are the government schemes, National Food Programmes, CSOs, etc. Some govt. measures for India are National Food Security Mission, National Nutrition Mission, National Rural Livelihoods Mission, Mid Day Meal, Janani Suraksha Yojana (Mother’s Protection Scheme) etc.
The Zero Hunger Challenge vision reflects five elements from within the Sustainable Development Goals, which taken together can end hunger, eliminate all forms of malnutrition and build inclusive and sustainable food systems. India has taken up the challenge too for ending hunger and malnutrition by 2030!
Hence it is very essential to end world food hunger; else all the progressive developmrnts would be doomed up in a few years! It is not just about food- but it is about Food Security. Hence, strengthening Agriculture can be one of the best ways to break the cycle of poverty, hunger and death! Efforts must address root causes, be sustainable and must be implemented by each local petson at his own level for the long-term effects.
The real reason is ‘There is Food Waste, not Food Shortage’ and so we must join hands to bring this deadly situation to an end.
For Gandhiji has truely said :
“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread”.
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~Shilpi Gupta, BSc (Agri), 4th Year; College of Agriculture, AAU, Jorhat.

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