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World Food Crisis

World Food Crisis

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Published by: karankaul on Jan 07, 2011
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WORLD FOOD CRISIS-A silent tsunami .

One Billion Are Hungry

Last week the UN announced that the number of people suffering from hunger now totals one billion worldwide. Not too surprisingly, a BBC article points out that the vast majority of the world's hungry live in developing countries. Only 15 million are in the developed world. In contrast, 265 million live in sub-Saharan Africa and more than two times as many — 642 million to be exact — live in the Asia-Pacific region. Since the economic crisis hit, there are about 100 million more people that are hungry. The UN attributes this rise in world hunger to unemployment and low wages. This is turn hurts people's ability to buy and grow food. Jacques Diouf, the director general of the UNFAO, focused on agricultural investment as one of the solutions to help developing countries address hunger issues. Diouf is quoted by the BBC as saying, "Investment in agriculture must be increased because for the majority of poor countries a healthy agricultural sector is essential to overcome poverty and hunger and is a pre-requisite for overall economic growth." Today almost a billion people worldwide are unable to buy or grow enough food to avoid malnutrition. That's 120 million more than were hungry in 2006. What happened? Basically, the world saw dramatic spikes in food prices. But there were many underlying causes of what's known as the global food crisis: Drought and other climate-related problems that resulted in smaller harvests Changing diets — rise of the middle class in India and China and an increased demand for food, especially meat, which requires large amounts of grain to raise • Diversion of crops from food production to the production of biofuels • High fuel prices during 2008 — if it costs more to transport food, prices go up
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roughly 70 percent of income is spent on food. • While food prices have come down from their highs of 2008. going into debt and removing children from school so that they can work. it's also been a record year for our food security team. We discovered that within communities Mercy Corps serves. and 80 percent of the population had been affected by rising food prices over the past year. At the same time. is likely to continue for some time. the Gap Foundation. they remain substantially above historic levels. Many economists feel this trend. The economic.4 billion in 2004. We now have 17 programs in 13 countries designed specifically to respond to this on-going problem. One of the first things Mercy Corps did to figure out how and where to direct our efforts was to survey the communities where we work. and private individuals.Declining investments in agricultural productivity — total agriculture development aid to poor countries plunged from $8 billion in 1984 to $3. with the result of reducing the global supply on hand. In addition to being a record year for food prices. selling off household belongings. the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. our Food Crisis Response employs a strategy designed to ensure that the groundwork for increased prosperity in the future is laid — even while addressing the immediate problem of accessing sufficient food. allowing Mercy Corps to aggressively respond to this crisis. . the developing world's cities have been ballooning with people who do not grow any of their food • Export bans and restrictions last year in several major grain-producing countries like China as governments sought to lower food prices for their own citizens. which most severely affects those who can least afford it. Through support from donors including USAID. health and societal costs of the global food crisis have been severe. The survey also confirmed something we already suspected: that families were coping with higher prices by eating fewer meals. the Hunger Site.

Somalia. are taking place in Tajikistan. Uganda and again Zimbabwe. these programs are reaching almost 1.Food distributions. and helping people establish and grow small businesses. Sri Lanka. in the Central African Republic. Indonesia. Kyrgyzstan and Zimbabwe. Mercy Corps is helping hungry households to access food by providing employment opportunities.5 million individuals who have been directly impacted by higher food prices. Liberia. Overall. Niger. leading in turn to greater food security over the long-term. Combined. agricultural training and inputs (such as seeds and tools). Nepal. much of which are specifically targeted to improve child nutrition. India. Meanwhile. . Mercy Corps’ Crisis Response will lead to a sustainable increase in income for these people.

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