The current average life expectancy rate in Belgium is 81.2 years. This gives Belgium a World Life Expectancy ranking of 24.
The population of Belgium also enjoys efficient health care that is financed through social security and taxes. Although Belgium does not face many hunger issues within its population, they have made many efforts in fighting world hunger.
The top 10 facts about hunger in Belgium presented below do not only tackle the issues that are prevalent in the country’s population today but also cover how this country has contributed to decreasing global hunger and malnourishment.
Top 10 Facts About Hunger in Belgium
- World War I severely and negatively impacted the economic and agricultural stability of Belgium which resulted in a rise in malnutrition. As a densely populated country that was industrialized and urbanized, Belgium depended on large imports of food. The most important product, wheat, was 80 percent imported. The German invasion forced Belgium to self sufficiently feed its territories. By September 1917, the caloric intake of the citizens was reduced to only 1,500 calories a day. This ordeal helped Belgium create more efficient procedures and policies for the present that prevents economically and socially devastating events from occurring again. The Single Administration Document was created in order to describe goods and their movement around the world, developing an organized procedure that documents large imports of agricultural goods.
- Belgium works with the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation (DGDC) of the Federal Public Service department for food aid in support of the more malnourished lower class. In turn, the DGDC cooperates with the Belgian Survival Fund (BSF) that helps manage the agricultural program budgets to aid in economic and agricultural sustainability. Belgium addresses food shortages with prevention techniques, potential crisis solutions, food aid, food security, BSF and structural agricultural aid.
- The DGDC spends $22.6 million annually on projects to reduce global poverty through food aid and security. Through the BSF, the DGDC allocates $45.2 million in order to finance programs focusing on the causes of food insecurity and poverty. Belgium spends several million dollars supporting structural agricultural aid through multilateral, bilateral and nongovernment organizations funding.
- Not only does the DGDC fund programs and projects, but annually increases its contribution to global humanitarian organizations. The DGDC compromised with the World Food Programme (WFP) in favor of more sustainable local markets of food in Africa. The WFP spends over $905 million on food and distribution, making it the largest contributor to the African market and largest consumer of food in the global community.
- Belgium supports multiple programs and policies in order to improve food aid security and poverty by spending millions to tackle negative agricultural, economic and social factors every year. Belgium contributed and $5.5 billion for food aid in 2016.
- The DGDC encourages structural intervention to maintain agriculture and food security. In direct collaboration with the government of partner countries, systems and networks are strategically built in order to increase food production. Funding is acquired from multilateral cooperation through the European Union and the Consultive Group on International Agricultural Research.
- Belgium is one of the key players in the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). A new agreement signed on June 5, 2016, strengthens the collaboration between the two as they work together to improve agricultural sustainability and aid malnourished populations. Support is mainly aimed at FAO’s Regular Program budget through the Multi-Partner Programme Support Mechanism (FMM).
- The Belgian Fund for Food Security (BFFS) is an organization with a wide range of policies that ensure all aspects of food insecurity are addressed. Sufficient availability of food production and income to purchase food are priorities when proposing food aid programs. The BFFS focuses on sub-Saharan Africa in areas of high food insecurity with a budget of $282.7 million, designed to last from 2010 to 2022.
- Belgium contributes to reducing global poverty with many food aid programs. The distribution of free food to those who suffer from food insecurity is managed through the WFP, as well as the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) and various Belgian nongovernmental organization. Food security projects help restore agricultural stability by distributing seeds, fertilizers and equipment to those after suffering a crisis.
- According to multiple studies referred in a Flanders today publication, senior Belgians are more likely to be malnourished because their bodies do not communicate hunger and they do not receive the necessary protein and fiber. Seven percent of the elderly population are malnourished whereas 29 percent of older adults are at risk of dietary deficiencies. Professor Maurits Vandewoude of Antwerp University, who co-operated one study, states that many older adults over the age of 65 will claim that nothing is wrong because they don’t feel sick. However, Vandewoude articulates that those making the claims are still mobile and have not seen extreme changes.
By learning from war and history, Belgium has successfully decreased the level of malnourishment apparent in the country.
The country donates its time and money to organizations that help countries around the world to fight hunger, and many government institutions help increase agriculture and food security.
This top 10 facts about hunger in Belgium list highlights the important role the country of Belgium plays in the international community and serves as an example of how dedicated the global community should be to eradicating world hunger.
– Aria Ma