Wed, Jun 12, 2013 - Page 9 News List

Rich nations failing to tackle child hunger

Despite the world producing more than enough food to feed everyone, a child still dies from hunger every 10 seconds, a situation made more alarming by the fading ability of high-profile summits to address food security issues and policy blindness to the systemic causes of starvation

By Alex Renton  /  The Observer, LONDON

“David Cameron is on safe ground expressing concern about starving babies, because no one could possibly object to addressing that scandal. The unpalatable truth is that there are 870 million people starving, 2 billion malnourished, and 1.4 billion overweight and obese,” he said. “What I want to see is political leaders accepting that their task is to recalibrate the food system entirely. We have to recivilize food capitalism and recalibrate markets.”

Some non-governmental organizations object to corporations’ involvement in the New Alliance, but a big cause of comment on Saturday was that the really important player in food — China — was not on the guest list. China is Africa’s biggest trading partner and is likely to have no malnourished citizens by 2020, which, oddly, is a real threat to the world’s future food supply.

China’s meat consumption has quadrupled over the past 20 years, an inevitable result of a wealthier population, which means that more of the world’s crops going to feed animals, already consuming 40 percent of all the grains we farm.

In March, the world’s biggest traffic jam appeared off Brazil — 212 of the largest freight ships, some of them one-third of a kilometer long, were waiting to load soy beans and soy meal after Brazil’s greatest harvest ever. The queue of trucks from the Mato Grosso taking soy to the port of Santos stretched almost 25km.

When they finally loaded — and the delay caused hiccups in the world soy price — most of the ships were headed to deliver their protein-rich food to be eaten by Chinese pigs, fish and chickens.

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