In May, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the World Bank announced that they are strengthening their cooperative efforts to end global poverty and hunger. The two organizations are working together in supporting the governments of underdeveloped nations as they work to meet their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


The U.N. was founded in 1945 and is comprised of 193 countries around the world, all working to secure peace, end global poverty and hunger, and eliminate terrorism, among other objectives. The World Bank, meanwhile, is an organization with 10,000 employees that provides low-interest loans, credit and grants to developing countries for ventures such as agriculture.

Together, these two groups are working more closely to make sure that the SDGs set by the U.N. are accomplished by 2030. There are 17 goals listed on the U.N.’s website, including the end of global poverty and hunger, quality education and decent work and economic growth, to name a few.

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

In order to meet these goals by 2030, a framework agreement was signed in Rome on May 10 by Daniel Gustafson, FAO Deputy Director-General, and Hartwig Schafer, Vice President of Operations Policy and Country Services for the World Bank.

Both Gustafson and Schafer agreed that signing this agreement would speed up their goals and help both the U.N. and the World Bank work more efficiently together to end global poverty and hunger. Schafer stated that signing the agreement is an important step in strengthening the organizations’ joint commitment to making project-level assistance faster and more efficient.

The Agreement’s Impact

The very same day the agreement was signed in Rome, The Ghana News Agency reported a workshop was taking place, organized by the FAO and attended by members of the Coalition for African Rice Development. The workshop afforded members the opportunity to share information on improved rice production practices.

Abebe Haile-Gabriel, the FAO Deputy Regional Representative for Africa, stated that the FAO’s newest operation is an important mechanism for the achievement of their strategic framework.

With the signing of the new agreement and the already-evident action being taken, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development should be on track to reach its goal, and ending global poverty will soon be less of an idea and more of a reality.

Vicente Vera

Photo: Flickr

Reducing Food Waste
When the topic of world hunger comes up, the natural response might be to suggest that more food be produced to feed those in need. Before investing resources in creating more food, recycling or reducing food waste should be considered as an effective solution to world hunger.

Grocery stores waste more than 30 percent of food, which equals about $160 billion in America, according to author Tristram Stuart. That amount of wasted food would be enough to feed the 800 million people internationally who live in hunger.

A majority of food that gets thrown out is still edible. Supermarkets often reject food for cosmetic reasons like vegetables looking crooked or blemished.

Stuart also argues that grocery stores are marketed as having excess food. This leads to consumers buying too much food and throwing out their excess, which contributes to the waste crisis.

Certain organizations around the world recognized this problem and actively work to reduce food waste and world hunger. Equoevento is a non-profit based in Rome that donates leftover food from events to charities.

The Huffington Post reports that Equoevento distributed 200,000 meals from food collected at approximately 400 events.

Another organization in Kenya, called Enviu, takes food that is rejected for cosmetic purposes and distributes them to schools that need the extra meals.

In addition to feeding those in need, this practice demonstrates economic efficiency as farmers will not lose out as much on their produce getting wasted.

Methods for saving food even made an appearance at the Olympics this year. Refetto-Rio is an initiative, much like Equoevento, takes wasted food from the Olympic Village and converts it to meals for those in need.

Not all of us have the capacity to start organizations that reduce large-scale food waste, but we can attempt to reduce our own waste. By wasting food at home people actually harm the world’s hungry.

Consumers increase the demand for food by purchasing excess food that is not eaten. This causes global food prices to rise and makes food less affordable for others.

Paying attention to the food we waste and ensuring we only buy what we need is a start. There are a number of smartphone apps available, such as LeanPath, that show people the monetary cost of the food they waste.

Giving people a concrete representation of their waste can motivate them to be more efficient with their food and aid efforts in diverting unused food to those in need.

Technological innovations for food growth and quality should be encouraged; however, reducing food waste, on a large-scale and at a household level, is a more immediate solution that addresses food waste and world hunger.

Edmond Kim

Photo: Pixabay

World hunger factsSixteen years ago, the world decided it was time to formally prioritize ending world hunger. The United Nations (U.N.) Millennium Development Goal One (MDG1) was to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. MDG1, Target 1.C, was to “halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.”

The U.N.’s target was largely met: the proportion of undernourished people in the world’s developing regions has fallen by almost half since 1990. But, there are still 795 million people hungry in the world and more than 90 million children under age five are underweight and malnourished. World hunger facts offer us insight into why this is still a problem in the world today.

According to the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP), there are two faces to world hunger and 10 crucial facts to understand. The two sides to world hunger are crises and chronic malnutrition. Emergencies such as wars and natural disasters “account for less than eight percent of hunger’s victims.”

Chronic hunger can continue with no end in sight with people living on less than the recommended 2,100 kilocalories daily intake of food. This chronic hunger accounts for mental disadvantages in adults, stunted growth in children and weakened immune systems.

10 World Hunger Facts from the U.N. World Food Programme

  1. Approximately one in nine or 795 million people worldwide do not receive enough food to lead a healthy, active life.
  2. Most of the world’s hungry live in developing countries: 12.9 percent of the inhabitants of these areas do not have enough food.
  3. Asia is the continent with the largest number of hungry people, making up two thirds of the total number of malnourished peoples.
  4. Sub-Saharan Africa has one in four people undernourished; it is the region with the highest percentage of its population going hungry.
  5. Malnutrition causes 45 percent of the deaths of children under five. This accounts for 3.1 million deaths of children each year.
  6. In developing countries, one in six children is underweight.
  7. Stunting affects one in four of the world’s children and one in three children in developing countries.
  8. The number of malnourished could be reduced by 150 million if female farmers had the same access to resources as their male counterparts do.
  9. In the developing world 66 million primary children attend classes hungry, 23 million of those in Africa.
  10.  WFP believes that the 66 million school aged children could be fed with $3.2 billion per year.

Just as there are more than ten world hunger facts, so too are there many organizations working to combat world hunger. One group that is helping to end world hunger is The World Bank. The group has been working with other international groups by “investing in agriculture, creating jobs, expanding social safety nets, expanding nutrition programs that target children under two years of age, universalizing education, promoting gender equality and protecting vulnerable countries during crises.”

Rhonda Marrone

Photo: Flickr

end_global_hungerThe concept of poverty can be difficult to grasp, especially when it is far removed from our everyday lives.

While we may know that families go to bed hungry every night because they cannot afford to put dinner on the table, without tangible reminders that 925 million people around the world suffer from the effects of hunger, that knowledge often gets pushed to the background.

Overpopulation has been the most frequently blamed cause of starvation and global hunger, but there is more than enough food grown each year to feed the seven billion people on the planet. Then how is it that 2.5 million children die of starvation every year?

The answer to that question is complicated and has many contributing factors, but one reason is that a vast majority of the food grown today is fed to animals. The animal agriculture business has grown dramatically in the past 40 years, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

“Global meat production is projected to more than doubt from 229 million [tons] in 2001 to 465 million [tons] in 2050,” the organization states. In order to sustain the increasing demand for animal byproducts, farmers have to grow or purchase more and more feed for their growing stock of animals.

The amount of grain produced today is enough to feed the entire world twice over, but 70 percent of that grain goes towards feeding livestock. Half of the water consumed in the U.S. is used to grow grain for cattle feed.

The water necessary for meat breeding equals about 190 gallons per animal per day, which is ten times more than the average Indian family uses in a day.

Meat in general, but specifically beef, is an incredibly inefficient food source. In order to raise a cow to the necessary size for consumption, 157 million metric tons of grain and vegetable protein is used to produce a mere 28 metric tons of animal protein.

When that is scaled to the industrial scope the cattle industry is currently at, the massive amount of calories that could be consumed by humans but are instead fed to cattle, is tremendous. If these calories were redistributed to feed humans instead of animals, it could help end global hunger.

In 2010, a UN report said, “A global shift towards a vegan diet [one that does not include any animal products] is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change.” The report claims that the western meat and dairy rich diets have become simply unsustainable.

According to the same report, the meat and dairy industry account for 70 percent of global freshwater consumption, 38 percent of total land use and 19 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The vast amount of resources directed towards producing meat and dairy products is creating a food distribution issue. While there is enough food being grown, not enough of it is going directly towards feeding people, especially people in poverty.

Brittney Dimond

Sources: Global Issues, Live58, The Guardian, Gentle World, FAO
Photo: Flickr

The United Nations has called for the end of world hunger by 2030 in its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In Goal 2, of 17, the UN outlines the need for the promotion of sustainable agriculture that will improve food security and nutrition while protecting the ecosystem and fighting climate change. Although a tall order, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) along with the Austrian think tank, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, believe that the goal is attainable.

“I don’t think it’s all that ambitious to eliminate hunger,” said Jomo Sundaram, assistant director-general of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). He told Reuters he attributes his optimism to rising incomes in much of the world, improvements in transportation of food, and new technologies that are keeping yields of many key crops on an upward trend.

But in order to achieve the goal of eliminating world hunger, food waste and the inefficiencies of the livestock industry need to be addressed.

Despite the fact that that there is currently enough food produced globally to end world hunger, much loss and waste occur postharvest. According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), about 24 percent of all calories currently produced for human consumption are either lost or wasted.

The WRI reports that by reducing postharvest losses there will be more food available to farmers and communities, making food more affordable and accessible to the poor and food insecure. This can be done, the group states, through attainable solutions for developing nations such as pest-resistant packaging and cooling-cellar storage.

Changing dietary habits is another important solution to ending global hunger, particularly shifting from raising cattle as a source of protein to growing fruit, grain, and vegetables. According to the FAO, the amount of human edible protein that goes into raising livestock is higher than the human edible protein yielded from livestock. The group estimates that 26 percent of the world’s land that is being used for livestock grazing could produce better and more nutritionally valuable yields if converted to growing plant-based food for human consumption.

In addition to increasing the yield of protein rich crops, reducing the number of grazing livestock, particularly cows, will also lower annual greenhouse gas emissions. According to the FAO, “Livestock contribute both directly and indirectly to climate change through the emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.” The FAO estimates that 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock.

By implementing better waste prevention systems and simply eating less meat from grazing animals, the fight against global food insecurity could indeed be attainable.

Claire Colby

Sources: Food and Agriculture Organization 1, Food and Agriculture Organization 2, Huffpost Impact, The Physics Factbook, The World Bank, The World Factbook 1, The World Factbook 2, The World Factbook 3, World Resources Institute
Photo: fao

Breadfruit Could Solve World Hunger
What is breadfruit? Although it sounds fictitious, it is actually a real food with the potential to contribute to the eradication of world hunger.

Breadfruit is shaped like a football and has a prickly texture. The fruit grows on trees and is highly nutritious. It is not well known because many people find it bland and tasteless.

However, there are 6 reasons why food critics should stop turning up their noses at this fruit and they all pertain to helping starving people.

  1. Breadfruit is native to the Pacific Islands and grows best in sunny and humid climates. About 80 percent of the world’s hungry live in tropical and subtropical regions. Because these regions are best for breadfruit trees, breadfruit has the potential to feed thousands of hungry people.
  2. Breadfruit trees grow easily and begin to bear fruit within three to five years. They are not high maintenance and continue to produce fruit for decades. On average, larger trees can produce between 400-600 fruits while smaller trees can produce approximately 100 fruits.
  3. Breadfruit is nutritious. It is high in fiber, carbohydrates, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, thiamine, and niacin.
  4. Breadfruit can be prepared in a variety of ways including fried, frozen, fermented, pickled, boiled, baked, and roasted. It can also be ground into flour.
  5. Currently, there are pilot projects working to distribute breadfruit to places in need such as Honduras and the Caribbean. The Breadfruit Institute in Hawaii is a member of the Alliance to End Hunger. With their hard work and the work of other organizations such as Trees That Feed Foundation, breadfruit has fed people in Jamaica, Kenya, and Haiti.
  6. There are many breadfruit fans advocating for the fruit. Olelo pa’a Faith Ogawa, a private chef says, “I feel it’s the food of the future. If I were to speak to the breadfruit spirit, it would tell me: ‘Grow me! Eat me! It can feed villages!’”

Kelsey Parrotte

Sources: Business Insider, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post

Food Companies Leading in the Fight Against World Hunger - BORGEN
One out of nine people in the world go to bed hungry according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The United Nations World Food Programme is dedicated to reducing global hunger by offering food aid to developing countries in need. WFP has provided food for more than 90 million people. WFP partners with and receives funding from a few well-known food companies.

Yum! brands started the World Hunger Relief campaign as the largest consumer outreach campaign on the hunger issue. It is the world’s largest restaurant company with more than 40,000 restaurants in 125 countries. It is leading in the fight against global hunger through the campaign as well as through the mobilization of the 1.5 million employees as advocates for global hunger relief.

Yum! brands’ World Hunger Relief campaign has raised $100 million for WFP since 2007 with the help of global spokesperson Christina Aguilera. Yum! brands include Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.

PepsiCo is another partner of WFP. The company is more well know for its food and beverages than for the philanthropic PepsiCo Foundation. PepsiCo Foundation has donated $3.5 million to WFP to produce a food product made of chickpeas to help treat malnutrition in Ethiopia.

Unilever partners with WFP to make people more aware of global hunger through fundraising and campaigns as well as educational plan. They have targeted their consumer base in 13 countries in their campaigns against global hunger. Unilever has also assisted WFP in identifying what are the nutritional needs of the children to better help them.

Kelloggs, though not a partner with WFP, does important work to fight global hunger. Kelloggs donates over $20 million per year in food products for disaster relief and hunger. The company also has an initiative called “Breakfast for Better Days.” The initiative is focused on alleviating hunger specifically in South Africa, pledging to feed 25,000 children every school day in 2015. The company will dedicate one billion servings of Kelloggs snacks and cereal for global poverty alleviation by 2016 and has donated nearly 8 million breakfasts to FoodBank South Africa already.

An increase in awareness of global hunger has also increased the number of food companies coming on board to bring global hunger relief.

Iona Brannon

Sources: World Food Programme 1, World Food Programme 2, Hunger to Hope, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Kellogg
Photo: Flickr



Of the challenges of the 21st century, one of the largest in terms of magnitude and prevalence is food insecurity. The term food insecurity is used loosely to define inconsistent access to food, due to limitations of resources.

The issue is unfortunately highly prevalent in not only the developing world but in the United States as well. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 1 in 6 Americans face food insecurity. This translates to roughly 50 million Americans total.

These staggering numbers are indicative of what most of us are already quite familiar with: the issue of global hunger. However, the interpretation of its causes, and consequently the approach to its solutions, has been controversial. Many scientists, particularly biotechnologists, regard higher food production as the solution; and in many instances, it is effective.

As a result of agronomical developments, the world today is producing more food per inhabitant than ever before. However, the strides made in scientific innovation have not paralleled the alleviation of global hunger.

In fact, the implications of these discrepancies lie in the inequality of food distribution. For many people, food remains unavailable despite the copious amounts of food that go to waste each day. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, almost 35 million tons of food were wasted in the United States in 2013. Estimates by the National Resource Defense Council have estimated that 40% of all food produced in America is wasted.

To tackle the issue of wasted food, a Seattle-based startup has come up with a creative solution based on smartphone technology: Leftover Swap. Leftover Swap is a smartphone app that allows users to share their leftover food with others before it goes to waste. The users can snap a photo of their leftovers, and upload it on the app with a location tag. Anyone looking for food can then find all the shared food in their location. To make the app safer for users, it allows for instant messaging within the app where users can agree on a location to pick up food. The app also does not allow any user to charge for their leftover food.

The benefits and the range of applications for the app remain dubious: people who own smartphones are not necessarily the ones in dire need of free food provision. However, as smartphones become cheaper, it may be possible to reach marginalized populations. Moreover, it can be a way for food recovery networks to salvage more food that would have otherwise gone to a landfill.

Many people are also concerned about the degree of safety of the food. The Health Department does not evaluate this food, as it is not technically being sold. In spite of the app’s continual reminders to only share food one would eat themselves, the hygienic status of the food cannot be positively reaffirmed. The co-founder of the app, Dan Newman, contends that there is a certain degree of faith that needs to be put into this effort, as would be the case if one was being given food as a guest.

The app is to date the only app of its kind, and faces some hurdles before it can reach the objectives of sustainability and food equality that it intends. However, it is a step in the right direction, and as interest in the app increases, it is more than likely that we will see improvements both from this app and potential competitors.

Atifah Safi

Sources: Washington Post, NPR, , NRDC, Feeding America, USDA, Leftover Swap
Photo: Newsana

World’s Poorest Need Just $160 Per Year to Eradicate Hunger
A new report released last week by the United Nations has predicted that only $160 per year for each individual currently living in extreme poverty is necessary to eradicate hunger in the world by 2030.

The joint report, which was prepared by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Program (WFP), and International Fund for Agricultural Development, argued that such funding to eradicate hunger should be provisioned through both the transfer of cash and certain investments considered supportive of impoverished areas.

In order to meet the current base poverty line of $1.25 per day stipulated by the World Bank, the UN hopes that cash transfers will assist in the immediate elimination of hunger. Officials estimate that this undertaking would cost $116 billion per year, of which $75 billion would be designated to rural areas.

The UN has also estimated that an additional $151 billion per year will be necessary to fund “pro-poor” investment projects designed to support the predicted decreases in the frequency of poverty while also encouraging sustainability. Such endeavors could include the expansion of irrigation systems, the construction of more effective sanitation systems or infrastructural repair.

The FAO stated within their report: “Eradicating world hunger sustainably by 2030 will require an estimated additional $267 billion per year on average for investments in rural and urban areas and social protection so that poor people have access to food and can improve their livelihoods.”

The FAO estimates that over 800 million people across the earth still do not have access to adequate and sustainable food resources. A large portion of these people have been found to live in rural areas, a geographical prevalence which has caused many organizations to shift the focus of development projects towards rural regions in recent years.

Noting the necessity for increased efforts to eradicate hunger, José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the FAO, recently stated: “If we adopt a ‘business as usual’ approach, by 2030, we would still have more than 650 million people suffering from hunger.”

Graziano also argued, “The message of the report is clear: Given that this ($267 billion) is more or less equivalent to 0.3 percent of the global GDP, I personally think it is a relatively small price to pay to end hunger.”

The Sustainable Development Goals, which are new objectives designed by the United Nations to replace the outdated Millennium Development Goals, will be completed this fall and currently have created 17 different goals regarding global development. The second Sustainable Development Goal is focused on the issues of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.

In regards to the structure of plans outlined by the new report, Graziano stated: “We are championing an approach that combines social protection with additional targeted investments in rural development, agriculture and urban areas that will chiefly benefit the poor.”

James Thornton

Sources: Business Day Online, Reuters, India Times
Photo: NDTV


In April 2015, actress Gwyneth Paltrow accepted the #FoodBankNYCChallenge, which required her to live on a food budget of $29 for one week. Now she reflects on her experience with hunger and the challenge.

Celebrity chef and founder of the challenge, Mario Batali, says, “For one week, walk in someone else’s shoes. Knowledge is power, and by truly understanding what our friends and neighbors are going through, we will be better equipped to find solutions.”

Concerned with the cuts Congress was making to food stamps, Batali sought to encourage people around the United States to experience the difficulty of living on a miniscule allowance.

In addition to nominating Gwyneth Paltrow, he nominated celebrities Sting and Deborah Harry, neither of which participated but donated to the World Food Bank.

Soon after accepting the challenge, Paltrow snapped a picture of her purchases for the week. The caption read, “This is what $29 gets you at the grocery store—what families on SNAP (food stamps) have to live on for a week.” The picture showed brown rice, black beans, a carton of eggs and vegetables.

Her food choices received criticism, especially because the items did not offer the average person’s weekly worth of calories. However, her picture showed how difficult it is to eat healthy while living on food stamps.

Chief marketing and communications officer for the Food Bank of New York City, Silvia Davi, says, “Serving fresh produce is a very big part of what our program offers to families. What we distribute on a regular basis is fresh produce, a lot of the things that were in her image and in her photo.”

Paltrow admits that within four days she quit the challenge and ate chicken and fresh vegetables.

Reflecting on her four-day experience with hunger, Paltrow says, “My perspective has been forever altered by how difficult it was to eat wholesome, nutritious food on that budget, even for just a few days—a challenge that 47 million Americans face every day, week, and year.”

By walking in the shoes of the millions who survive on food stamps, Paltrow is grateful that she can afford to feed herself and her children healthy food.

She says, “I know hunger doesn’t always touch us all directly—but it does touch us all indirectly.”

Most importantly, Paltrow recognizes that hunger impacts millions of people around the world. She declares, “Let’s all do what we can to make this a basic human right and not a privilege.”

In addition to participating in the challenge, Paltrow contributed $75,000 to the Food Bank of New York City.

– Kelsey Parrotte

Sources: Daily News, Upstart Business Journal, Huffington Post, E News, Food Bank for New York City, The Wrap
Photo: ABC Today