Heavy burden of world hunger and 10 solutions to end it

By Daniil Filipenco

Heavy burden of world hunger and 10 solutions to end it

The world witnessed a steady decrease in hunger between 1991 and 2014. However, the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020 report developed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization shows that the problem has been steadily rising ever since.

It is highly likely that those who experience poverty will be hungry. Based on the information provided by the World Bank it has to be acknowledged that today around 690 million people are victims of extreme poverty and in all probability, none of these people will have the means to benefit from basic human needs including food.

Can we bring world hunger to an end?

The general answer is Yes, eradicating world hunger is possible. However, it will take political and community action to make this a reality.

“Zero hunger”

Back in 2015, 193 UN Member States approved the 2030 Agenda – Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which provided a framework for all nations to collaborate with the goal of creating a brighter future for every human being on Earth. One of its objectives, ‘zero hunger’, is to eliminate hunger by 2030.

Source: UN

Eradicating world hunger by 2030?

Because of violence and climate change, experts had already given the world little chance of eradicating hunger by 2030 but then the COVID-19 crisis struck.

The steps taken to tackle the spread of the coronavirus took their toll on both domestic and global economies especially in developing nations where many people were forced to face starvation. However, some experts are optimistic about the future, believing that the achievement of the zero hunger goal over the next decade is still possible.

The 2030 Agenda features initiatives that put an end to starvation and create sustainable food systems. If all the aspects of the Zero Hunger Challenge are incorporated into nationally-led SDG implementation strategies, they have the potential to eradicate hunger and provide other benefits along with achieving a wide range of SDGs.

How can world hunger be brought to an end?

The problem can be tackled only when a range of available solutions from organizational to individual levels are combined. Here are some of these:

1️⃣ Forced migration reaction

Due to the conflicts that take place in multiple regions around the world, many people are forced to migrate. Refugees and internally displaced persons represent the most disadvantaged groups who face food insecurity. Obviously, it is important to stop all conflicts but such action should be taken at the government and policy levels.

2️⃣ Reducing food waste

Nearly 30% of all food produced in the world (approximately 1.3 billion tons) is thrown away. Reducing food waste would be a huge step forward and every person can contribute to the solution of the problem by simply lowering their personal food waste. Even if just 25% of all wasted food around the globe could be saved, it would be possible to feed 870 million people suffering from hunger.

3️⃣ Urban agriculture (Food production in cities)

According to agricultural researchers, the construction of farms in the heart of cities could resolve the world’s hunger problem. Many city inhabitants cultivate home gardens mainly for household food. While this is hard to imagine in developed urban centers, in some cities in Africa this is already the reality.

4️⃣ Government involvement in disaster risk reduction

Engaging in disaster risk mitigation, especially in vulnerable areas, helps to limit possible losses. For instance, the majority of people in sub-Saharan Africa are active in subsistence agriculture which means they grow their own food. This, however, is simply not enough for a lot of people which is why it is vital to help them to protect what they have. Crop protection and diversification measures could be relatively successful.

It is also crucial to protect the homestead and cattle since the loss of shelter and assets may push people into starvation. Since government bodies are accountable for the long-term development of an area, disaster risk reduction in their daily operations must be taken into consideration. Since calamities rarely follow country borders, the governments of the affected areas should collaborate and provide mutual help and may also seek help from local businesses.

5️⃣ Information on birth control

Many people lack the necessary information concerning reproduction or do not benefit from access to contraception. Appropriate access to contraception enables family planning and financial freedom. This may ultimately help to tackle global hunger.

6️⃣ Education

An improved educational system is a universal solution to eradicate poverty. With regard to global hunger, education is able to offer a greater chance of accessing both income and food.

7️⃣ Social transformation

This is exceedingly difficult and will not happen overnight. However, numerous socioeconomic concerns, such as wars, offer a major barrier to ending world hunger.

Social transformation can occur when world powers, under social pressure, opt to concentrate on resolving rather than aggravating such challenges. Transformation occurs as a result of citizens in affluent countries beginning to understand that the concerns that might not affect them directly do nevertheless have strategic importance. As a result, they put pressure on politicians to be constructive in resolving conflicts.

8️⃣ Sanitation and hygiene

If a household lacks proper sanitation and hygiene, its members become exposed to various waterborne infections such as diarrhea. This prevents people from getting adequate nutrition from their diet. Children are especially prone to malnutrition due to a lack of hygiene.

9️⃣ Diminishing disaster risks

Assisting disadvantaged communities with technology and methods of lowering and mitigating disaster risks can limit possible losses in the aftermath of man-made or natural disasters. Designing systems to protect property and cattle could prove to be relatively effective measures. To avoid starvation, it is also critical to ensure crop diversification and protection.

🔟 Efficient pest management for higher yields

Besides droughts and floods, crops are severely affected by pests and diseases. Since 2019, countries in Eastern Africa such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Sudan have suffered from an unparalleled locust outbreak. The issue also affected central Africa and some regions in Yemen, Iraq, and Iran. As a result, more than 13 million people may face hunger.

Various agricultural procedures, such as timely pesticides applications through aerial spraying, can effectively control swarms in these severe circumstances.

The cost of ending world hunger

Ceres2030, an initiative uniting three institutions to create policies to end world hunger, released a report which suggests that US$330 billion would be sufficient to end world hunger over the next decade. The data for the report was gathered by 77 researchers from 23 countries and 53 organizations.

Based on this report, over the next decade, international donors would have to raise their investment in food security and nutrition by US$14 billion each year. The annual contribution of low and middle-income nations would also have to be US$19 billion.

The study discovered that technological improvements need to be matched with assistance for farmers.

One of the solutions discussed in the document suggests the creation of an artificial intelligence program that could analyze numerous academic articles from the last couple of decades to find evidence about what can really help to end hunger.

According to Maximo Torero, Chief Economist at FAO, it is possible to end world hunger by 2030 providing that rich nations increase their aid commitments by 100% to assist poor nations in targeting and scaling up cost-effective initiatives in agricultural research and development activities, technology, innovation, educational and social protection.

Final word

Hunger poses a risk to millions of people, especially in developing countries, but there is a chance it could be eradicated. Firstly, there are the global goals developed by the UN in 2015, and among the 17 commitments aiming to make a better world by 2030, one involves ensuring that not one person suffers from hunger.

If at least some of the solutions to eliminate world hunger (such as disaster risk reduction, education, and disaster risk management) are combined, the goal that at first glance seems nearly impossible may turn out to be quite achievable.