Food, for good!


Since 2015, the world hunger population started to gradually increase after decades reducing, according to the report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Currently, there are over 820 million people are suffering from hunger, it is one-ninth of the world’s population. Over 3.1 million children aged below 5 are dead due to the lack of nutrition, and it is a 45% proportion of the 5-year-old death in total worldly. Lately, according to the World Food Programme, the number of hungry people would even be doubled in the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, as per estimated statistics, 2 billion people who are hunger will be added in the world till 2050. It is severely challenging the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of Zero Hunger which is aim to eliminating the hunger by 2030 and ensure all people can attain enough nutrition and food every year.       

Picture 1: The number of hunger increased since 2015

Current situation and challenges

There are many reasons for hunger. It comes from natural and man-made disasters. Climate change has put a lot of pressure on the resources on which we depend, increasing the risk of disasters such as droughts and floods. Since 1900, we have lost 75% of crop diversity due to, for example, the large-scale discharge of industrial waste and domestic waste, as well as the large-scale use of pesticides and fertilizers. It is also worth noting that two-thirds of the extremely poor employed workers are agricultural workers, that is to say, the people most at risk of becoming hungry are those who produce food for the world. The lack of energy in rural areas and the loss of labor forces caused by farmers not being able to live up as a farmer have led to the food productivity declining. Compared to hunger, food wasting in consumer and industrialized countries is equally shocking. As per a study, the food that is wasted is almost as much as entire net food production in sub-Saharan African. This is a shame! Another striking issue is inequal resources distribution between men and women in rural places, women are the important labor force especially in developing countries. As per Food and Agriculture Data published by FAOSTAT, A significant share of households in all regions are headed by women, yet their access to productive resources and services are limited. They work longer hours than men and be paid less than men. The field they have been distributed are poorer conditions than men. In addition to this, 60% who lived in huger are women, and every year 300 thousand of women dead in childbirth due to hungry or malnutrition.  

What the world can do?

Although it is a major challenge but it is huge worthy to end the hunger, as we can see, hunger is always hand in hand with poverty, hunger could be caused by poverty but it also produces poverty. Study shows that people who live in better nutrition condition can perform better in school, raise healthier kids and contribute more to economic stability.

“Investment in the agriculture sector is critical for reducing hunger and poverty, improving food security, creating employment and building resilience to disasters and shocks.” United Nations estimated it will need 267 billion additional each year until 2030 to end the huger.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), is the only United Nations specialized agency and international financial institution focused exclusively on reducing poverty and food insecurity in rural areas through agriculture and rural development.

Fund provide financing specifically designed to introduce, expand or improve food production systems, for example, Improved farming methods, maintain ecosystems and strengthen adaptation to weather changes, Improve soil quality, etc.

In addition, there are other ways to invest the agriculture. The investments can be used to the rural places of developing farming technology or promote energy allocation, and it also can be used to the urban place of opening their ideas and eating habit changing.

As I learned from Asha Gomez’s speech on TEDx Martha’s Vineyard, she shared some very interesting and practical stories about how different types of investment helps some rural regains changing the livelihood sustainably. There are over 30,000 edible plants in the world while 60% of food consumption is only 4 out of it. Why? Asha Gomez shared a story that happened in a remote mounting farming field in Peru. More than 4,000 different types of potatoes are planted in that field, but the farmer told Asha there are very hard to sell it because people in the market are only willing to but normal white potatoes, they don’t wanna even try to taste other types of potatoes that look different than normal but actually taste delicious. Then an organization called care intervene and they formed a consortium to the farmers, one of a leader of the consortium sends those potatoes to a celebrity chef in Peru, and those delicious potatoes doubtlessly surprised the chef and the chef go to the farm to sign the contract with farmers as stable sources to his restaurant. Today, because of this investment, those different looks potatoes could be found in everyday life in Pero, it keeps the farmer in that remote mountain area away from huger, and it discovers more foods to the world. Another story has happened in a very poor region where the malnutrition rate in children up to 80%. The main cause of malnutrition is a serious lack of protein. A humanitarian organization provides the women in that region a microloan of just 100USD, but it turns out enough to raise Guinea pigs for sufficient protein supplying and also give these women an opportunity to open a business model. They could trade it and then make a sustainable livelihood on it with just 100USD as a starting point. Making full use of the diversity of agricultural, this is inspiring!

Through various agricultural investments, while increasing agricultural productivity, it also increases the income of farmers, especially women, herdsmen, indigenous, etc., which also reduces the loss of farmers’ labor. Do you know If female farmers have access to the same resources as male farmers, the number of hungry people in the world can be reduced by up to 150 million?  Giving women the equal access to resources as men and increasing women’s income will encourage rural women’s participation in farmer, and it will improve rural livelihoods and accelerate economic growth.

Picture 2: Women’s income impact.

Why should we care?

This is for us to live in a better world!

A world with zero hunger can positively impact our economies, health, education, equality and social development. A sustainable development means not only offer the food to the hungry people but to build a sustainable system to everyone in the world on the basis of humanity and equality. Each of us shall involve and make a change from our own life, at home, at work and in the community. For example, fighting the food waste! The wasting of food is not only an economic lost but also the natural resources lost, which both are closely related to everyone’s life. We can also join in asking companies and governments to make changes.

Because to achieve the Zero Hunger challenge, governments must recognize the problem of hunger as a priority, create institutional frameworks to fight it and carry out specific programs to actually do so.” We shall keep in mind that the vision of Zero Hunger is not only donate food or temporarily relieve the pain caused by hunger, but to promote inclusive and sustainable developments to the world. There are a lot of things we could do to facilitate a better life for us, check out the Lazy person’s guide that published by Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) at here

Picture 3. The LAZY person’s guide from SDG


4 thoughts on “Food, for good!”

  1. Monika Kis


    I really liked your post. It is full of shocking numbers and sad realities, but also with good solutions. It is truly a shame that as the numbers of hunger grow, at the same time we are wasting more food than ever. Something is really not right around, things has gone into a very bad direction.

    It was also so surprising to read that 10$ raise in a woman’s salary equals 110$ raise in man’s if we consider the impact of it. It feels totally out of balance. And women are forced to work in worse conditions than men. But the unequal potential also tells how powerful women are if they are given the possibilities. To invest in women has a long-term and global benefit. You also mentioned really good examples how little things can lead to a sustainable life.

    It was really cool to end your post with the Lazy Person’s guide to Saving the World. Unfortunately many times laziness and indifference come in the way of change. This description offers simple ideas that can be done and truly contributes to saving the world.

    Thank you for your post!

  2. Hi Nina,

    The hunger and poverty you mentioned are always together. Indeed, this is very close to the subject I wrote. Due to the uneven development of the world, the fact that some people are wasting food and some are not even able to eat enough food is really frustrating.

    In the fight against poverty and hunger, women ’s contributions are crucial. Women can better mobilize resources and ease the financial difficulties of their families. In underdeveloped areas, women’s status is restricted, which brings great contradictions.

    Thank you for giving us some measures we should do as ordinary people. Let us know that some hands-free things can save the world.


  3. Nan,

    It is a terrible paradox that many of the hungry are also food producers, that they are alienated from the means of production and the fruit of their labour.

    Also, I was blown away by how few edible plants we actually consume. We eat a lot of potatoes. More research is confirming the benefits of a plant-based diet, and we may be beginning to see a global shift in attitudes re: food, as some of the old misconceptions about the meat v. plant debate become debunked.

    Thank you for your illuminating post, which is full of facts and ideas backed by statistics. Your articles raises awareness of this challenge at a time when we are starting to think about how to address some of the hunger-repercussions of Covid-19, so thank you.


  4. Nina,

    Your post is very logically structured, which is very reader friendly. And also you shared some practical solutions.
    As a Chinese, the feeling is very complex with regard to food. On one hand, we have a convention to host feast on big day, which leads to tremendous waste of food. On the other hand, we should be very proud that we have “the father of Hybrid Rice, Yuanlongping, who developed the first hybrid rice, which increased yield by 30%. Hybrid rice has also been grown in dozens of countries in Africa, America, and Asia. He really made great contributions in the fight against famine.
    As for the food waste, I think price may be one of the measures to reduce it. I obviously waste little in Finland, but in China, food waste makes me guilty but not painful. I think counting on the consciousness of human is the last effective way. After all, human want more despite of advocacy for less.


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