Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hunger Update

An update on my posting last Thursday.

Yesterday was World Food Day – proclaimed in 1979 by the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It marks the date of the founding of FAO in 1945. The aim of the Day is to heighten public awareness of the world food problem and strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
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BBC News (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/8309979.stm, accessed today) highlighted ActionAid, a development charity that has released a report, Hunger Free, to coincide with UN World Food Day, where it trumpets that hunger is "a choice that we make, not a force of nature".

"Hunger begins with inequality," it says, and then grows because of "perverse policies that treat food purely as a commodity, not a right".

"It is because of these policies that most developing countries no longer grow enough to feed themselves, and that their farmers are amongst the hungriest and poorest people in the world," says ActionAid.

In fact, just two days earlier, BBC News had carried another report (
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8306556.stm, accessed today) – the UN's annual report on global food security, confirming that more than one billion people – a sixth of the world's population – are undernourished.

"No nation is immune and, as usual, it is the poorest countries and the poorest people that are suffering the most," said the annual report of the UN's FAO and the World Food Programme.

This report even depicts the Global Hunger Index – a survey published by the International Food Policy Research Unit (IFPRI) – that reveals that countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo has seen the steepest rise in hunger since 1990, followed by Burundi, the Comoros and Zimbabwe; while others have dramatically improved levels of malnutrition since 1990, including Vietnam, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Mexico. Psst, Malaysia is in the improved category, in position # 7.

The survey describes a "food price crisis", with prices settling at levels too high for many people in developing countries. So, let's remember not to squander and waste food because there are those who go hungry every day. More importantly, what are we doing about it?

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