In a world with plenty of money and food, why are 925 million people hungry? And what can we do about it?
The facts are stark: More people die from hunger each year than from AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. Worldwide, malnutrition accounts for one-third of all deaths of children under age five. And according to the UN's World Food Program, the number of food emergencies around the globe has increased from an average of 15 per year during the 1980s to more than 30 per year since 2000.
Hunger is not about too many people and too little food. It’s about power—and its roots lie in inequalities in access to education and resources. For example, women farmers produce 60 to 80 percent of the food in developing countries, yet they own just 2 percent of the land and have fewer opportunities than men to earn a fair price for their crops. As a result, households headed by women are at greater risk of hunger.
Many other factors contribute to global hunger, including drastic cuts to agricultural investments in the developing world, poorly coordinated donor efforts, unfulfilled commitments by developed countries, increasing weather volatility due to climate change, and unfair trade rules that make it difficult for families to earn a living through farming.
Ten years after world leaders committed to halve world hunger by 2015, little progress has been made to reduce the number of people battling hunger, and many hard-won achievements have been undone by the global economic, food, and fuel crises. But with a coordinated global response—and an investment in small-scale farmers around the world—ending hunger is still possible.