Over 1 Billion Hungry on World Food Day
By Bill Malone on October 16, 2009
WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A new report by the Food and Agriculture Organization confirms that more than 1 billion people around the world now live with hunger daily.
“As we celebrate World Food Day, it is disheartening that we have lost the substantial gains made in the last decades against hunger and poverty,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president, Bread for the World. “To regain lost ground, we must invest in agriculture in developing countries.”
He noted that in 1980, 17 cents out of every aid dollar from wealthy nations were aimed at developing agriculture and helping poor farmers around the world. It has been declining ever since. “By 2006, it had fallen to less than 4 cents for every dollar,” he said.
Rev. Beckmann added that even before the food and economic crises of the last two years, the number of hungry people was already rising. “Sadly, now over 1.02 billion are undernourished, most of whom are subsistence-level farmers,” he said. “Many are women, who work their own small fields to feed their children.”
Rev. Beckmann said that solutions lie in supporting policies that increase agricultural productivity and improve food security in the developing world. For developing countries, agriculture can be the engine of growth that will provide an economic and employment “buffer” to help poorer countries withstand crises. “It was only a few short months ago that we witnessed food riots in over 30 countries due to skyrocketing prices for staple crops like wheat, corn, rice and sorghum,” he said. “This new FAO report, The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2009, is a wakeup call. We must proactively prepare for the next time food prices experience such volatility.”
“The mere fact that hunger was already increasing before the current global economic crisis tells us that the current, stopgap approaches have not been effective in fostering long-term relief. True, we need safety nets in times of sudden regional food shortages, but they must work in concert with agricultural development programs that enable recipients to graduate to self-sufficiency,” he said.
Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.