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6 Facts about Hunger in Austria
Austria is a European nation inhabiting roughly 8.7 million people. It is famous for being one of the most prosperous economies of the nations in the EU. The nation is highly developed with important industries being food and luxury commodities, mechanical engineering and vehicle manufacturing. The capital of Austria, Vienna, is the country’s most famous city and the most popular tourist attraction. Vienna ranked as one of the top cities in the world for global quality of living. Austria has successfully combatted hunger and continues to do so. Here are six interesting facts about hunger in Austria that explains its success.

6 Facts about Hunger in Austria

  1. About 12% of Austrian nationals are at risk of poverty while 33% of non-nationals face the same risk. In other words, Austrian natives are much less likely to struggle with poverty and hunger than those who have migrated there. This could be attributed to a number of things such as assimilation to a new culture and their food prices.
  2. Austria has been a member of the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization since 1947. The goal of this organization is to help eradicate global hunger. Austria’s contribution makes up just under 1% of the FAO’s budget, which may not sound significant but is equivalent to about $2.6 million.
  3. Austria, although industrialized, has a large agricultural population. In recent years, there has  been an increasing trend in organic farming. This trend of organic farming has contributed to the reasonable prices of agricultural products. The nation is the 14th most food-secure ranked country. Food security is a measure of available food resources in comparison to those who need it which can help explain the low percentage of hunger in Austria.
  4. Environmental protection is an extremely important item on the nation’s political agenda. This includes prioritizing the availability of clean drinking water throughout the country. As a result of implanting the EU Water Framework Directive, the water quality in Austria’s lakes raises to “excellent levels.” In addition, the EU Water Framework Directive assesses the ecological state of bodies of water for best drinking practices.
  5. Austria has low undernourishment rates compared to other nations. This means that Austrians are less hungry and the food they are eating has solid nutritional value. Specifically, about 3% of the population in Austria is going hungry while the world average of hunger is slightly over 10%.
  6. In Austria, the total of “in-work at-risk of poverty” rate is about 7.7% compares to the European average of about 9.4%. While Austria’s working-poor average is low, this population still exists and is in need of help. Additionally, this working poor population can be due to the fact that Austria did not have a mandatory minimum wage. However, the Austrian government established a mandatory monthly gross wage of $1,000 in 2008.

It is evident that Austria has done a relatively good job of keeping its citizens fed while trying to help other nations reduce their rates of hunger as well. Austria is a great example of a country that is working to keep its citizens fed and healthy.

Danielle Wallman
Photo: Flickr

Top Ten Facts About Hunger in Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is home to nearly 11.5 million people and has lasted through a communist regime for more than 50 years. U.S. sanctions were designed to dislodge the leader, Fidel Castro, and his regime; surprisingly, the island of Cuba has survived long after the collapse of its biggest supporter, the Soviet Union.

During the last 50 years, the government of Cuba has worked to eliminate poverty and hunger; however, many analysts argue that the economic system envisioned by Fidel Castro has not lived up to its plans. The Revolution was centered around the idea of eliminating a class structure, yet, the country has been left poor.

Nevertheless, the government of Cuba has continued its support of Castro’s ideology and is now working to eradicate issues such as hunger. To learn more about the country’s shortcomings and successes, here are the top 10 facts about hunger in Cuba.

Facts About Hunger in Cuba

  1. Social protection programs implemented within the last 50 years have greatly helped Cuba reduce hunger. The government of Cuba provides monthly food baskets, mother-and-child health care and school feeding programs. These programs are reliant on food imports and are dependent on the national budget.
  2. Guided by the government’s commitment to leave no Cuban unprotected, the leadership of Cuba reformed its economic model. This process began in 2011 and had the goals to reduce costs, increase the viability of social programs and boost overall efficiency. Food scarcity was recognized as one of the nation’s top priorities.
  3. In 2015, about 3.5 million people visited Cuba, causing a surge in the demand for food. Food scarcity was in part due to the U.S. embargo, as well as poor planning by the Cuban government. The foods that many families relied on went instead to restaurants that catered to the increase in tourism. The prices of essential food have risen exuberantly, leaving the average Cuban at a big loss.
  4. The typical Cuban family has poor nutrition as there is often very little food diversity, and Cubans traditionally eat very few vegetables. In 2011, the government began its attempts to implement its National Plan for the Prevention and Control of Anemia. Children under the age of five are specifically targeted in this effort; however, by the end of 2015, it was reported that 31.6 percent of children aged two, and as many as 39.6 percent of children six months or younger, suffer from anemia.
  5. There are still periods of food shortage in Cuba. Maria Julia, a single mother from Santiago de Cuba, described the food shortages that occurred in December 2014 and January 2015. She and countless other Cuban families had no access to chicken — the main protein in Cuban cuisine. Schools could not provide lunch or snacks for the children during these periods, further challenging struggling parents.
  6. The Cuban government covers half of an individual’s nutritional needs at a very low cost. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization recently honored Cuba for its low levels of malnutrition and hunger. Although unable to provide an average Cuban with all their nutritional needs, the government has managed to provide supplements and extra rationed items for the elderly, children and those suffering from chronic illnesses.
  7. Food scarcity has caused families to struggle to create main meals; often by the end of the month, most Cuban families have usually already eaten their ration. This results in difficulty finding sustainable meals, and families tend to rely on social networks to acquire their essential food items.
  8. In dealing with food scarcity, Cubans had to adapt to different food than their traditional preferences. Many refuse to accept available food as viable, yet, they continue to consume the food out of necessity. The food available through the government does not reach cultural standards, so the Cuban people’s disdain is a sort of symbolic rejection.
  9. Nitza Villapol, one of the main Cuban food authorities, has encouraged the change in the traditional Cuban diet through cookbooks aimed at the average Cuban. The cookbooks and state-approved television shows teach Cubans to cook without staple foods. Food scarcity made traditional ingredients like pork, milk, butter and bread extremely difficult to attain.
  10. After the crash of the Soviet Union in 1991, Cuba’s sugar economy plummeted for nearly a decade. The government ordered the shutdown of 71 out of 156 sugar refineries in Cuba. Farming land that was once used for sugar is now used to supplement the monthly rations given by the state. Farmers generate cooperatives so that locals can survive off state-sponsored food in conjunction with local farming.

Independence and Eliminating Hunger

Currently, the small island of Cuba imports 60-80 percent of its food. State officials are encouraging the continuation of cooperative farming to avoid dependency on other nations. Additionally, urban farming started in the 1990s and is regarded by the government as an acceptable mean to supplement the monthly rations.

The island of Cuba is working very hard to eliminate hunger. These top ten facts about hunger in Cuba demonstrate both the areas in which the goals of the regime have fallen short, as well as the successes of Castro’s vision.

– Stefanie Babb
Photo: Unsplash