Top 10 Facts About Hunger in Slovakia

Slovakia is a country located in Central Europe. It shares its borders with Poland to the north, Hungary to the south, Austria and the Czech Republic to the west and Ukraine to the east. In July 1993, Czechoslovakia split into two independent states: Slovakia and the Czech Republic. From the beginning of its time as an independent state, Slovakia has taken steps to eliminate hunger even though the country suffers from high rates of poverty. In the article below, the top 10 facts about hunger in Slovakia are presented.

Top 10 Facts About Hunger in Slovakia

  1. In 2018, Slovakia ranked 16 out of 119 countries on the Global Hunger Index scale. It has a score of 5.0 which means that its hunger level is very low. In fact, hunger levels in Slovakia are better than in Russia, which has a score of 6.1.
  2. Less than 10 percent of the population in Slovakia are considered malnourished. According to the Global Hunger Index (GHI), about 5 percent of Slovakians are lacking adequate food. The graph shows that hunger levels have been consistently dropping since the year 2000.
  3. The number of people who are considered undernourished in Slovakia is at 2.7 percent. Undernourishment has been declining since 2001 when it hit its peak at 6.7 percent. Even though Slovakia does not suffer from a hunger crisis, they still have to deal with other issues relating to food security and malnutrition. Changes in economic life have led to increased food prices, less spending money for the general population and groups of nutritionally-vulnerable people. Furthermore, changes in the economy have led to difficulties in food distribution. This is a very unique problem regarding the Top 10 Facts About Hunger in Slovakia.
  4. In Slovakia in 2011,  61.8 percent of adults were overweight. Men have higher rates of being overweight in Slovakia in comparison to women. Just under 69.6 percent of males are overweight in Slovakia while 56 percent of women are overweight. By the year 2030, it is estimated that the obesity rate for men will be around 28 percent and, for women,  18 percent.
  5. Agriculture is dominated by large scale corporations in Slovakia, so small, local farms are rare. One major problem is that the youth of Slovakia are uninterested in the farming industry. The Slovak Agency of Environment holds out-of-school environmental programs to increase education and training in agrobiodiversity.
  6. In 2005, there were about 81,500 people working agricultural jobs and more than 59,000 people working in the food industry. A decade later the numbers dropped to 51,000 and 50,200.  In 2016, only one-fifth of companies in the agriculture industry expected growth in their market share. Most of the agricultural companies revenue declined that same year.
  7. Between 2007-2014, milk production in Slovakia fell by 10.7 percent; although milk consumption increased by 17.5 percent. Meat production also fell, beef by 25.4 percent and poultry by 12.1 percent, as the result of a decrease in livestock. However, the consumption of beef, poultry and pork fell as well. The inconsistencies are due to constant changes in EU subsidy programs. “Sanctions against Russia leading to an excess of pork, record-breaking grain harvests, and unresolved problem of milk prices are all factors,” said Jiri Vacek director of CEEC research. This may directly affect some of the most important details about understanding the 10 Ten Facts About Hunger in Slovakia.
  8. In 2016, dairy producers experienced a crisis due to overproduction and low retail prices of milk. As an answer to the problem, the Agricultural Ministry stabilized the industry by supporting employment in dairy farming regions and focusing on a long-term solution. This plan included $33 million of support for milk products. Later that year, 1,760 dairy farmers had joined the project, giving financial support to farmers and providing important information.
  9.  In 2013-2014, subsistence farmers made up slightly less than 50 percent of the total number of vegetables produced. The biggest share of subsistence farmers per vegetable was cabbage at around 24 percent, tomatoes were just below 14 percent and carrots at just below 12 percent. Some of the other vegetables include peppers, onions and cucumbers.
  10. Slovakians do not eat enough fruits and vegetables per capita on a daily basis. The WHO/FAO recommends an intake of 600 grams of fruits and vegetables every day. Slovakians fall short of this number by more than 100 grams per day. Slovakians eat an average of 493 grams of fruits and vegetables per capita per day. This may be a factor in why Slovakians life expectancy falls shorter than the EU average.

Slovakia is considered one of Europe’s biggest success stories. When Slovakia originally separated from Czechoslovakia in 1993, the newly independent nation had an uphill battle to climb. However, a decade later Slovakia has taken major strides in becoming a successful, independent democracy. The country is not perfect, however, as Slovakia’s Romany population still suffers from high levels of poverty and social isolation. These top 10 facts about hunger in Slovakia show that hunger is not seen as a major problem.

Nicholas Bartlett
Photo: Flickr

Hunger in Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe is an island and French territory located in the Caribbean. Hunger in Guadeloupe has long been an issue, and that problem has evolved over the past decade.

In 2008, a food crisis struck the Caribbean. Many countries, such as Haiti, had trouble feeding their entire populations. Thousands of citizens from these countries began to riot and protest in the streets, and the Guadeloupean government was worried the same would happen in the island nation.

However, Guadeloupe has an advantage: France. Guadeloupe receives nearly 80 percent of its food as imports. This means that despite tropical issues that affect the Caribbean, the island doesn’t have to worry about feeding its people.

Just a few years after this crisis in 2011, Guadeloupe had an undernourishment level below 5 percent, which is on par with America and many other developed nations. Solving the problem of hunger in Guadeloupe with imports seems like a wonderful answer; however, it doesn’t come without some problems as well.

Guadeloupean people now rely on these imports, urged by the French government to export most of their domestic goods, and their preferences have become based on Western tastes. The problem with a lot of westernized food is that it is full of preservatives and has higher calorie counts than are necessary. Hunger in Guadeloupe no longer refers to undernourishment in the sense of too little food, but instead too little nutrients.

The scientific journal Diabetes and Metabolism found that depending on the particular part of Guadeloupe, rates of obesity vary between 17.9 to 33.1 percent. Another study by Women Health shows that there is an association between low education and low income with obesity. Imports are more expensive than healthy, locally grown fruit. This often causes families to resort to the unhealthy options simply due to cheaper prices.

To help stop this growing obesity rate, the Guadeloupean government must reduce the nation’s dependency on imports by using this rich, tropical farmland to grow fruits and vegetables. The only way they can do this is to work with the French government to encourage them to stop pushing for such great quantities of exports. Not only would this help provide healthier options, but it would help the local economy. More agriculture would provide more jobs to reduce the poverty rate, which is around 12.5 percent.

Scott Kesselring

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Ethiopia
Like many of the African nations that have gained their independence from a European power, poverty in Ethiopia has been exacerbated by regional conflict that caused widespread poverty to infect communities across the country.

Ethiopia was one of the first countries to claim their independence in 1896 after the Italians were rejected from the nation. Unfortunately, geopolitical conflict continued to plague the nation as the neighboring Eritrea staked a claim to its own independence in the late 20th century. The tension culminated in a border war at the turn of the century.

The social malady that most affects Ethiopia is malnourishment. In 1984, famine struck the nation which required a huge foreign aid response from the Western world. Ever since then, the Ethiopian government has had trouble feeding its large population of over 86 million. The nation remains reliant on Western nutritional support as their developing economy starts to emerge from its fledgling status.

Ethiopia’s GDP per capita began an early improvement in the 1990s, as the country began its recovery from conflict and famine in the 1980s. The Eritrean dispute forced GDP per capita down once again until the mid-2000s. Since then, Ethiopia’s growth has exploded to $541.87 up about 400 percent. The progress in the economy has helped reduce poverty rates significantly.

According to data from the World Bank, poverty in Ethiopia fell from 44 percent in 2000 to 30 percent in 2011. Fertility rate, which is highest in the poorest countries, fell from 7.0 in 1995 to 4.6 in 2011. Undernourishment, one of the biggest issues in Ethiopia, dropped from 75 percent in 1990-1992 to 35 percent in 2012-2014. These are just a few of the signs of an improving society.

Even so, there is still a long way to go. Based on the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index, Ethiopia ranks 174th out of 187 countries. In order to improve that statistic and further fight hunger, the East African country needs to improve its use of its valuable arable land. The Rural Poverty Portal estimates that “only about 25 percent of its arable land is cultivated.”

Expanding Ethiopia’s agricultural base is, perhaps, the most efficient way of reaching the population spread out over the country. In 2014, it was estimated that over 78 million people live in rural areas, while the remaining are concentrated in urban hubs. Providing better technology for food production and better infrastructure for distribution could be an ideal way to attack malnutrition.

The International Development Research Center conducted a case study called “Ethiopia: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in Ethiopia.” The author, Mike Crawley, investigated deeper into the “simple problem” that plagues the population, “not enough food.” His research found that individual farmers are limited in their production abilities by “too small landholdings, poor agricultural practices, and lack of potable water.”

The solution? Change the way these individual farmers operate so that they can help themselves and their community. The organization’s team sought to convince “farmers to think about whether they could begin to make some positive changes on their own rather than wait for assistance from outside.” The mentality that helping the community is not outside the purview of helping oneself is one that will be essential in the fight against poverty in Ethiopia.

Jacob Hess

Photo: Flickr

A recent collaboration among the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, or IFAD, and the World Food Programme  yielded a publication titled, “The State of Food Insecurity in the World.” This document analyzes the current statistics regarding the number and location of the world’s hungry and these ten statistics reflect the most updated state of the world’s hungry populations.

1. There are 795 million people around the world who are undernourished, down by 167 million in the last decade.

According to the publication, 780 million people out of the 795 million are located in underdeveloped regions, namely Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, two areas in which severe hunger is most prevalent.

2. WFP estimates that $3.2 billion is needed each year to feed all 66 million hungry school-age children.

Hunger is one of the leading causes of death in developing countries, particularly in young children under the age of 5. Increasing the U.S. foreign aid budget could drastically improve the lives of millions of hungry children.

3. About 1.3 billion tons of food, roughly one-third of all food produced, is wasted.

When all of this food is not consumed, the one in eight people in the world who go hungry every day are stripped of the chance to get a life-saving meal.

4. This year, 29 countries have achieved the World Food Summit’s goal to halve the number of undernourished people in their populations.

The countries who reached this goal: Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Gabon, Georgia, Ghana, Guyana, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Oman, Peru, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uruguay, Venezuela and Vietnam.

5. More than 80 percent of the world’s most food-insecure people live in countries prone to natural disasters with high levels of environmental degradation.

Areas that are likely to have hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and other destructive events are consequently more prone to collapsed cities, destroyed farmlands and polluted water sources. These consequences directly impact the availability of food in these regions.

6. A total of 72 developing countries out of 129, or more than half the countries monitored, have reached the Millennium Development Goal 1c hunger target.

The MDG relating to hunger takes into account both the prevalence of undernourishment in the specified country, as well as the proportion of underweight children under the age of 5. According to the FAO report, “In many countries that have failed to reach the international hunger targets, natural and human-induced disasters or political instability have resulted in protracted crises with increased vulnerability and food insecurity of large parts of the population. In such contexts, measures to protect vulnerable population groups and improve livelihoods have been difficult to implement or [are] ineffective.”

7. Western Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa are the only two regions in the world where the number of hungry people has increased since the 1990 study by the WFP, according to “The State of Food Insecurity in the World.”

In Western Asia, there were eight million people undernourished in 1990, and this number has increased to 19 million this year. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the number of undernourished people has increased from 176 million in 1990 to 220 million in 2015.

8. Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45 percent) of deaths in children under 5, or 3.1 million children each year.

It is estimated that nearly 8,000 of these deaths are tied to hunger. Approximately one child dies every 10 seconds.

9. Nearly one in every five people survive on less than $1.25 a day.

Approximately 80 percent of this small amount is used to buy food for an entire family. This leaves very little room for buying other necessities such as health care, clothes and shelter.

10. The main cause of hunger is poverty.

According to The Hunger Project, “Poverty, food prices and hunger are inextricably linked. Poverty causes hunger. Not every poor person is hungry, but almost all hungry people are poor. Millions live with hunger and malnourishment because they simply cannot afford to buy enough food, cannot afford nutritious foods or cannot afford the farming supplies they need to grow enough good food of their own. Hunger can be viewed as a dimension of extreme poverty. It is often called the most severe and critical manifestation of poverty.”

– Hanna Darroll

Sources: Food and Agricultural Organization, World Food Programme 1, World Food Programme 2, World Food Programme 3, 30 Hour Famine, The Hunger Project
Photo: Cross Catholic Field Blog

global food waste
The number of people who die from starvation every year has been steadily declining over the past decades, however it is still a very real crisis that nearly 100 million people have to contend with every year.

Almost 3 million children die from hunger related illness every year; however, the United Nations estimates that nearly 900 million people in the world are undernourished and nearly 100 million children that are under the age of five are also underweight and undernourished. One of the underlying reasons could be that nearly one-third of the world’s produced food is being thrown away. The United Nations conducted a study in which they examined the environmental impact of global food waste.

The study had two main sticking points; what is the impact of food waste on the environment and what are the biggest areas of this impact. One of the most interesting pieces of the report is that the uneaten food every year uses the same amount of water as the Volga River in Russia, according to the United Nations report. The amount of land that is devoted to food that is thrown away also numbers in the billions of acres.

The findings also report that over $750 billion dollars are lost every year as a result of inefficiencies in the way food is shipped around the world as well as the way it is produced. The amount of food waste every year totals near 1.4 billion tons of food. The study also found the amount of food waste varies based on which area of the world the consumer lives as well. Not surprisingly, those who live in developed countries throw away much more food than those who live in developing countries.

The study found that the average consumer in Europe or North America throws away 95kg to 115kg of food a year, which are almost entirely fruits and vegetables. The average consumer in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia only wastes 6 to 11kgs. The United Nations study also points out that rising food prices due to a number of factors have pushed an additional 44 million people into extreme poverty and that more people would be pushed into extreme poverty if the demand for food to those in need is not met.

The number of children who die every year from hunger related illnesses, as well as the economic effect that the loss of nearly 1.5 billion tons of food every year has on the world economy, is one of the few instances in the modern age that can truly be remedied and fixed rather quickly. It would be a benefit for those who suffer from starvation on a daily basis as well as the number of long term benefits for the global economy.

– Arthur Fuller
Sources: The Guardian, Bread for the World, World Hunger, FAO, UN, BBC