Should today be called “World Hunger Day” ?

malnourishedTake a look at the picture and multiply it by one billion.

That’s the worldwide figure of people going hungry according to the latest UN Food Agencies report

“We should be calling this world hunger day, not world food day,” says Emilia Casella from the World Food Programme.china food

Today, ActionAid came out with a report which praises Brazil and China for its efforts to combat hunger but criticises India.  

There’s lots of talk about genetic engineering being the answer. But does this solution push the boundaries of mother nature too far? India’s debating this now.

Is the solution entirely in the hands of agricultural investment? Not according to this blogger who believes hunger is a moral consequence of greed. What about the academics and agencies researching into the crisis? Not working says Gebisa Ejeta “Far too many research results are sitting on the shelf,” he said. Gebisa is scheduled to receive the World Food Prize for his work on combating a weed that infests many crops in Africa. Does a solution to hunger need to be home grown?

There’s plenty of food in the world says Louis Belanger from Oxfam. But the UN insist that food production will have to increase by 70% over the next forty years to feed the world’s population. It’s a grim prediction – do this or face famine by 2050.

30 Responses to “Should today be called “World Hunger Day” ?”

  1. 1 steve
    October 14, 2009 at 21:01

    Meanwhile, in the US and elsewhere in the west, we have people who are 400 lbs overweight..

  2. October 14, 2009 at 21:38

    Because they are taking the food right out of the starving mouths. However round about they do it, it is a fact. And then they wonder about terrorism etc, etc.

  3. 4 jens
    October 14, 2009 at 21:40


    the problem with obesity here is that we have way too much crap cheap food and that it is the poor who buy this food. Just go into a walmart and see who is 400 pounds. i have the privilage of moving in more educated circles and while not being Mr skinny, i am in a normal weight range and so are probably 80% of the people i am working/interacting with.

    genetic engineering can enhance crop sustainability in an arrid enviroment, which will become more and more important given water resources and the predictions of future wars about water. war itself is a driver for malnutrition and famine.

    it is not a matter of us eating less, it is a matter of producing high value crop in a sustainable manner. the most idiotic thing we can do is convert feed stock into fuel, aka bio diesel/gas.

    • 5 Jessica in NYC
      October 15, 2009 at 18:39

      Steve and Jens,

      Let’s not forget that research has only now become available on the long term affects of genetically modified food. Statistics show that it accelerates puberty at alarming rates for young GIRLS and children are higher weight.

  4. October 14, 2009 at 22:01

    Growing population is not the problem “sui generis” . Significant territory of planet Earth has extreme climate conditions that is not appropriate for agriculture. The “Hunger issue” is going for worse if that territory is part of poor country. State which has very high birth rate, very low standard of living and hostile climate at the same time is in big trouble in connection with feeding its citizens. Therefore, planned international action is needed to help such countries similar to aid in big natural or human disasters (earthquakes, floods, wars).

    Agricultural investment is not issue on North pole or in Sahara desert. In such extreme conditions it has nothing to do with greed or solidarity. Talking that way we can easily slide to some ism (capitalism, globalism) critique that is not efficient solution to “Hunger issue”.

    Besides agricultural investment, science research in food field, changing unfavourable climate conditions, birth rate control, INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY is desperately needed at least in first phase.

    Ask ourselves what outcome of II World war would have been if there had not been very strong bloc of antifascist countries.

    First of all United nations and other international agencies, non government organizations must be involved in this project of “Feeding the needy”.

    It is extremely serious issue that requires urgent action. Otherwise,we risk disappearing basic human values.

    Rich part of International community must help poor and hungry part of World.
    It is not much for wealty but very important for poor to stay in life.

    Like Welfare amount in developed countries in poor states must be legally determined and enforded minimum monthly budgetary payment for food for the poorest.

  5. 7 vijay Pillai
    October 14, 2009 at 22:23

    I have heard this argument by armchair experts from UN for more than 3 decades,33 years to be precise. I have met the top FAO experts before and it was their language of scare mongering and making people of the west to feel guilty of producing food waste mountain s while the millions of poor of developing world go hungry without a meal a day.

    That is my reply to any retoric from UN experts. I rememeber telling one FAO expert at world water conference that the inefficient agriculture waste water lakes to agriculture drainage which can quench the thirst of milions of poor as well.

    Let us come to reality of 2009. In the west my idea of sustainable waste management in 1999 got the UK environmental dept into acting only now to be a zero waste nation and that is a good think but it is a painful process of education and practice . That should reduce waste of food and leave the third world with more food than we import.
    Again in this instance the urgency is to send food via aid agencies and eliminate hunger.

    For the future,if you analyse where the increase of population one would find in many poor countries as well with religous believe of producing more people and crowed the world with no thinking of how to feed them.
    Population control is urgent indeed. Just look at countries which doubled or substantially inceased theirpopulation.UK marginal increase over 3 decades where as in indonesia ,pakistan,banglashesh, india and china for intance multipled,but china i think got the poverty under control.

  6. 8 Jim Newman
    October 14, 2009 at 23:12

    Hello again
    As I’ve said many times before the world is overpopulated with humans and consumerism is eating away at the world’s resources at a high rate of knots. The ecosystem is being destroyed by over exploitation of practically everything. This leads to desertification. Up til now the world has known violent changes due to temperature, we are now in a violent change with an additional human element.
    Some people say that there is enough food in the world to go round if only things were dealt out fairer. Although I wish that were true it isn’t. The fight for survival is well under way and the first victims are our civilisation and our precious morals.
    In fact it’s all part of a natural cycle with an human element thrown in.

  7. 9 Tom K in Mpls
    October 15, 2009 at 03:00

    In most cases, it’s politics. The popular cause/charity from the mid 50s to the mid 80s was world hunger. By the late 70s, farming advances made it possible. In the mid 80s, transportation was finally practical. It finally seemed possible. But then politicians in Africa and China, were it was needed, would not let it happen. It undermined their control. We saw it again very recently in getting aid to Tamil civilians. It’s the same old song. Power is more important to the people in power than lives. It is true in every country with a standing military.

  8. 10 James Ian
    October 15, 2009 at 07:02

    My belief, my opinion, but that’s all it is.

    Here in the U.S. obesity and diabetes are at all time highs meanwhile people in other parts of the world are starving? I guess a lot of it comes down to corrupt governments in other countries taking the aid we send them and either keeping it for themselves or selling it off for a profit to stick in their pockets. I mean I consider my self Malthusist and think the world is over populated but, I think we have so far been clever enough to get the most out of resources. There seems to be enough out there for people it’s just that we have some decadent, greedy, gluttonous people in rich countries hogging it all up getting fat and/or other people in government in other countries steeling it for a personal profit at the detriment of their people. Then on the other hand, I think that some of these people need to take some responsibility themselves. For example, if you know you may have trouble feeding and caring for your offspring because you are poor then you probably don’t need to be getting pregnant and having kids you can’t afford to feed, cloth and house properly.
    And I’m not just speaking of people in third world counties, believe it or not there are kids going hungry here in the U.S. too. They are being neglected in every sense of the word by their own selfish, self involved parents.

  9. 11 scmehta
    October 15, 2009 at 07:46

    Aren’t we feeding the world with hell of a lot of hypocrisy? The fact of the matter is, that, we’re not being sincere about feeding the poor around the world; On the one hand, we make so much of noise about technical advancements in the agriculture and horticulture fields for the purpose of increasing food production (a lot of it is on paper only), and on the other, our main efforts and interests are heavily biased in favour of industrial production i.e. in favour of the rich and for making them more rich.

    • 12 Tom K in Mpls
      October 15, 2009 at 17:20

      Not hypocritical. If they develop an economy to either buy our food or trade to get what they need to grow their own, we will gladly oblige them.

  10. 13 Roberto
    October 15, 2009 at 10:52

    RE “” Latest technology, an abundance of charities and excellent research don’t seem to be doing the trick. “”

    ————— DUH!!!

    All this massive aid by the west has resulted in massive population explosion in 3rd world countries and the financial enrichment of corrupt leaders and thugs.

    This latest disaster exacerbated by the use of food crops as biofuel in the increasing waste of energy resources by humans.

    All this globalization is a failure and the chickens are coming home to roost. Until the developed economies get a handle on their energy consumption and corrupt governments and the 3rd world gets a handle on their population explosion and corrupt governments, forecast for the future is gonna be centuries of misery.

    • October 15, 2009 at 12:42

      There is an element of truth in what you say. But there was far less hunger and corruption before the west started exploiting and interfereing in the life of the developing world in the name of democracy and false progress. What works in the west can and never will work in the rest of the world. The wests tinsel technology doesn’t even work elsewhere except in their temperate climes. Forget their way of life.

  11. October 15, 2009 at 11:08

    Remember back in the 70s when Werner Erhard and the EST people had the “intention” to “end world hunger in our times?” And the Hunger Project?

    Food is money. Money is power. When you give food or money, you are giving power… power over people.

    Micro loans to women seems to help. Educating women seems to help.

  12. 16 patti in cape coral
    October 15, 2009 at 12:19

    I agree with Tom K that it’s about politics. The food and the means to transport it is there.

    • 17 Jennifer
      October 15, 2009 at 14:52

      Maybe we need to be sending food and ensuring the people who need it get it. Maybe we need to focus on that more than say “reproductive liberty” the right to abort. It seems like those in power are wanting to use this serious issue as a way of getting in the door with their population control agenda.

      • 18 Tom K in Mpls
        October 15, 2009 at 17:23

        Jennifer, that is the problem. First it was sent to local leaders, they used it to feed their followers or sold it at prices that were very high locally. Then we used the UN to control distribution. Then the local governments would not let it be released.

  13. 19 steve
    October 15, 2009 at 13:31

    Genetically engineering food is potentially very dangerous. Tinkering with nature has consequences.. Many of which we have no idea about.

  14. 20 jens
    October 15, 2009 at 14:45

    How is genetically manipulated food potentially very dangerouse? Where is the danger of taking a gen that makes a plant drought resistant and putting it into a plant which is not? Give me a solid science based argument.

  15. October 15, 2009 at 15:45

    I have to agree with Jens on genetic modification,nature does it all the time, except it takes eons to complete. All the food grains were simple grasses until we interfered and improved them. I think bio-fuels a total waste of land,but greed will reign supreme. I have not got an answer,perhaps fewer more effective charities,more emphasis on transport and certainly more practical help,but then someone will always think that a machine gun is the answer to all problems.

  16. 22 T
    October 15, 2009 at 15:53

    Because the people with the power to do it will always ask, what’s in it for me?
    We’ll give you aid in return for you selling parts of your infrastructure to us.

  17. 23 jens
    October 15, 2009 at 16:00


    if we do not control the population density, we become nothing different than rats with hugh frontal lobes. the absolut irony is that we as humans started out with small families and only once we settled we started to have large families as a means of increasing work force and insurance for old age. since then a lot has changed and we do not need a familie of 10 to survive.

  18. 24 Jessica in NYC
    October 15, 2009 at 18:48

    Giving poor people genetically modified food is the equivalent of using human as guinea pigs to test a new product.

    • 25 Tom K in Mpls
      October 15, 2009 at 19:28

      I think you mean giving newly modified food. Some has been around for quite a while and is very safe. That is why I refuse to use these new designer drugs until they have been in common use for at least ten years.

  19. October 16, 2009 at 04:55

    We cannot feed the hungry because we are too busy waging warws on sovereign states, latest examples are Iraq,Afghanistan and Somalia, amongst others.Remember, these wars consume enormous resources,tax-payers’ funds and innocent human beings;apart from the fact that they implant into the soils and the atmospheres of the invaded nations, highly poisonous gases and materials which cause leukemia,cancers of various sorts,food poisonings, water pollutions,etc,etc,.If you occupy and molest, and ravage a nation for as long as 9 years, and continue on and on, how do you expect them to farm their lands and work with peace of mind and educate their offsprings in stable environment?

  20. 27 VictorK
    October 16, 2009 at 11:11

    I’d be interested to know how much these hunger spots in the developing and non-developing world would need to have invested in food and agriculture infrastructure, and how much they spend on defence and security. I should think that the second will exceed the first in most, if not all, cases.

    This shouldn’t be called ‘World Hunger Day’ because it’s not a global problem, or one that can have anything other than national solutions.

    More basic questions: given that some countries can’t manage their own affairs properly, including the most basic one of feeding their people, what, if anything, is to be done, and by whom, since no govt is obliged to come to the aid of a people not its own (charitable and voluntary assistance is another matter)?

  21. 28 Tamatoa, Zurich
    October 16, 2009 at 15:41

    I don’t think that we’re over-populated yet. I just don’ think that the resources are used properly. I think that there is still a lot of local research that could profit the people. Distribution could be improved and of course global corruption and greed have to be reduced.
    What we mustn’t forget are government subsidies and the global food corporations lobbying for them. They manipulate global food prices so that foreign local farmers don’t stand a chance even if they can produce food cheaper due to superior farming climate. I think this is a way to keep third world countries poor and dependant.
    But most important and the only solution is education. I doubt that the western societies way of life can be immediately imposed on foreign cultures. If we want them to adapt and that way have a better life then we have to teach and help them. We have to accept them and their traditions as equal and find a way to benefit everyone/the world. After all knowledge is also resource that isn’t distributed equally.
    We don’t have to have less children but educate them in modern science and moral values, to make them understand that the world is just one country and man its citizens.

  22. 29 nora
    October 16, 2009 at 16:51

    For the hungry, every day is world hunger day. For those of you who think hunger is only is underdeveloped countries, talk to the outdoorsmen in Los Angeles who water a ketchup package and call it soup, or the mother who has a cigarette for lunch because it kills her appetite, or the octogenarian who splits a can of catfood with her kitty.

  23. 30 viola
    October 16, 2009 at 18:09

    Can’t see how a home solution can help if the problem is caused by drought or global warming. If it’s caused by genocide or wars leading to homeless, hungry and starving refugees maybe a home solution could help. Everybody forming a world-tribe that values the golden rule of “Do unto others..” and “Do not do to others..” and really understands what that means would help the most.

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