WHAT CAUSES GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS?
The world produces enough food to feed all 7.5 billion people, yet more than 10% of the population goes hungry each day.
Poverty and hunger exist in a vicious cycle. Families trapped in the cycle of poverty usually can’t afford nutritious food, leading to undernourishment. In turn, undernourishment makes it difficult for people to earn more money so that they can afford healthy food. Families living in poverty might also sell off their livestock or tools to supplement their income. This buys short-term relief, but perpetuates a longer-term pattern of hunger and poverty that is often passed down from parents to children.
- Across regions like the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, farming families experience periods before harvests known as “hunger seasons.” These are the times of year when food supplies from the previous harvest are exhausted, but the chance to replenish supplies is still some time off. This leaves families forced to skip one (or more) meals each day in the period before the next harvest; which could be months away.
War and Conflict.
Wars and conflicts have a big impact in global food crisis. In South Sudan, civil war has led to mass displacement and abandoned fields. The result is crop failure which, combined with a soaring inflation rate that makes imported food unaffordable, has left 7.2 million people in a food crisis. Likewise, Yemen’s ongoing conflict has led to over half the country (approximately 17 million people) in need of urgent action in the absence of ongoing humanitarian food assistance.
Countries like Zambia enjoy relative peace and political stability. However, they are also plagued by hunger due to climate change. Too little or too much rainfall can destroy harvests or reduce the amount of animal pasture available. These fluctuations are made worse by the El Niño weather system, and are likely to increase due to changes in climate. Extreme climate patterns also tend to affect the poorest regions of the world the most. The World Bank estimates that climate change has the power to push more than 100 million people into poverty over the next decade.
According to the World Food Programme, one-third of all food produced over 1.3 billion tons of it is never consumed. What’s more, producing this wasted food also uses other natural resources that, when threatened, have a ripple effect in the countries that are already hit hardest by hunger, poverty, and climate change. Producing this wasted food requires an amount of water equal to the annual flow of Russia’s Volga River — and adds 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.
In its Sustainable Development Goals, the UN reveals: “If women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million.” Female farmers are responsible for growing, harvesting, preparing, and selling the majority of food in poor countries. Women are on the frontlines of the fight against hunger, yet they are frequently underrepresented at the forums where important decisions on policy and resources are made.
In my opinion, hunger isn’t simply a lack of access to food: It’s a lack of access to the right nutrients. In order to thrive, humans need a range of foods providing a variety of essential health benefits. Families living in poverty often rely on just one or two staple foods (like corn or wheat), which means they’re not getting enough critical macronutrients and vitamins, and may still suffer the effects of hunger. A lack of nutrition is especially important for young children. Proper nutrition reduces the likelihood of disease, poor health, and cognitive impairment. We should work hard and help global food crisis.