Hunger in Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesSaint Vincent and the Grenadines is a nation in the Caribbean. Most are unaware that while the population teeters just over 100,000, the country includes 32 different islands. It is also home to an active volcano and some of the most fertile soil in the world. Interestingly, the hugely successful Pirates of the Caribbean films were filmed in Saint Vincent. While these facts are worth knowing, this article highlights some data to which there is a much greater reason to pay attention. Hunger in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a daunting issue.

Near the turn of the millenium, hunger in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines sat at 22 percent of the population. This means that nearly a quarter of the nation lacked sufficient nutrition.

However, as mentioned above, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines enjoys some of the most fertile soil on the planet. Livestock production also accounts for a significant percentage of the nation’s GDP. With such agricultural proficiency, the existence of dire levels of hunger becomes even more shocking and intolerable.

Due to the severity of hunger in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the problem could no longer go ignored. Under Prime Minister Sir James Fitz-Allen Mitchell, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines agreed to and adopted the goals of the World Food Summit in 1996. Other Caribbean countries, Barbados and Guyana, also embraced the proposed targets.

In addition to the goals and plan of action set out during the World Food Summit, as part of the Millennium Development Goals of 2000, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines incorporated further hunger-reduction goals.

In adopting both agreements, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines pledged to work to halve the percentage of its population suffering from hunger by 2015.

By 2012, undernourishment in the country was less than four percent. The targets of both the World Food Summit and the Millennium Development Goals were reached early.

Achievements such as these inspire efforts across the globe and demonstrate that whatever the magnitude of a hunger crisis may be, when tackled head-on, startling progress is possible.

In fact, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is not ending its mission to combat hunger just yet. In July of this year, it launched its bi-partisan Parliamentary Front Against Hunger and Undernourishment.

The Front comes as the country works alongside The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) toward achieving the goal of eliminating all hunger in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The United Nation’s FAO launched the Zero Hunger Challenge in 2012, laying the framework to meet the goal.

Cornell Holland

Photo: Flickr