Did you hear about the global food shortage? Food prices have doubled in the poorest countries causing 850 million people to go to bed hungry each night. The shortage is affecting the entire world either directly or indirectly. There are solutions to address the problem globally and there are things we can do at a personal level. This article will explore the root causes and present some solutions to the global food shortage.
What is causing the global food shortage? Food shortages have been around in poorer countries for a long time, but in the past year the price of food has doubled. One in five people in the world live on less that one US dollar per day. After the p rice of food doubled, a dollar is not enough money to even buy a bowl of rice. The major factors that caused the prices to double were rising fuel costs, growth of bio-fuels, increase food demand from densely populated countries, and natural crop failures. Fuel costs have caused food prices to rise everywhere but the poor countries were not able to absorb the increase. Bio-fuels provide more money to farmers for converting the grains to fuel, making it more profitable to sell the grain for fuel and causing prices to soar. In addition, diverting the grain for fuel reduces the amount of grain available for consumption and causes shortages.
What are the effects of the global food shortage? In short, people are starving and malnourished. Children suffer the most and do not develop normally. More of the family budget goes for food leaving less for the other necessities of life. In Haiti “mud biscuits” are made from clay mixed with a small amount of fat and salt then dried in the sun. This flavored dirt is all poor people can afford, but it causes malnutrition and intestinal problems with the parasites and toxins found in the dirt. A bowl of rice is unaffordable for most. Oxfam estimates that the current global financial crisis has caused an additional 119 million people to fall below the poverty line.
What can our governments do? First, we need to end all government subsidies for the production of bio-fuels. Bio-fuels might be a windfall for farmers, but increase the cost of grain and divert grain that could be used for food. Secondly, governments can fund programs to teach farmers in the poorer countries how to handle weather problems to avoid losing their crop, such as a farm pond that can be used to water the plants in a drought. Thirdly, we need to supply seed and fertilizer to jump-start the farming process, since most of the people can’t afford the basic farming supplies. Let’s work to make the poorer countries self-sustaining in the long run.
What can you and I do on a personal level? Make sure your government knows that you care about the food crisis. Volunteer your time and energy to organizations that are working to make a difference. Support worthwhile organizations with donations to feed the starving people, especially the children who are most vulnerable.
It is apparent from these facts that the global food shortage is devastating to the poorer people of the world. The crisis can be addressed by governments at the national level and by individuals at the personal level. There are many ways and different organizations where you can get involved. If you are not already affiliated with an organization please consider Compassion International, a Christian organization working to eliminate the starvation of children through individual child sponsorship. Choose an organization that you can support while we work together to end the global food shortage.
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