Friday, December 4, 2009

Global hunger reaches record high of 1 billion

For the first time in human history
, the number of people worldwide that are being affected by the world food crisis is exceeding 1 billion. It would be a little less heartbreaking if global hunger has remained at the same level despite all the programs, campaigns and concerts we've seen the past decade - but it's actually gotten worse and reached a record high.

The new data released in September 2009 by the The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) also announced that the amount of food aid currently available for the most needy is at a 20 year low, and the organization is currently facing a $4.1 billion budget shortfall.

At the same time, people in "1st world" countries are wasting more food. 39 percent of the American food supply is never consumed by human beings. Multiply the individual waste by 300 million Americans and you get enough to feed the people of the Philippines. 2008 alone, an estimated 150 million people were added to the ranks of the chronically hungry while food prices increased dramatically around the world as a result of the recent financial crisis.

In Singapore, it was reported that queues for free food were getting longer than ever before:

Longer queues for free food in wealthy Singapore: charities (AFP)

The different faces of Singapore (The Star)

So now we know the problem continues to grow, but what is the solution?


Anonymous said...

Global hunger is a problem caused by too many irresponsible fxxkings.

Therefore, to feed the hungry is only trying to treat the symptom instead of doing something to stamp out the cause.

The real problem is how to stop or reduce the frequency of irresponsible sexual intercourse that resulted in births of hungry children.

Seelan Palay said...

Dear Anonymous, if you are referring to Africans saying that irresponsible sexual intercourse is the only or the main reason for hunger there, then I feel you are making a biased argument.

Here is 1 response to why 'Africa can't feed itself':

In most African countries, farmers are uneducated poor rural dwellers who lack all the basic needs of life. How can we rely on them to feed the continent? Unless African farmers are empowered, the food crisis will never end. How many elite Africans are farmers? Show me a farmer in Nigeria and I will show you a pauper.

I believe that it is only when African leaders have an attitude change towards farming and farmers that there will be progress. It is time Africans stopped blaming others for this problem. Our great grand fathers did not die of hunger and they did not rely on any foreign aid.
Ukachukwu Jephther, Nigeria/UK

Please take some time to read through all the comments made below the article at this link:

Anonymous said...

In the developed world, the left are as much to blame for this problem as the right.

The left/liberal has two things that annoy me.

First is the organic farming movement which is insufficient to feed all the people in the world. For that you need modern farming techniques. It appears that organic farming is only promoted by East Coast/West Coast liberals who never experience hunger.

Second, their reliance on aid instead of economic investment. Bono is doing it all wrong. Concerts only have a feel good factor but it is better to invest in micro-lending.

The right is wrong because they only care about exploiting poor countries for their natural resources instead of proper investments that develop a country.

Seelan Palay said...

You've made salient points, skeptic. I'd like to add the collective statement made at the World Social Forum this year:

Declaration from Social Movements/NGOs/CSOs Parallel Forum to the World Summit on Food Security, Rome, 13-17 November 2009

We, 642 persons coming from 93 countries and representing 450 organisations of peasant and family farmers, small scale fisher folk, pastoralists, indigenous peoples, youth, women, the urban people, agricultural workers, local and international NGOs, and other social actors, gathered in Rome from the 13 -17 of November, 2009 united in our determination to work for and demand food sovereignty in a moment in which the growing numbers of the hungry has surpassed the one billion mark. Food sovereignty is the real solution to the tragedy of hunger in our world.

Food sovereignty entails transforming the current food system to ensure that those who produce food have equitable access to, and control over, land water, seeds, fisheries and agricultural biodiversity. All people have a right and responsibility to participate in deciding how food is produced and distributed. Governments must respect, protect and fulfil the right to food as the right to adequate, available, accessible, culturally acceptable and nutritious food.

Governments have obligations to provide emergency aid. But this must not undermine food sovereignty and human rights. Emergency aid should be procured as locally as possible and must not be used to pressure countries into accepting Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO).

Food must never be used as a political weapon.

We call attention to the violations of rights of people, both urban and rural, living in areas under armed conflict or occupation and in emergency situations. The international community must urgently address violations of human rights like those related to forced displacement, confiscation and alien exploitation of property, land, and other productive resources, demographic manipulation and population transfers.

Anonymous said...

Hi Seelan,

I agree with the statement except for the part on genetically modified food.

The thing about Genetically modified food is that a significant part of the food that people in the developed world already consume is genetically modified.

If they are already consumed in the west, why can't the surplus be used in the poorer countries? Especially since hunger is a more pressing concern.

A lot of the stance against genetically modified food is misguided.

You are more likely to die in a car crash or get skin cancer from the sun than get ill from eating GM food.

The evidence for their ill effects is statistically insignificant.

Seelan Palay said...

I agree that the topic of GM food is contentious. I'm still learning about it as well and trying to read up on various views on the issue.

Please share any reading links with me skeptic.

singazine said...

Keep up on your global-focus. Good to step outside of the self-interest zone to show we're all connected.


Anonymous said...

All the info I get so far is from wikipedia.

89% soya beans, 60% corn, 50% Hawaiian papaya in the US is GM.

I think there are more GM products that we consume that we are not aware of.

Wish I had more time to dig up the articles but kind of busy with work right now. :)

Seelan Palay said...

It's alright skeptic, thank you anyway. I'll go research more, maybe get 1 book that can summarise the situations and solutions.

Chee Keong said...


You may be interested to watch this video:

The world according to Monsanto