ust last week I was having the perfect day. And then it was time for lunch and there was nothing at the lunch dropoff table, so I didn’t have anything for lunch. My perfect day went downhill. The rest of that day, I was so hungry, my stomach hurt, and I felt really cold all the time.
I couldn’t think as fast, and all I wanted to do was eat. I couldn’t think about anything else. So naturally, the solution was to go to Chipotle and have two burrito bowls. But on my way home, in a rare moment of introspection, I started thinking about people who actually suffered from extreme hunger — and how they dealt with it. After just a fewGooglesearches I found out that, well, they don’t. For example, in Haiti, hungry people eat cakes made out of mud. The statistics are grim. Nearly 1. 5 billion people in developing countries live in extreme poverty, living on less than $1.
25 a day. Around the world, more than 800 million people suffer from hunger. Each year, 2. 6 million children die as a result of hunger-related causes. I did some research, and found that ending world hunger was actually a pretty feasible goal.
A large amount of people in developing countries are malnourished. Most people affected by hunger don’t die of starvation, but die due to poor nutrition, and problems caused by it. For example, malnutrition makes you more susceptible to most diseases. Speaking of diseases, problems caused by malnutrition kills more people than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. 842 million people in the world do not have enough to eat. This is more than the population of US, Canada, and the EU combined.
Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five – 3. 1 million children each year. One out of six children in developing countries is underweight, and one in four of the world’s children are stunted. In developing countries the proportion can rise to one in three. Of those 80 percent of the world’s stunted children live in just 20 countries. The World Food Programme calculates that about US $30 billion each year is needed to solve the food crisis.
Now, lets examine the root of this problem. Hunger in today’s world is caused by many things, such as a lack of investment in agriculture, war, natural disasters, and poverty. Lack of investment in agriculture is a large cause of this problem. Too many developing countries lack key agricultural infrastructure, such as enough roads, warehouses and irrigation. The results are high transport costs, lack of storage facilities and unreliable water supplies. All of these together limit agricultural yields and access to food.
Investments in improving land management, using water more efficiently and making more resistant seed types available can bring huge improvements. Research by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization shows that investment in agriculture is five times more effective in reducing poverty and hunger than investment in any other sector. However, the largest cause of hunger is simply poverty. Causes of poverty include poor people’s lack of resources, an extremely unequal income distribution in the world and within specific countries, conflict, and hunger itself. Recently, the World Bank has estimated that there were 1. 4 billion people in developing countries who live on $1.
25 a day or less. It’s very obvious that 1. 25 or less per day is not enough to nourish yourself. Maybe you could buy a fraction of one meal, and that would be it for the day. It might seem like an impossible task, but solving world hunger is much more attainable it seems. Most parts of the problem, mainly poverty and infrastructure, can be solved just by donating some money to these countries in need.
The UN estimates that about thirty billion dollars each year would be enough to eradicate world hunger for a year. But the money shouldn’t just be for buying food and hoping the problem will disappear. The key to solving world hunger is not in throwing money at the problem, but using those resources in innovative and creative ways to target hunger. First, one major solution is to distribute a large portion of the food we provide through schools. It’s simple: when food is provided in schools, attendance usually increases greatly. This can have huge impacts.
Just 35 years ago, Cape Verde was considered hopeless, but after the prime minister decided to have the government help to feed children. Now, it’s soon going to meet every Millenium Development goal. Providing food through schools has other benefits too. For example, Brazil ties small farmers to school. People get cash transfers if their children get good grades, go to health clinics and get immunized.
It’s already showing results. Brazil is currently beating hunger faster than any other nation. Amazingly enough, they also estimate that this progress in hunger reduction is costing them less than 1% of their GDP. A second proposal for addressing the world food problem is to think about what kind of food we’re trying to provide.” GMO” is definitely a hot-button term these days, but it would be foolish to ignore its huge potential impact on world hunger and malnutrition.
Genetically modified food will also help stop hunger and malnutrition in the world. Plants can be genetically modified to do things such as survive drought much better, or have a certain vitamin. For example, golden rice is a genetically modified variant of rice that has Vitamin A in it, helping people with vitamin a deficiency. Some people say that genetically modified food isn’t good because it causes problems like allergies. But, let’s be realistic: the tragedy of mass malnutrition across the world vastly outweighs anything genetically modified foods might do. Part of the money can be used to fund projects to help people provide food for themselves in a sustainable way.
Right now, most African farmers are less productive than a US farmer was 100 years ago. There is a consensus between NGOs and governments that supporting and training small farmers is the best possible solution to future food security. 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 Africa, such as the one that transformed South Asia in the 20th century. This is very powerful, because in the future we would like to see many impoverished areas not reliant on aid from foreign countries, and able to create their own, steady, supply of food. Thirty billion dollars a year seems like a huge amount of money, so let’s put that in perspective. The US spends about 737 billion dollars each year on defense.
The Iraq war costed us about four trillion dollars. With that money, we could eradicate hunger for a hundred years. Maybe if we don’t engage in a full scale war with ISIS, the US alone could use the money saved, and feed the world’s hungry for a decade or two. Therefore, I propose the following legislation, the UN should pool together 30 billion USD, and use it to help end hunger in the world. Most of the food provided should be divi I always usedto think of ending hunger as something impossible, like ending crime or having world peace. I’m happy to find out that this is one problem we actually can hope to end.
The main cause of world hunger isn’t a lack of food — it’s poverty. Pooling what is really a very reasonable amount of money and then using those resources in smart ways — like funding education, training farmers, and closing the gender gap — could be the solution. Honestly, it’ll only take a week of our defense budget. It’s time for the world to save more people than they would with any war, with less money. It’s time to end world hunger.