Hunger: Why is this issue still prevalent?
Theertha Aravind | August 5, 2022
Most of us are fortunate enough to have 3 meals a day. But imagine the plight of some people who may not even have 1 square meal a day. It is surprising that even in today’s world of development, more than 48 million people are facing emergency levels of hunger, with the threat of acute malnutrition, starvation, and death, according to the World Food Programme (WFP).
The reasons for hunger are varied. Poverty is the main cause of hunger in the world. This is true in rich and poor countries alike. It is true no matter whether people live in urban or rural areas. Most people who are hungry are living in extreme poverty, defined as an income of $1.90 per day or less. The largest group of people in the world in extreme poverty are smallholder farmers in developing countries.
Food shortages in developing countries are common. The period leading up to a harvest is known as the “hungry season.” Food from the previous harvest runs out and families cut back on meals. This period of time may last for months depending on the size of the previous harvest. Another reason for food shortages is up to 40 percent of food grown in some countries is spoilage due to a lack of storage facilities.
Hunger is both a cause and effect of war and conflict. Wide-scale poverty and hunger lead to frustration and resentment against governments that appear to ignore hungry people’s plight. The poorest members of society suffer the worst during war and conflict. Homes are destroyed and communities of people are displaced.
Every country, regardless of its wealth, has discrimination woven into its social fabric. Disadvantaged groups tend to be left the furthest behind. In most countries, these are racial, ethnic, or religious minorities. Among all of these groups, women and girls are more disadvantaged than their male counterparts.
While this issue is very difficult to tackle, it is not unsolvable. We need to embrace climate-smart agriculture. Gender equality is another key solution to world hunger, especially in two key areas: agriculture and maternal and child health. It is necessary to also support hygiene and sanitation practices and control crop infestations to ensure the control of this crucial issue.