“In a world of plenty, no one, not a single person, should go hungry. But almost 1 billion still do not have enough to eat. I want to see an end to hunger everywhere within my lifetime.”
– Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General
Its dinner time! When the world was enjoying their multi-course meal, almost 1 billion human beings slept empty stomach. Reminding the need of food security for all, October 16th is observed as World Food Day. The day provides an opportunity to strengthen global cohesion in the fight to end hunger, malnutrition and poverty. With the falling groundwater levels, eroding soils and rising temperatures at an alarming rate, it will be difficult to meet the food demands and feed billions in the years to come. Excessive industrialisation and increasing profit margins has brought the degrading arable lands and depleting water resources on the center stage of the global struggle for food security.
According to a join report published by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)and World Food Programme (WFP), about 795 million people are undernourished globally. In recent years, progress has been hindered by slower and less inclusive economic growth, as well as political instability in some developing regions, such as Central Africa and Western Asia.
The year 2015 marks the end of the monitoring period for the Millennium Development Goals . There has been a sharp decline in the share of undernourished people, from 23.3 percent in 1990-92 to 12.9 percent. Some regions such as Latin America, the east central and southern regions of Asia showcased amazing progress in curbing malnourishment. Northern and western regions of Africa too have made significant progress. A total of 72 developing countries out of 129 countries monitored, have met the MDG 1c hunger target. The key factor for reducing undernourishment is economic growth, but it has to be inclusive and providing equal opportunities for improving the livelihoods of the poor.. Also it has opened income opportunities and increasing productivity for the farmers with small holdings.
This year World Food Day 2015, will be observed for the 35th time. This propitious occasion will also mark the 70th Anniversary the FAO . The theme for World Food Day 2015 is “Social Protection and Agriculture: breaking the cycle of rural poverty.” This theme has been chosen in a bid to draw global attention to the role that social protection plays in eradicating hunger and poverty when it is prioritized in national development agendas. Social protection systems have been critical in fostering progress towards the MDG1- hunger and poverty targets in a number of developing countries. Social protection directly contributes to the reduction of poverty, hunger and malnutrition by promoting income security and access to better nutrition, health care and education. By improving human capacities and mitigating the impacts of shocks, social protection fosters the ability of the poor to participate in growth through better access to employment.
Article 47 of the Indian Constitution states, “it’s duty of the state to maintain the standards of nutrition in the country.” However, while we celebrated 68th year of independence, the state of hunger and malnutrition situation in India has marginally made any difference.. The National Family Health Survey provides shocking statistics, that ‘one out of every three undernourished children in the world, is from India’. This throws light how urgent measures are required to tackle the situation. In recent times, farmers suicides and food security in India has added more woes. Being an agricultural economy, with a huge population still dependent on agriculture and allied sectors for their livelihood, there is a need for a second green revolution to make the country food secure generating higher revenue for the farmers.
Just take a minute out from your hectic daily schedule to think that as a country, we can never progress, when fellow Indians are going to sleep with empty stomachs. Of 1.27 billion population, more than 217 million people were known to suffer from malnutrition in the year 2012. As much as Rs. 70,000 crore worth of fruits and vegetables were wasted in the 2010-2011, which could have been used to feed the hungry people. Curbing food wastage would have been enough to feed the hungry in India, yet we choose to do nothing for it.
Eradication of hunger, malnutrition and poverty, should the main agenda in the present scenario. Its high time that countries, governments and organisations join hands, to ensure that no one sleeps empty stomach in any country. Let us be the ones who ends the suffering for our lifetime, and ensure that sustainable change is triggered.
By – Anand Kumar
Media & Communication