Saturday, July 02, 2022

If there are hungry people, give them food to eat

 The political commentator Vijay Prashad has written an article on the current food crisis, pointing out that the problem predated the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The world food market was already stressed before the conflict in Ukraine, with prices going up during the pandemic to levels that many countries had not seen before. 

UNICEF, reports that every minute a child is pushed into hunger in 15 countries most ravaged by the global food crisis.

Twelve of these countries are in Africa (from Burkina Faso to Sudan), one is in the Caribbean (Haiti) and two are in Asia (Afghanistan and Yemen). Wars have degraded the ability of the state institutions in these countries to manage cascading crises of debt and unemployment, inflation and poverty. The levels of hunger are now almost out of control. Millions of refugees in these countries are almost entirely reliant upon U.N. agencies. 

Prashad writes, "While the war has been catastrophic for world food prices, it is an error to see the war as the cause of the spike. World food prices began to rise about 20 years ago, and then went out of control in 2021 for a range of reasons..," 

  1. During the pandemic, the severe lockdowns inside countries and at their borders led to major disruptions in the movement of migrant labor... 
  2. A consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic was the breakdown of the supply chain...
  3. Extreme weather events have played a major role in the chaos of the food system...
  4. Over the past 40 years, global meat consumption (mostly poultry) increased dramatically...
However, the war has almost broken this weakened food system. The most significant problem is in the world fertilizer market, which is now in a crisis. Cuts in fertilizer use by agriculturalists will lead to lower crop yields in the future unless farmers and farm companies are willing to switch to biofertilizers.

Due to the uncertainty of the food market, many countries have established export restrictions, which further exacerbates the hunger crisis in countries that are not self-sufficient in food production.

By the end of the 21st century, 141 countries in the world will not be self-sufficient and food production will not meet the nutritional demands of 9.8 out of the 15.6 billion people projected to be on the planet. Only 14 percent of the world’s states will be self-sufficient, with Russia, Thailand and Eastern Europe as the leading producers of grain for the world. 60 percent of Brazilian families do not have access to adequate food. Of the country’s 212 million people, the number of those who have nothing to eat has leapt from 19 million to 33.1 million since 2020.

Such a bleak forecast demands that we radically transform the world food system.

1 comment:

Mr. Magoo said...

Such a bleak forecast demands that we establish a resource based global economy.