THE world is hungry and with October being World Hunger Month, the statistics are shocking.
According to Wikipedia, an estimated 795 million people in the world do not have access to enough food, which equates to one in nine people.
The vast majority of the world’s hungry people live in developing countries, where 12.9% of the population is undernourished.
Recently, the South Africa Early Childhood Review 2016, produced by the University of Cape Town Children’s Institute, indicated that over a fifth of children under the age of five suffer from stunting, a condition which prevents them from reaching their full height potential due to chronic malnutrition.
In South Africa, the successes and failures of the land reform programme have been under the spotlight as an integral part of ensuring a viable and adequate food supply in the future. Climate change is also having a drastic impact on food production and in general, the picture is alarming.
Leader of the World Food Programme, Josette Sheeran, has set out a 10-point programme to beat world hunger: Humanitarian action, school meals, back-up plans for nations (for example, Brazil has linked small farmers to schools for food provision), connecting farmers to markets, ensuring proper nutrition to children within the first 1 000 days of their lives, empowering women, using the technology revolution (see the WFP programme on food vouchers), building resilience (through optimum use of land, planting of trees and focusing on irrigation), building partnerships between individuals and companies and finally, the commitment of country’s leaders to defeat hunger.
Sheeran believes it’s a battle that can be won, and while we may face a seemingly insurmountable obstacle in South Africa, the reality is that realistic and forward-thinking government policies, entrepreneurship and the ability to adapt, the commitment (of all the country’s people) to make a difference and a solid dose of hope and good sense can help us feed the people of South Africa.
Whether it’s a small start by planting a vegetable garden at your local school or finding a way to create a farmers’ market in your town, every effort and initiative can and will make a difference.