Global Hunger In 2021, the number of people affected by hunger globally rose to 828 million, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. Lack of access to food, nutrients and water is a challenge that many people face, especially in underdeveloped countries. On the bright side, the following tech innovations are helping to put an end to global hunger. 

ShareTheMeal App

ShareTheMeal is a global app that allows you to donate meals to children in need all over the world. One in seven children does not have enough food to lead a healthy and active life. This app only requires one press of a button and $0.8 to feed a hungry child for one full day. The United Nations World Food Program provides the meal and shows you the location of the children you are helping. Its purpose is to empower people to end global hunger, and it has already shared at least 3 million meals across more than 80 countries

Going Digital in Ethiopia

Around 83% of Ethiopians live in rural areas where many families are dependent on their own agricultural production. It is vital for them to have access to education on agronomic information. According to the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), ensuring farmers receive up-to-date knowledge and data pertaining to agronomic information in a timely manner remains a great challenge in Ethiopia. However, Ethiopia now has an Agricultural and Farmer Hotline created by the ATA. With the creation of this hotline, about 500,000 users receive updated agronomic information on their cell phones via text messages and automated calls to help plan their operations. Having immediate access to new information will help smallholders make more informed decisions about their farming practices. The hotline also launched a Helpdesk that allows smallholders to ask questions and report issues to experts in the field.  

The Sanku Dosifier

Nearly half of the deaths among children under 5 years old are linked to undernutrition according to WHO. Globally, 8,000 children die every day due to preventable illness because of the lack of basic minerals and vitamins in their diet. However, the award-winning Sanku’s Dosifier adds precise amounts of essential nutrients into flour during the milling process. Sanku’s solution focuses on communities living in poverty. Most of these communities cannot afford fresh, nutrient-dense food items, so instead they live on calorie-dense, nutrient-poor maize flour to ease their hunger. Sanku partners with millers whose customers have a high incidence of poverty. Around 95% of those that Sanku has reached live on less than $5 a day and struggle to intake all of the necessary nutrients. So far, 2 million lives have been impacted by the Sanku Dosifier. 

Hippo Roller 

The average distance for women and children to walk for water in Africa and Asia is 3.7 miles according to World Visions. These communities typically balance heavy loads of water on their head (about 5 gallons), making it hard to access clean water without exhaustion. However, Hippo Roller is a drum that rolls over most terrain and holds about 24 gallons of water per drum. This reduces the time and hard work put forth just to access clean water. So far, 65,000 rollers have impacted lives throughout 50+ countries. 

WFP Innovation Accelerator Producing Less Food Waste

Almost one-fourth of produce grown for export in Kenya is rejected purely for its looks. According to WFP, that is the equivalent of throwing away 600,000 tomatoes every day purely because they “look ugly.” WFP launched a pilot project to change the destination of these vegetables from landfills to lunch by sending them into the country’s school meals program. The initiative is reducing food waste while also providing more meals for children in Kenya. Throughout the first four months of the initial project, WFP rescued more than five tons of produce and transformed it into meals for 2,200 children for 75 days

– Paige Falk
Photo: Unsplash

food waste and global hungerAccording to World Food Program (WFP) USA, food waste and global hunger are directly correlated. Food waste, alongside conflict, lack of resources and chronic poverty, is a key cause of hunger in the world today. Annually, as much as one-quarter to one-third–approximately 1.3 billion tons–of all food is wasted or lost globally. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, $4 billion in food was lost in 2011, significantly exceeding the amount of foreign assistance the region received that year.

Lack of Access

The issue of global hunger is generally a lack of access to food, rather than lack of food supply. Considering that $1 trillion in edible food, enough to feed roughly 2 billion people, is discarded around the globe each year, it would seem that examining and addressing food waste could be a significant step in alleviating global hunger.

Projections indicate that a 25 percent decrease in global food waste could provide enough food to feed all who are malnourished in the world today. Food waste has multiple root causes, depending on the region and level of development where it occurs. In developing countries, food loss and waste is usually the fault of lack of technology and infrastructure in the agricultural and transportation sectors. Conversely, developed countries tend to create food waste because of overproduction or consumers purchasing more food than needed.

Combating Hunger

To combat food waste and global hunger, the United Nations (UN) and other organizations have created initiatives to increase efficiency in food production and minimize waste. One such initiative is the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), to which the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with nine countries, pledged about $1.4 billion over the course of three years.

Since its creation in 2009, GAFSP has been able to target 2.5 million farmers, deploy approximately $332 million, approve 61 investments spanning 27 countries and approve 67 advisory projects across 30 countries in the developing world. Today, GAFSP is working on projects ranging from modernizing the dairy industry in Mauritania to promoting the growth of sustainable development in the palm oil sectors of Liberia and Sierra Leone.

These contributions, in addition to the $4.4 billion invested in the private sector by the International Finance Corporation in 2013, jumpstarted projects to provide access to seeds, equipment, information, markets and finances for producers and farmers in developing countries. The Global Irrigation Program (GIP), created by the IFC, continues to support irrigation suppliers and farmers by creating access to and availability of effective irrigation equipment, thus helping to manage water use in farming communities.

The Impact of Aid

The World Bank notes that initiatives such as these have led to significant improvements relating to food waste and global hunger in recent years. As a direct result of the International Development Association’s efforts, over 210 million pregnant and/or lactating women, children under the age of five, and adolescent girls in developing regions gained access to basic nutrition services from 2003 to 2013.

Food waste, along with other factors such as poverty and conflict, is a root cause of global hunger. Initiatives to address hunger and malnourishment worldwide have sought to improve the efficiency of food production and minimize sources of food waste; these initiatives are making significant progress toward the Sustainable Development Goal of eliminating hunger by 2030.

– Shania Kennedy
Photo: Pixabay