Third world

Food Africa

Anti-Hunger Organisations in the Third World Unite

In a world population of nearly 7 billion people, there are currently 950 million people suffering from hunger due to poverty. Many of those people suffering from hunger will not die of starvation but succumb to malnutrition which means that they do not eat enough food to get the nutrients they require to be healthy. Malnutrition adversely affects the immune system leaving sufferers susceptible to infection, illness and consequently death. Currently children suffering from malnutrition are dying at a rate 2.3 million per year.

Hunger and economics

Although the world produces more than enough food to feed everybody, world poverty means that a large number of people cannot afford to buy it. This also means that a huge amount of food surplus goes to waste or is destroyed, which makes no sense whatsoever. The cause of hunger is not a lack of food but issues relating to politics and economics which include; Land rights and ownership, Diversion of land to non-productive use, Famine, War, Drought, Over-fishing, Lack of democratic rights, Poor crop yields, Poor agricultural practices and an increased emphasis on export based agriculture. If we wish to stop world hunger then we first have to stop the problem of world poverty. This means attacking the root problems by political change not just the symptoms which can be treated by providing charitable food contributions. The poorest countries must be allowed the rights and means to produce their own food and to create industry for themselves otherwise poverty and dependency will continue indefinitely.

Enough food for everyone

There are many anti-hunger organisations currently operating in the third world providing food and other aid services which attack the symptoms of hunger and poverty. This year, however, over 150 organisations including, Oxfam, Save the Children, UNICEF and Christian Aid, amongst many others, have come together under the banner of the IF Campaign whose goal is to end hunger forever, their campaign motto being ‘Enough Food for Everyone.’ This is the largest joint mobilisation of its kind and it is backed by many global figures including Desmond Tutu and Bill Gates.

The IF Campaign does not make an increase in aid a priority but rather asks governments to act on the following four big issues. Firstly, to provide enough aid to stop people dying from hunger and to help them feed themselves. Secondly, to prevent big companies avoiding tax in the poorest countries. Thirdly, to stop poor farmers being forced off their land so they can grow crops that feed people in preference to those producing biofuels. Lastly, governments need to be persuaded to keep their promises and to be open and transparent in their actions which affect people getting enough food.

Political will

If governments can only be persuaded to agree to act on these issues then world poverty and world hunger can be consigned to the past and no child will have to go to bed hungry again. In the meantime we must continue to support the anti-hunger organisations and their campaigns. Every little contribution still counts.