Sunday, October 16, 2016

World Food Day

The message from the experts in many countries is that climate change, hunger and poverty must be addressed together in order to achieve the sustainable development goals set by the international community.

"Higher temperatures and erratic weather patterns are already undermining the health of soils, forests and oceans on which agricultural sectors and food security depend," FAO Director-General José Graziano said at the global World Food Day ceremony . "As usual the poorest and the hungry suffer the most and the vast majority of them are small family farmers that live in rural areas of developing countries," the FAO Director-General said, noting how adaptation and mitigation to climate change is fundamental, and that this requires "much better access to appropriate technologies, knowledge, markets, information and investments." 

Droughts and floods are more frequent and intense as are climate-related outbreaks of diseases and pests, he added, citing the terrible impact of El Nino in parts of Africa, Asia and Central American and more recently, Hurricane Matthew in Haiti.

The FAO slogan for 2016’s World Food Day is “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too”. This demonstrates just how far we are away from understanding poverty and hunger and the remedies required to cure the problem. It is not merely the technology in farming that has to be addressed. We already produce enough food for all the people on the planet but people still are hungry and many are dying of starvation. The world can now easily produce wealth sufficient to adequately house, feed, care for and educate the global population. Instead, we see hunger, disease, and homelessness around the world despite the concerns of governments and charities. We see rising child poverty and an increasing gulf between rich and poor. Rates of depression and anxiety are becoming an epidemic.

 It is the economic system and the political system that props it up which needs to be changed. Capitalism has failed and it now acts as a barrier, preventing production being geared to human need. Rather than constantly tinkering with this system, we should start looking beyond it to an alternative: a class-free world community based on production for human need, not profit. No one, not even us socialist “cornucopianists”, believe that the resources of the planet Earth are unlimited. The real problem is how those resources are distributed. This is the real problem–the class division among human beings.

World hunger is extensive in spite of sufficient global food resources. Therefore increased food production is no solution. The problem is that many people are too poor to buy readily available food. The market responds to money and not to actual need. Even in countries with excess food production millions are starving. According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, In 1997, 78 percent of all malnourished children aged under five live in countries with food surpluses. Even though 'hungry countries' have enough food for all their people right now, many are net exporters of food and other agricultural products - abundant food resources coexist with hunger. The belief that world hunger can be solved by increasing food production is an unsubstantiated myth. It has lead to policies by international organs that have supported farming policies that in practice have boosted production of expensive export foods on the expense of production of basic foods for the population. The world's food supply is abundant, not scarce.