Most of us are so blessed we take it for granted that we can always count on having food on our table. Our supermarkets are just that, super in every sense of the word. Shelves are well-stocked with a variety of fresh food, fruit and vegetables that most of the world cannot even begin to imagine. Restaurants abound, and all of them bustle with business.
We take for granted what most of our global family will never get to enjoy. For most of the world providing enough food for each day is an almost insurmountable challenge. Even though the 2013 Millennium Development Report shows that absolute poverty has already been cut in half, there are still close to 850 million affected by hunger and malnutrition. There’s at least a billion more of our family forced to live on substandard diets.
In 2000 the United Nations Commission on Human Rights established the position of UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. For the last six years the position has been held by Dr. Olivier De Schutter. His final report, released last month, states that paradigm of industrial agriculture as the single major obstacle to achieving global food security.
He agrees that agricultural productivity has increased and has significantly helped to reduce extreme hunger over the past 50 years. But he also points out that glaring inequalities still persist in food distribution. Women and children are still greatly disadvantaged, while over two billion people suffer from “hidden hunger,” the lack of critical micro-nutrients such as iodine, vitamin A and iron.
Ending the obscenity of global hunger requires all of us to take responsibility for allowing such glaring inequities to exist. We have to be far more vocal and far more forceful in demanding that the right to food be honored for all our human family. We can end hunger in our lifetime, but only if we work together to make it happen. .