Information and stories about food security news.

Top 10 Poverty in Palestine
Palestine, a country consisting of Gaza and the West Bank, faces ongoing conflict with Israel, political instability and resource insecurity. While the historical and political scenario of Palestine is complex and cannot be simply explained, in the text below top 10 facts about poverty in Palestine are presented in order to provide a clearer picture of the situation in the country.

  1. Poverty is widespread and severe in Palestine. Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics finds that 29.2 percent of Palestinian individuals lived in poverty in 2017. In addition, 16.8 percent of Palestinians live below the poverty line. Individuals that live below the poverty line are unable to acquire the necessities of food, clothing and shelter.
  2. Poverty is particularly acute in the Gaza and Palestine’s refugee camps. While the 13.9 percent poverty rate in West Bank is alarming, over half of the individuals in Gaza and 45.4 percent of individuals in refugee camps live in poverty. Additionally, 33.8 percent of Gazans and 29.3 percent of those in Palestinian refugee camps live below the deep poverty line. Over 1.5 million individuals, displaced due to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, 1967 Six-Day War and Israeli occupation, live in Palestine refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
  3. Poverty in Palestine is on the rise. Palestine’s poverty level increased by 13.2 percent from 2011 to 2017. In the next two years, the World Bank predicts a decline in real per capita income and an increase in unemployment, given that the current scenario of Israeli restrictions and internal divide between West Bank and Gaza persists.
  4. Unemployment is alarmingly high. Unemployment in Palestine reached 27 percent in 2017, with unemployment in West Bank at 18 percent and Gaza at 44 percent. In fact, Gaza had the third highest unemployment rate in the world in 2017. The actual rate of unemployment in the West Bank and Gaza is higher than reported as these rates do not account for those who have dropped out of the labor market. Israeli settlements and import restrictions led to increased unemployment by damaging the Palestinian economy through increased production costs and decreased land and resources available for production.
  5. Foreign aid has played a large role in reducing poverty in Palestine. According to the Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics, public aid has reduced the poverty percentage by 11.5 percent, with deep poverty reduced by 20 percent. International aid, with the U.S. and U.K. as leading donors, is critical for the Palestinian economy. The West Bank’s economy is seen as fully dependent on aid and 80 percent of Gazans relying on humanitarian aid for survival.
  6. Just under a quarter of all Palestinians are food insecure. Many Palestinians lack the resources to put substantial meals on the table. Food insecurity poses a threat with 32.7 percent of Palestinians or 1.5 million people that are food insecure. In Gaza, this figure jumps to 68.5 percent.
  7. Water quality is low, particularly in Gaza. Water experts have agreed that 97 percent of the water in Gaza is polluted. Dangerous diseases such as diarrhea that now affects 80 percent of children under the age of 3 have become more widespread as a result.
  8. Some Israeli policies hinder Palestine’s economic growth. A 12-year blockade of the Gaza strip, a separation wall in the West Bank and time-consuming checkpoints are all Israeli policies that harm Palestine’s economy. Israeli land restrictions in the West Bank lower Palestine’s GDP by $3.4 billion a year, or 35 percent of Palestine’s economy, by restricting Palestinian access to agricultural and resource-rich land.
  9. Gaza is currently facing an electricity crisis. The two million Palestinian residents of Gaza receive electricity for no more than eight hours each day. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, for the past decade, Gaza has suffered from a chronic electricity deficit or a situation where demand for electricity far exceeds the supply. The shortage of electricity has decreased the availability of water, sanitation and health services, along with undermining Gaza’s fragile economy, particularly the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
  10. Many organizations are working persistently to alleviate poverty in Palestine. One of those organizations is the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that gives support to the most vulnerable communities through sustainable economic empowerment approaches that decrease dependency on aid. An example of a UNDP project is the Deprived Families Economic Empowerment Programme, a project that aims to graduate impoverished families from being recipients of humanitarian assistance to being economically self-sufficient by providing services specific to their needs. The financial services provided through this program generated 23,000 paid and sustainable jobs and 9,560 family-owned enterprises. The Boycott Divest Sanction (BDS) movement also intends to improve the lives of Palestinians through applying economic and political pressure on Israel to end their occupation of Palestine.

These top 10 facts about poverty in Palestine are just snippets of the complex picture of political, historical and economic factors that influence the Palestinian standard of living. There is no magic bullet solution to poverty in any country, but a combination of international support and political collaboration has the potential to greatly improve the lives of many Palestinians.

– Carolina Sherwood Bigelow
Photo: Pixabay

effects of el nino
The 2015-2016 El Nino climate pattern was one of the most extreme occurrences in years, affecting almost 60 million people, more than half of whom live in Africa. The effects of El Nino created extreme weather changes, ranging from severe drought to severe flooding. These changes posed drastic problems for the population. Drought caused food insecurity and poverty due to crop failure, and flooding created problems with sanitation and increased the spread of water-borne and communicable diseases. Furthermore, flooding threatened infrastructure and housing. The damage also restricted access to healthcare facilities, preventing victims from receiving the help they need.

The Effects of El Nino on Africa

In Southern Africa, El Nino-related droughts had led to massive crop failure. South Africa had a 25 percent drop in maize and a 23 percent drop in grain production. Maize prices were the highest they had ever been following the drop. The drought aggravated the existing food insecurity, with 14 million people already hungry and as crop failure continued, the number of people at risk of hunger increased.

Most El Nino effects are related to soil dryness or reduced rainfall, but in 2016, this occurrence resulted in a massive drought. In Cambodia, 2.5 million people were left without access to clean water. People had to travel long distances in search of clean and drinkable water after the wells and ponds had dried up. In South Africa, parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia, these effects of El Nino are still posing problems. In past years, most food production decreases have corresponded to El Nino, regardless of its magnitude.

The Effects of El Nino on South-East Asia

South-East Asia faced droughts and below-average rainfall as well. Thailand had faced its most severe drought in 20 years during the 2015-2016 El Nino. Water levels in dams throughout the country fell below 10 percent, leading to Thailand pumping water from nearby rivers. The Mae Jok Luang Reservoir, for example, typically served 11 sectors and can now, as a result of El Nino, can only serve one.

The droughts hit farmers hard, causing mass crop failure. Rice production and exports especially had gone down in Thailand. Consequently, many farmers found themselves in debt and unable to pay back loans. To deal with financial stress, many Filipino farmers started sending their children into town to work instead of going to school. Indigenous farmers turned to odd jobs as well, giving up on trying to farm in the drought.

The Effects of El Nino on Latin America

Effects of El Nino on Latin America often vary, and in 2016, there were droughts in Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, Central America as well as floods in Argentina and parts of Peru and Chile. Areas like Brazil had an increase in wildfires and tropical storms as a result of El Nino. Similar to South-East Asia, farming and fishing industries faced decreased production and exports during El Nino.

This was not the first time that El Nino has harmed the health and population of South American fisheries. The 1972 El Nino played a major role in the collapse of the Peruvian fishery, the largest fishery in the world at the time. With less fish, the population of seabirds also decreased, which damaged the seabird-dependent fertilizer industry. The impact on agricultural production led to higher food prices and lower food availability.

As a result of El Nino, 2.3 million people in Central America needed food assistance in 2015-16. The weather conditions also posed a great threat to civilians. Peru declared a state of emergency in 14 provinces where the lives of two million people had been at risk of mudslides and flooding. In October 2015, 500 people in Guatemala City died because of widespread mudslides.

Aid for Countries Affected by El Nino

Fortunately, there are organizations working to combat the effects of El Nino. Care, a nongovernmental organization, for example, has distributed food and emergency supplies to drought-ridden countries. In Cambodia, Care distributed water tanks and filters to the most affected areas. They had continued aid well into 2017.

While the work of organizations like Care is valuable, long-term plans to combat general climate change is necessary for countries to prepare for future climate change events. The results and effects of global warming and weather changes can be felt throughout the whole world, and the countries that suffer the most are usually less developed ones that do not have the right tools to combat this issue. People need to start taking climate issues seriously before it becomes too late to recover from these effects.

– Massarath Fatima

Photo: Flickr

Seed Banks Can Help Impoverished Areas
The way that humans have evolved and adapted to changing climates have all been surrounding our food. Today, although it may seem that there is an abundance of food, in reality, it is scarce. In our world, 812 million people face hunger and malnutrition every day for countless reasons.

Working to fight world hunger and continue to adapt to a changing environment are top priorities to ensure that the human species continue to thrive. Through agricultural education, environmental conservation and the efforts of seed banks we can alleviate the issue of world hunger.

Definition of Seed Banks

Before getting into how seed banks can help impoverished areas, their definition needs to be established. A seed bank is essentially a gene bank for seeds. They are created in order to prepare for natural disaster and climate changes. By taking seeds from all different plant variations these banks aim to preserve the biodiversity that the world currently has. There are currently more than 1,000 seed banks worldwide established, ranging from the Doomsday Vault that is capable of withstanding being bombed to the small craft container.

The Importance of Seed Banks

Seed banks are mainly a preventative measure in the case that something goes horribly wrong. They are created for the chance of natural disasters, nuclear fallouts and outbreaks of disease. The industrialization of agriculture has made our crops less genetically diverse, and therefore less able to adapt to their surroundings. Seed banks preserve the genetic diversity of the plants in the world. This means that plants designed for different climates will not go extinct as the world’s ecosystem changes.

Location of Seed Banks

Seed banks are located everywhere. In the United States, there are 20 registered seed banks alone. These seed banks are also essentially ensured since there are backup collections of all seeds at the National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation in Colorado. Worldwide, there are more than 1,000 seed banks in place. The largest seed bank is Svalbard International Seed Vault. It is nicknamed the Doomsday Vault. It’s located on the side of a mountain in Norway. It is able to survive bombings, earthquakes and other disasters. It holds 825,000 seed varieties currently, and, even if the power goes out, the vault has the ability to store them for up to 25 years. Seed banks come in all shapes and sizes though. There are many large seed banks on each continent, but individual states and communities also have created smaller seed banks.

Everyone Can Participate

Everybody can create its own seed bank. It is as simple as taking the seeds from the produce and freezing them in a little container for later use. People can also take seeds and donate them to help fight world hunger and feed families across the globe. Organizations like Seeds to the World, Seeds of Peace and Seed Global Health all accept donations of seeds from the produce people eat every day as well as prepackaged seeds. There are also many nongovernmental organizations that support the production of community seed banks worldwide, including the Local Initiatives for Biodiversity Research and Development (LI-BIRD). This organization supports the efforts of local farmers in impoverished areas to overcome the lack of agricultural diversity.

With the rise of genetically modified plants and climate changes people all across the globe face issues related to agriculture and food production. Seed banks can aid areas that are most affected by hunger by ensuring the conservation of local crops that are already adapted to the region and reviving the use of specific plants to provide agricultural stability.

– Emily Triolet

Photo: Flickr

Crop fields Nigeria
Food insecurity is outlawed by international rule of law. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on December 10, 1948, as a minimum standard of treatment and quality of life for all people in all nations. Article 25, section 1 of the declaration states: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food.”

Causes of Food Insecurity

Often times, countries that are a part of the U.N. fall short on this promise to provide adequate nutritious food to everyone, including the United States of America. Malnutrition and food insecurity can be attributed to many causes worldwide, from political turmoil, environmental struggles and calamities, lack of financial resources and lack of infrastructure to distribute food equally within a country.

It is widely known that the poorest nations often lack the means or the will to sufficiently supply food to the people and their most vulnerable population, ethnic minority groups, women, and children often suffer the most.

In 2006, the Center for Disease Control reported that widespread media attention in 2005 brought global awareness to a food crisis in the West African country of Niger. According to the report, with a population of 11.5 million in 2002, 2.5 million people living in farming or grazing areas in Niger were vulnerable to food insecurity.

Food Supply Chains

In the United States, conventional food supply chains are used in the mass distribution of food. This method starts with produced raw goods. These products are transferred to distribution centers that may offload goods to wholesalers or sell them directly to food retailers, where these goods are finally purchased by consumers at grocery stores and markets. Food may travel long distances throughout this process, to be consumed by people who may have purchased comparable foods grown closer to home.

In her article entitled Food Distribution in America, Monica Johnson writes, “With each step added between the farm and the consumer, money is taken away from the farmer. Typically, farmers are paid 20 cents on the dollar. So even if the small-scale or medium sized farmer is able to work with big food distributors, they are typically not paid enough to survive.”

Hunts Food Distribution Center is one of the largest food distributors in the United States with over $2 billion in annual sales. According to the New York Economic Development Commission, it sits on 329 acres of land in the Bronx, New York and supplies over 50 percent of food consumed by people in the area, and also supplies food to about 20 percent of people in the region. Still, the Food Bank of New York City reported a meal gap of 242 million in 2014 and food insecurity of 22.3 percent, with 399,000 of people affected being children.

Solution to the Problem

About 13 years after the Niger food crisis the country is still one of the poorest in the world. The World Food Program (WFP), headquartered in Rome, Italy, continues to focus on fixing the problem of food insecurity in countries like Niger. Through helping those like Nigeriens build sustainable livelihoods and ecosystems for crop cultivation, the WFP hopes to lessen the high levels of food insecurity and issues related to it, such as malnutrition and high mortality rates among children under the age of 5.

Assisting locals to manage sustainable local food resources through soil conservation, water harvesting, rehabilitating irrigation systems and reducing the loss of biodiversity among other efforts, the organization focuses on local measures to solve food insecurity issues.

The same is happening in the United States. The country plans to upgrade agricultural facilities and operations, a plan that includes working with other food distributors at the state level to increase integration with upstate and regional food distributors, supporting local farms, and providing growth opportunities for emerging regional food distribution models.

Food insecurity is a big problem in developing, but in developed countries as well. Countries need to make sure to promote local agriculture development in order to achieve food production that will suffice each country needs.

– Matrinna Woods

Photo: Flickr

sustainable developmentNot so many people are aware that poverty exists in almost every place in the world, and not so many people realize what it means to be living in extreme poverty. Most commonly pictured is a group of poor, dirty people who are noticeably hungry and ill in their thin stature.

The sobering truth is, though, that many of the poorest people in the world actually live this kind of life. In order to improve such conditions, it is necessary to include environmental contributors to methods of sustainable development.

Health and Environment

The standard of living generally entails compilation and analysis to self-reports on the overall satisfaction of life, wealth and health statuses. A multitude of people living in extreme poverty report that they are unsatisfied with their living conditions. Around 25 percent of respondents to a survey said that a family member was in need of medical attention. Rates of people working more than one job, not having desired personal possessions and electricity were also gloomy.

Various ailments among those living with the lowest standards of living exist hand-in-hand with the state of that environment. For example, treating a patient for diarrhea is not too draining of a process, but finding the cause of diarrhea within that individual’s environment and eliminating that cause requires a higher amount of patience.

In the text below four examples of environmental inadequacies that exist in most areas of extreme poverty are presented, each with their own issues. Along with them is a key to moving forward in the sustainable development of these communities.

Water

Contaminated drinking water, poor hygiene and lack of sanitation are common water-related issues for people in many parts of the world. Unsafe water leads to many issues such as diarrhea, nausea, cramps, dehydration and other gastrointestinal related illness.

In order to implement safe water into sustainable development, proper infrastructure needs to be taken into consideration. Plumbing is a basic necessity to transport and store water safely.

World Vision is an organization that helps communities in need get working wells. SODIS is a solution that gives people a way to become self-reliant in preparing their own safe drinking water.

Indoor Air Quality

Air in homes or commercial areas unsuitable for breathing is frequently caused by the burning of solid fuels, smoke or other toxins. These conditions lead to respiratory infections, chronic pulmonary disease, asthma and even cancer. Such conditions lead to around 1.6 million deaths each year around the world.

Burning of safer (liquid) fuels would be the most effective and sustainable development solution to this condition. Other changes to occur would include ventilation systems and changes in heating and cooking appliances.

Pesticide Use 

Inadequate monitoring of dangerous pesticides has become an issue mostly only for underdeveloped areas. Due to the lack of regulations or means to enforce any regulations that are in place, struggling countries are ill-equipped to fight this battle. Contact with some of the most dangerous pesticides or contamination of foods, soil and water is poisoning people, causing as many as 335,000 deaths per year.

The most important way to combat this challenge is to educate policymakers and landholders in these areas of danger and offer a safer solution, such as approved pesticides.

Improper Land Use

Insufficient agriculture techniques, overhunting and deforestation all lead to disaster for those involved. When people are struggling for survival, sustainability becomes a luxury. When land is overused to degradation, there becomes an even more severe shortage of resources to compete for, meaning hunger and chronic malnutrition all can lead to a plethora of health issues.

Implementing more sustainable development for farming and agricultural can make a huge difference in this area. Programs such as the Global Food Security Act have been put into place to directly aid in global hunger.

Campaigns like The Borgen Project exist for the good of recognizing and reducing global poverty. Developed nations around the world have policies for foreign aid. Sometimes the goal is empowerment, education, improved health, decreased hunger or helping a nation enter the international market.

Every part of these goals is important to end poverty, and another concept of incorporating environmental awareness with health policies is becoming more popular when addressing sustainable development.

There is a multitude of treatable issues in undeveloped nations. For example, if people had access to vaccines for a given disease, then that disease could be directly managed by simple preventative care. Even though difficult health problems exist, undeveloped nations are making steady and sure progress towards truly improved health care.

– Heather Benton
Photo: Flickr

Saharan African
Between 2015 and 2016, world hunger rose by 20 million people, according to most recent estimates released in a 2016 U.N. report. This issue affects 815 million people worldwide. The single biggest cause of hunger is poverty, but there are also other heavily contributed factors. Since the turn of the century, food production has outpaced population growth, and the world now produces enough food to feed 1.5x the global population. The question of how to end hunger stretches beyond simply farming more effectively. To end hunger, we have to address the issue as more than a supply-demand deficiency.

Poverty

Only 11 percent of world hunger comes from developed countries; by far, the regions most afflicted by hunger are middle- and lower-income. In 2016, 22.7 percent of Sub-Saharan Africans were reported as malnourished. For those living on less than $2 per day, food can be too expensive to maintain a healthy diet. Economic hardship is further expounded by a lack of education and inadequate access to basic needs such as food, potable water and shelter. In this context, poverty and hunger have a cyclical nature. To reduce poverty, you have to reduce hunger and to reduce hunger, you have to reduce poverty. Take a look here to see how the Borgen Project plans to end poverty.

Armed Conflicts and Political Instability

Poverty is not the only factor in global hunger. Armed conflicts and political instability play a major role in keeping food out of hungry mouths. In recent years, conflicts have been rising, which may correspond to the increase of worldwide malnourished people.

War has also increasingly occurred in regions already vulnerable to disease and malnourishment, such as sub-Saharan and Eastern Africa. For example, South Sudan has been the site of a civil war since 2013. In 2017, the fighting played a major role in South Sudan undergoing the first declared famine in six years. Six million people (one in three residents of South Sudan) have been declared severely food insecure.

Violence takes away human capital, removing productive people from countries that need this capital the most. War destroys infrastructure, disrupts children’s schooling and creates more refugees. Peace is no easy task, but it’s a necessary one to achieve food security for all.

Steps Toward Ending World Hunger

The search for how to end hunger continues, despite the recent setbacks. Humanitarian organizations, such as Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) have worked hard to fight hunger and alleviate the problems associated with it. CARE works in 94 countries and impacts 80 million people worldwide.

Other organizations have developed more atypical answers of how to end hunger. Freedom From Hunger, a charitable organization dedicated to ending world hunger through economic empowerment, has instituted savings and micro-financing programs to people at risk of food insecurity. The goal of these programs is to help people plan for the future and pull themselves out of poverty through education, financial services and monetary savings.

The road to ending hunger will be long and hard. There will be more setbacks, but at the end of the day, it’s up to the world to pave a better future.

– Peter Buffo
Photo: Flickr

Global Food Security Reauthorization Act
The Global Food Security Reauthorization Act is a bill that re-implements the original Global Food Security Act in 2016, which essentially promotes and funds international nutrition programs. The bill itself will help millions of people worldwide who struggle with hunger, and the updated version of this act contains new amendments vital to the bill’s success.

What is the Global Food Security Act?

The Global Food Security Act was created in order to improve agricultural development internationally. Its main objectives were to establish the United States as a partner in the fight against world hunger, and to demonstrate that the U.S. government would continuously support bipartisan initiatives to prevent further malnutrition. The act also initiated alliances among the United States government, the private sector and nonprofit organizations, so that each branch could work together to pursue the bill’s goals.

Unfortunately, the original law only lasted one year — this was a major loss for all those who advocate for hunger alleviation efforts. However, the Senate reintroduced this bill in 2018, titled as the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act. This bill reaffirms the old law into existence, and adds new provisions to ensure its proper execution.

Thankfully, the new act had greater success in the Senate than its predecessor. It passed, and now awaits approval in the House of Representatives. The bill only needs a simple majority within the House, and then can be signed into law and its provisions will come to fruition.

Why Should the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act Pass?

This act will do a lot of good for a lot of diverse people around the world. This is a substantial step in the fight against world hunger and malnutrition. This is a win for the victims of hunger, and for all organizations, like The Borgen Project, who want to help people live longer, more productive lives. Some of the key reasons for the passing of the bill are as follows:

  • Firstly, the fiscal years in the new bill have extended to three years from one year in the original law, which applies to years 2018 to 2021. Unlike the 2016 act, the new bill allows more time to rightfully enforce the law. The law will be more effective since the government has more time to enact its provisions.
  • Secondly, the bill will also introduce a deworming program, which will rid individuals — mostly children — of parasites. These initiatives will occur after diet diversification and will help a number of children in different countries. The deworming programs will also encourage proper public health programs.
  • Thirdly, the focus of the bill will be on children and mothers, so that they receive an adequate and diverse nutrition, which will promote their local communities at its core.

These new provisions should allow for the proper implementation of the act, and the United States government will hopefully utilize this piece of legislation to keep its promise to help in global hunger alleviation efforts.

If the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act were to pass, then a plethora of families would be able to live healthier and safer lives, and consequently develop their societies and local communities even more. The effects of this bill will improve public health, education systems, family life and a whole host of other issues, so do your part to support and contact your representatives today.

– Diana Hallisey
Photo: Flickr

refugees of South Sudan
On July 9, 2011, South Sudan was granted independence from Sudan and became the first African country to secede since Eritrea’s division from Ethiopia in 1993. This succession was the result of a 2005 peace deal that would end Africa’s longest-lasting civil war. As of December 2013, a civil war in South Sudan began when President Salva Kiir accused the previous vice-president, Riek Machar, of planning to overthrow him.

Violence and Insecurity in South Sudan

Once this accusation was made, Machar led a rebellion that took control of several towns and killed thousands. Those that were left in the midst of this civil war were forced to flee to surrounding nations for protection and aid.

In fact, the civil war has caused over 1.5 million South Sudanese to be displaced; in fact, approximately 63,000 people are forced to leave their homes per month. That being said, one of the largest problems South Sudan faces right now is food insecurity. According to World Food Programme statistics, 40 percent of the country’s population needs food assistance. Looking at the bigger picture, this can be credited to lack of land, resources and labor, as a majority of these assets go to defense systems.

The Humanity Helping Sudan Project

The Humanity Helping Sudan Project (HHSP) aims not only to raise awareness for the world refugee crisis but also to create and implement strategies for self-sufficiency and long-term sustainability. This includes, but is not limited to, access to clean water, small-scale farming and fishing and refugee education.

The founder, Manyang Reath Kher, a former refugee of the South Sudanese civil war, spent 13 years as a refugee in various camps between the borders of Sudan and Ethiopia. When he traveled to the United States, he began to raise awareness for the world refugee crisis, especially of the conditions of refugee camps.

HHSP is an organization that guides the refugees of South Sudan out of refugee camps and equips them with the necessary skills to rebuild their lives. For instance, refugees are given portions of land and taught how to farm crops, fish from the rivers and maintain livestock. In addition, this population is also encouraged to attend school to learn skills (including how to build wells and maintain irrigation systems) in hopes of self-sufficiency.

734 Coffee and Future Progress

On the other hand, 734 Coffee, also founded by Kher, aims to raise awareness of the faces and stories of the refugees of South Sudan that create its coffee by finding ways to display the commonly unnoticed refugee impact on its coffee.

When addressing those in poverty, it is important to remember poverty is not solely about money but is rather multi-layered with aspects such as food insecurity, homelessness and advocacy ability. HHSP conveys such facets by using several projects to help the refugees of South Sudan rebuild their lives. These people are given the skills necessary to become self- sufficient in both the short and long terms, and their inspiring and impactful stories now have more of a means to circulate the world as well.

– Jessica Ramtahal
Photo: Flickr

State of International Food Insecurity
World hunger and food insecurity are on the rise. Food insecurity is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as “a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life” — the number of malnourished people grew from 777 million people to 815 million in 2016.

State of International Food Insecurity

The world population is projected to rise to around 10 billion people by 2050, and according to the U.N.’s “Sustainable Development Goal 2,” food production needs to grow by 50 percent for everyone to have enough food to survive on a day-to-day basis. It was estimated that global food insecurity had declined over the last decade — so why is it slowly growing now?

While food insecurity is a difficult and complex situation to solve, there are several factors that created the current state of hunger and malnutrition of society.

Why Has Global Food Insecurity Increased?

In 2017, there were a number of famine incidents that struck parts of South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen. Al Jazeera, a global news network that covers news in the Middle East, reported that nearly two million Nigerians have been displaced, and “Northeast Nigeria now faces one of the world’s worst food security crises, with around 3.8 million people who will face critical food insecurity and around 7.7 million in need of life-saving humanitarian assistance this year” due to Boko Haram attacks in the region. Violent conflicts around the world have also created a shortage in food production and availability for those hit hardest by food security issues.

The state of international food insecurity is not an optimistic one, but it does require action. Groups such as the United Nations World Food Programme and the Zero Hunger initiative fight to provide much-needed assistance to those living in the hardest-hit areas. Much of their work to help worldwide food security consists of coordinating efforts between governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), corporations and individuals.

Aid Organizations and Opportunities

On-the-ground groups such as the Lutheran World Relief focus on bringing water to communities while building cheap irrigation systems that provide water for crops and livestock. Another organization, the World Hunger Relief, Inc., focuses on teaching communities sustainable farming techniques and bringing vegetables to communities in food deserts. There is also work done out-of-country to help fight global hunger.

The Borgen Project works to influence policy in the U.S. so that aid can be given to those in need at a lower cost and quicker rate. The combination of overseas organizations and on-the-ground efforts has proved to be important in fighting hunger worldwide. But even if one doesn’t have time to join an organization to fight world hunger, there are many things every individual can do to help.

Some ways include: volunteering at food drives that aim to send food abroad or to communities in-need, donating to a local food bank, signing up to help sort food within food banks or food drives or writing to, emailing or calling elected officials to support food aid reform.

The Importance of Everyday Effort

The Borgen Project uses the latter strategy to facilitate policy changes over the years that make aid to foreign countries an easier task for the U.S. Even taking a few minutes out of a day to write an article or two about world hunger can raise awareness and help stop the tide of food insecurity.

All in all, today’s world has a growing population still facing the problem of global food insecurity. With the state of international food insecurity at risk, it is up to us as a society to step up and help others have a secure food source.

– Michael Huang
Photo: Flickr

Food Insecurity in NigeriaThe number of people who experience food insecurity in Nigeria is rising. Of Nigeria’s population of more than 160 million people, the number of undernourished people has increased from 10 million in 2010 to almost 13 million in 2012 and has been growing since.

Agriculture is the country’s main source of income, making up a staggering 40 percent of the country’s GDP. Yet, despite this, Nigeria is number 40 out of 79 on the Global Hunger Index. Though the country has grown its GDP from the six percent it was in 2008 to 8.4 percent in 2010, it remains that over 80 percent of the rural population in Nigeria live below the poverty line.

The Nigerian Government and Internal Programs

There have been various programs created by the country’s numerous governments to end food insecurity in Nigeria. Such programs are:

  • Operation Feed the Nation;
  • Green Revolution;
  • Lower River Basin Development Authorities;
  • National Agricultural and Land Development Authority (NALDA); and the
  • Directorate of Foods, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFFRI).

Unfortunately, these programs have all had dismal performances, and have all individually hindered – some have even contributed ­– to low agricultural and food production in Nigeria.

Because the government has consistently changed in Nigeria, there have been major policy changes regarding food and agricultural policies. These changes have caused major delays and have hindered agricultural production and distribution. Every new government that has come to power has abandoned the previous one’s agricultural policies. This has created mass instability in production and has blocked the progression towards ending hunger.

Gender is a Factor

Unsurprisingly, gender inequality in Nigeria can also be blamed as a major factor for the food insecurity in Nigeria. The women of Nigeria make up the majority of agricultural workers, though they are often underpaid if paid at all. Nigerian women have less and limited access to agricultural assets like inputs and service than their male counterparts. It is believed by analysts, that if women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase their crop production by 20-30 percent.

Continued Violence

The major cause, however, for much of the food insufficiency in Nigeria is the conflict and violence which has been largely due to ethnic and religious tensions in the northeast of the country. As of March 2018, the number of internally displaced persons has grown significantly. The displacement of people in Nigeria has increased to the concern of food insecurity. Over 650,000 people in the Borno State, alone, are at extreme, limited access to agricultural land and labor opportunities, and are thus, heavily dependent on assistance.

As seen in the Borno State, violence and displacement of people disrupts agricultural production and makes people dependent on emergency food assistance. The number of displaced persons is rising: as of April 2018, Boko Haram and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria was responsible for displacing more than 1.7 million people throughout Nigeria. Moreover, the summer months are the hardest for crops to grow in Nigeria. It is estimated that in the months of June through August of 2018, over 3 million people throughout the Northeast of Nigeria will face a food insufficiency crisis or worse.

Humanitarian Aid

International assistance is there. For instance, the USAID Office of Food for Peace (FFP) has provided emergency food assistance in Nigeria since 2015. The FFP works with non-governmental organizations to provide and distribute locally-purchased food, food vouchers, and cash transfers to over 800,000 people in dire need. Moreover, merged efforts between the FFP and the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) ensure that supplementary food supplies reach children and pregnant and lactating women to prevent acute malnutrition. Per month, this pairing of the FFP and WFP has helped provide over 1 million Nigerians with food since December 2016.

Almost all of the factors which create and add to the food insufficiency in Nigeria are man-made problems. Though Nigeria is not a poor country, its developmental management has been poor. It is believed that alongside the aid of international organizations like the FTP and the WTP, these problems need to be individually and properly addressed. If done so, then solutions will become apparent, and the problem of food insufficiency in Nigeria will quickly be resolved.

– Isabella Agostini
Photo: Flickr