The Case for Eradicating Hunger

Apr 12, 2020 | BLOG

Our world today has arrived at a cross-road. Our mornings’ start with news headlines highlighting the impact of climate change and the finiteness of our not too distant future. According to the World Economic Forum 2019 Risk Report, Climate change is the No. 1 problem that threatens our existence and will presumably be the case in the foreseeable future. This is all very true and the focus is very necessary.

At the same time, when you pull back the layers, what reveals itself is an interconnected world with multiple variables playing on each other – one of the consequences being our changing climate.

So what are the others?

Well, take hunger for example which is a case of contrasts. 1 billion people will go to bed hungry today with no access to proper food. In another part of the world, 2 billion people have plentiful to eat & are consequently obese. Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t a need today to engineer more food to feed more mouths, but instead an economic case to ensure nutritious food gets to the right people when & where they need it. Solutions do exists in small packages – take Olio for example. An innovative company that have developed a unique food sharing app that connects neighbours & local businesses with each other so surplus food can be shared. What a novel idea.

However, the problem gets exacerbated with the increasing levels of food wasted every year. According to the FAO (Food & Agricultural Organisation), 30% of all food produced today is either lost or thrown away. The 1.3 billion tonnes of food waste adds an incremental 3.3. billion tonnes of GHG (Green House Gases) to our planet.

That constitutes nearly 9% of global GHG emissions.

To avoid this precise problem, companies such as WhyWaste are helping grocery stores & organised retail eliminate food waste using data insights and analytics. Injecting this sort of innovation into the value chain and developing a circular model to ensure a better use of food is critical to the broader climate change efforts.

Be rest assured, the cure to this problem is in our hands. United Nations research found that if farmers globally fed their livestock on food waste and on agricultural by-products, enough grain would be available to feed an additional 3 billion people – that is more than the projected population of our planet by 2050.

More needs to be done and quickly. If this problem worsens, we fall into a vicious cycle where the effects of climate change start to negatively impact a rise in food prices. This makes whatever food available more difficult to procure for low income communities who are most in need of it.

These are complex challenges and any progress requires the collaborative efforts of all participants – from you the reader, to governments, to public and private partnerships, each can help contribute in their own individual way. It all starts with recognising the problem. If we can each do our bit towards understanding the collective issues that plague our planet and their interdependencies, we can become better influencers today, to help “Deliver a Better Tomorrow”.

About the author(s)
Akhil Handa

Akhil Handa is the CEO and Founder at EARTH51.