The word ‘hunger’ is well known to 820 million chronically hungry people in the world. What is more, this term is familiar to those who sympathize with the sufferers and try to help them. The pictures of starvation or acute hunger often appear on the screens: the victims of earthquakes in Pakistan or Haiti, the refugees in war-torn Syria or weak mothers from Ethiopia who cannot breastfeed their children. Nevertheless, those who suffer from droughts, floods, earthquakes or wars constitute only eight percent of the starvation’s victims.
It should be noted that hunger is the leading cause of death in the world. Nowadays, one person out of eight suffers from malnutrition. It is the number one risk to health that is even greater than tuberculosis, malaria, and AIDS combined. Every year, “ten million people die of chronic hunger or hunger-related diseases” (Hunger Facts). According to the World Hunger Statistics, 20,864 people died of hunger today. What is more, every minute fifteen people die of starvation in the world (Statistic Brain). Hungry children are particularly vulnerable. They become weak and cannot combat the disease. As a result, they can die from the common infection. 15 million of children die every year because of hunger.
98 percent of those who do not have enough food live in developing countries. The statistic of Food and Agriculture Organization indicates that 870 million hungry people are distributed in the following way.
It is known that three fourths of all starving people reside in rural areas (Who are the Hungry). Generally, they live in the villages of Africa and Asia. These populations are utterly dependent on agriculture for food. There is no other employment or source of income for them. This leaves people totally exposed to crises. Therefore, a lot of them rush to the big cities searching for employment.
A third of people who suffer from chronic hunger live in India. Every day, over 7000 Indians die of starvation (Hunger Facts). There are a few reasons for this. Nevertheless, the main cause is poverty. Usually, farmers in India do not have money for buying seed for planting. As a result, they cannot produce enough food for their families. People become weak and cannot work. This is the vicious circle as “the poor are hungry and their hunger traps them in poverty” (What Causes Hunger). Hunger influences health seriously. It can even lead to mental impairment. Therefore, hunger can bring about greater poverty by reducing people’s ability to work and learn.
Population is the second reason for hunger. India is the second most populous country in the world. The research has shown that the poverty can also be the reason of population growth. For example, poor people of Punjab believe that the more children they have the more money they will get in the future. One carpenter said “Maybe we will even be able to get some machinery with savings of the other sons. A rich man invests in his machines. We must invest in our children”. In India, 360 million people live under the official poverty line.
The major cause of hunger and poverty is the harmful economic system. By and large, economic, political and military power controls income and resources. As usual, people who set the basic principles are in the minority. They live in abundance while others hardly survive.
Poor supply of government services, such as immunization and access to medical care, as well as lack of priority to assigned primary health care in government programs also contribute to morbidity.
Climate change is one more factor that influences the number of hungry people. More than 75 percent of people suffering from chronic hunger live in rural areas. Their means of existence are intimately connected with the natural resource base. Therefore, changes in temperature, rainfall and declining yields will leave them defenseless against hunger. Within India, it is the urban and rural poor – tribals, dalits, and adivasi. They depend on access to natural resources for their fragile livelihoods.
Some traditional practices exert the influence on the rate of starving people of India. For example, there is a practice to delay breastfeeding after birth. Irregular feeding during only five months results in the frequent illnesses of children.
Poverty and hunger are interdependent. Therefore, any effort to win hunger is supposed to address the root causes of poverty, as well. Consequently, it is important that the government provides education, healthcare and other social benefits to the poor so that they become capable to find a good job.
This problem is complicated and cannot be solved quickly. In my personal view, chefs can help with it. They can teach people to preserve products. For example, they may teach people to buy seasonal products, eat less meat or reduce food waste.
Chefs can also put food into the discussion during some political meetings because “better and more effective diplomacy can happen around a dining table than at a conference table”.
What is more, chefs can transform a community by bringing the knowledge and skills to create food businesses that can feed and employ those families. They may teach how to earn money, for example, by baking. One can open the bakery in developing countries. This will help feed people and provide new employments, as well. Every day, chefs work for people. They have the ability to share the hunger problem with friends, partners and guests. Who knows, may be one of them would appear to be a billionaire who would help feed the starving people.