October 16, 2018, marks the 38th anniversary of World Food Day. The date was selected to celebrate the anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in 1945. On World Food Day, people from around the globe participate to declare their commitment to eradicating worldwide hunger during our lifetime.
Hunger hurts. Numerous agencies are working to ensure that every individual around the world has continual access to nutritious meals. The United Nations cites eight reasons why eliminating hunger could change the world from the perspective of its global Sustainable Development Goals.
8 Ways Eliminating Hunger Could Change the World
- Zero hunger could save the lives of 3.1 million children a year.
- Well-nourished mothers have healthier babies with stronger immune systems.
- Ending child undernutrition could increase a developing country’s GDP by 16.5 percent.
- A dollar invested in hunger prevention could return between $15 and $139 in benefits.
- Proper nutrition early in life could mean 46 percent more in lifetime earnings.
- Eliminating iron deficiency in a population could boost workplace productivity by 20 percent.
- Ending nutrition-related child mortality could increase a workforce by 9.4 percent.
- Zero hunger can help build a safer, more prosperous world for everyone.
UNICEF is the world’s largest supplier of ready-to-use therapeutic food for malnourished children. The organization helped to increase the world’s supply of therapeutic food by more than 9,000 percent between 2008 and 2012.
Every day around the globe, 2,500 World Food Program (WFP) logistics staff members manage an average of 5,000 trucks, 30 ships and 50 aircraft; a network of 650 warehouses and a fleet of approximately 700 all-terrain trucks to support its efforts to deliver food where it is needed most.
Gospel for Asia provides healthy meals to children attending Bridge of Hope centers, widows, leper colonies, and families living in remote villages and urban slums. We do this because, as our friends at Food for the Hungry say,
“Our Christian belief [is] that every person has intrinsic value and that it is our responsibility to advocate for the poor and the marginalized.”
The goal is to end hunger and ensure access to food by all people, end all forms of malnutrition, ensure sustainable food production systems, and double agricultural productivity and the income of small-scale food producers.
The task is almost beyond imagining in the context of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal Number Two for 2030.
The World Food Program describes the magnitude of the problem.
“The global food security challenge is straightforward: by 2050, the world must feed 9 billion people. The demand for food will be 60% greater than it is today.”
Although hopes continue to run high that the eradication of hunger can be accomplished, the 202-page Special Report from the FAO, Food Security and Nutrition Around the World in 2018, cites three growing concerns:
- New evidence continues to point to a rise in world hunger in recent years after a prolonged decline. An estimated 821 million people – approximately one out of every nine people in the world – are undernourished.
- Undernourishment and severe food insecurity appear to be increasing in almost all regions of Africa, as well as in South America, whereas the undernourishment situation is stable in most regions of Asia.
- The signs of increasing hunger and food insecurity are a warning that there is considerable work to be done to make sure we “leave no one behind” on the road towards a world with zero hunger.
The WFP published a World Hunger Map this year that presents the prevalence of undernourishment in the world from information gathered over the past three years. The map graphically illustrates what the organization calls
“The alarming signs of increasing food insecurity and high levels of different forms of malnutrition are a clear warning that there is considerable work to be done.”
In South Asia where Gospel for Asia’s efforts are focused, the percentage of undernourished people has declined from 21.5% in 2005 to 14.8% in 2017 (considered marginally low). The total number of undernourished people there has decreased from nearly 400 million in 2005. Yet, there are still more than 227 million who remain undernourished – the largest regionally-measured group on the planet.
Other regions and nations that fall into the same group of “moderately low” undernourishment include South Africa, China, Southeast Asia, the Dominican Republic, 10 nations in Western Africa stretching from Mauritania to Gabon, Serbia, Albania, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Oman, and five of the form former Soviet republics.
Bolivia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Angola, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Laos, Cambodia, and four Western African nations are cited as having moderately high undernourishment rates (up to 24.9%).
Eight African nations and three Middle Eastern nations are rated as high in undernourishment (from 25% to 34.9%).
Ten African nations and North Korea suffer the worst undernourishment rates of more than 35%.
World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley noted that “Conflict remains the main driver of hunger.”
On This World Food Day
We encourage you to be aware of the problem of world hunger on World Food Day. Set aside a part of the day to pray for those who are suffering from hunger.
This is Gospel for Asia’s 39th year working in South Asia. A major part of our work is providing nutritious food to many families, women, children, widows, lepers and the disenfranchised.
Pray for GFA and other similar initiatives to be able to continue to supply food to those who would otherwise be hungry and undernourished.
Pray that we will be able to expand our reach to many more in need and that in doing so, they will see our love for them and glorify our Father in Heaven.
Click here, to read more blogs on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.
- Food and Nutrition, 7 Top Hunger Organizations
- Greening the Blue, World Food Day: 16 October 2018
- India Celebrating, World Food Day
- Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, World Food Day
- Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations Special Report, Food Security and Nutrition Around the World in 2018
- The World Economic Forum, Food security and why it matters
- United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, 2 Zero Hunger