Tag Archives: FAO

150 million hungry would say “Thank You!”

Women’s rights and gender equality are facets of global hunger and malnutrition. In Sub-Saharan Africa there are nations where women and girls compose 90% of the agricultural labor force.

Without access to credit and inputs their productivity if far less than if they were allowed to have the same access to necessary resource as me. Women are the key to ending hunger in our lifetime. We need to support efforts that provide them opportunities to help make it happen.


Half the children in the Central African Republic are malnourished. They are hungry all the time. They never get enough to eat. They are becoming both physically and mentally stunted.

The world provides more than enough food to feed everyone on the planet. That includes the hungry children in the Central African Republic. Why then are half the children there hungry?

This is simply one more example of the lack of caring among the majority of current society. We need compassion. We need action.  And we need it now.

We can end hunger in our lifetime. But not if we ignore places like the Central African Republic.

too many children dying from hunger

We are making progress on ending hunger in our lifetime, yet there is still much to be done. This brief report on child hunger is from the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Child Mortality and Hunger in Developing Nations

  • Despite declines, child mortality and hunger persist in developing nations, U.N. reports, By Rick Gladstone and Somini Sengupta, September 16, 2014, New York Times: “The United Nations on Tuesday reported significant declines in the rates of child mortality and hunger, but said those two scourges of the developing world stubbornly persist in parts of Africa and South Asia despite major health care advances and sharply higher global food production. The trends, detailed in two annual reports by United Nations agencies, were presented before the General Assembly meetings of world leaders, where the Millennium Development Goals, a United Nations list of aspirations to meet the needs of the world’s poorest, are an important discussion theme. While one of those goals — halving the number of hungry people by 2015 — seems within reach, the goal of reducing child mortality by two-thirds is years behind, the reports showed…”
  • World making progress against hunger, report finds, but large pockets of undernourished persist, By Daniel Stone, September 16, 2014, National Geographic: “No one on the planet should go hungry. That’s because the world’s farmers grow 700 more calories per person than the World Food Programme’s daily recommended 2,100 calories—an abundance of plants and animals that surpasses the daily needs of the world’s 7.2 billion people. In most places, the challenge is access. Global access to food is improving overall, according to a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization released Tuesday, yet challenges in the developing world—from poor infrastructure and political instability to erratic weather and long-term changes in climate—are keeping 805 million people from having enough to eat…”

a hungry man is not a free man

“The eradication of hunger is not just an end in itself: It is a first step toward sustainable development and progress in general, for a hungry man is not a free man. He cannot focus on anything else but securing his next meal.” — Kofi Annan

We need to understand that food security is a critical factor in global security. People who are hungry and living under the dark shadow of starvation are easily manipulated by those promising a better life. An empty stomach is never a good political advisor.

In 2001 the FAO defined food security like this: “Food security is a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”

Food security means not having to fear for one’s next meal. It means being set free from the chains of hunger and, just as importantly, being set free from the fear that accompanies hunger. And as Kofi Annan so powerfully writes, food security and the eradication of hunger are the first steps toward creating a world of truly sustainable development.  Working together we can create that world.

hunger has a cost

Globally, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that malnutrition and stunting costs $1.4 trillion to $2.1 trillion a year, the equivalent of 2 to 3 percent of global GDP in lost economic productivity.

     Hunger has a cost. And it starts at birth, especially for those children who suffer from under-nutrition during their first thousand days–from conception until their second birthday.

     School feeding programs are recognized as one of the most powerful tools in helping end the obscenity of global hunger. This is the reason such programs have been the primary focus of Stop Hunger Now’s relief and development efforts.

     Yet, it is now acknowledged that the ravages of malnutrition during the first two years of a child’s life cannot be undone with school feeding programs. Once a child is physically  and mentally stunted during this critical developmental stage they can never fully catch up.

     That loss is felt not only by each child. That loss also has an impact on their communities and their countries. Ultimately, the entire global economy suffers.

     Hunger has an economic cost that we can measure, but it has an even higher moral and spiritual cost. And this is the cost that cannot be calculated. It’s the cost each of us pays for allowing this unnecessary tragedy to continue when we know we could stop it.

Pope Francis at the FAO: “Starvation is Scandalous”

I am pleased that Pope Francis is serious about his commitment to the poor and hungry. Here is an unedited press release from the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization of the Pope’s address to that body. This is a faith leader leading by example.


Pope Francis: Starvation in a world of plenty “scandalous”

©Osservatore Romano
General of the Papal Audience held in the Sala Clementina with FAO delegation and Pope Francis

20 June 2013, Vatican City/Rome, Italy – Pope Francis lauded participants in the 38th FAO Conference for working together against hunger but urged countries to “move beyond indifference” in policies that exclude the most vulnerable and exacerbate hunger and poverty in the world. 

“It is a well-known fact that current levels of production are sufficient, yet millions of people are still suffering and dying of starvation. This is truly scandalous,” Pope Francis said, during an audience at the Vatican.

The Pope received the delegates, who represented countries from every region of the world, in keeping with a tradition that began 60 years ago. He thanked and encouraged FAO for its work. 

Saying the global economic crisis could not “continue to be used as an alibi,” the pontiff added, “The crisis will not be completely over until situations and living conditions are examined in terms of the human person and human dignity.” 

The pope warned that people and their dignity risked “turning into vague abstractions in the face of issues like the use of force, war, malnutrition, marginalization, the violation of basic liberties, and financial speculation, which presently affects the price of food, treating it like any other merchandise and overlooking its primary function.” 

“There is a need to oppose the shortsighted economic interests and the mentality of power of a relative few who exclude the majority of the world’s peoples, generating poverty and marginalization and causing a breakdown in society.” 

Mohammad Asif Rahimi, Chairperson of the FAO Conference and Afghanistan’s Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock was joined by FAO Director-General Josè Graziano da Silva and hundreds of representatives of FAO member countries from every region of the world. 

“It was inspiring when His Holiness stated that a way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth in a fair and just manner,” Rahimi said. 

“FAO, in turn, is counting on the impact that Pope Francis and leaders of all religious faiths can have in mobilizing governments, organizations, companies and communities to take action and defend the right to food of those who are most vulnerable,” Rahimi added.

 “The fight against hunger must have no color, no religion, no political affiliation. Ending hunger is absolutely necessary if we want a truly sustainable and more secure future. It makes political and economic sense, but morally and ethically, it is also the right thing to do,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva added. 

“Two weeks earlier, Pope Francis spoke out against the culture of waste that leads to the loss of 1.3 billion tons of food every year. The pontiff said that it was ‘like stealing food from poor people’, and he was right. But we are also squandering entire generations of lives to starvation, inadequate nutrition and poor health. And this is hurting us all,” the FAO head said.

The FAO Conference is the organization’s highest governing body. Delegates represent FAO member countries, which number 194 in all.