I assume many of you have already heard a lot about the hunger crisis in Africa. And for me it feels like it’s never ending. This year it has grown even bigger, and is now classified as a humanitarian crisis. Hunger and malnutrition are the number one risk to health worldwide — greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
So, what is the cause for the hunger crisis in the African countries? First and foremost, in the beginning of 2004 did the increase in demand for food due to an population growth become bigger than the increase in production. Food stocks became depleted and the price for most grains became higher. Moreover, in 2005, food production was dramatically affected by extreme weather incidents in major food-producing countries.
As international food prices reached unprecedented levels, countries sought ways to insulate themselves from potential food shortages and price shocks. Several food-exporting countries imposed export restrictions. Certain key importers began purchasing grains at any price to maintain domestic supplies.
Corruption and war are also big factors in why there still is a hunger crisis in Africa. People are raided by militant groups and many are forced to leave their homes and farms because of it. At national level, military spending is frequently being increased and resources removed from development-related areas, such as agriculture, rural and social infrastructure.
The world community has already done a lot to end this crisis. The Un has many different agencies working for food security in different ways and levels. You can read more about these agencies here. The important thing now is to continue this work. Already in 2010 did we successfully achieve the First millennium development goal, and reduced the amount of people living in extreme poverty by half. It was well ahead of the 2015 deadline.
As can be seen from the results of the MDGs, there was much progress in relation to food and hunger between 2000 and 2015. However, a lot more work needs to be done. That work will now be the focus of the Sustainable Development Goals. Goal number 2 is about hunger which says: “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”. You can read more about the sustainable Development goals here.
For this blogpost, we were also assigned to read the short story “The Ultimate safari” by Nadine Gordimer. This was a strong story about a young girl who is forced to move from her country to “away” because of war and hunger. To get to this new place she must travel through a big park called Kruger park. There they must stay away from the people in the park as well as being cautious of the animals. The trip is long and there is almost no food. They become tired and malnourished. In the end of the story they finally arrive to “away”, which is a refugee camp. Here they receive food, clothes, medical care and education. It is a safe place.
The overall theme of this story is the hunger crisis which has developed because of war. This story really relates to the current humanitarian crises because it literally about the struggle thousands of people are going through daily in the conflict areas.
This story made a big impact on me and made me think that the humanitarian help we send to these countries are so important. It makes such a huge difference in these people’s lives, and is really a matter of life and death. Even if one does not have much to give, the total amount of money will be huge if everyone just gives a little.
A big example of this is the fundraiser called “TV-aksjonen” here in Norway. This a TV-program which collects money for one cause every year. People all around the country goes door to door asking for donation for this cause. This year they have collected over 200 000 000 NOK, which is about 21 000 000 Euro. This money will go directly to the crisis areas, and is used to rebuild schools, health care and food. You can read more about the fundraiser here.
There is no secret that there is a humanitarian crisis which is still going strong, and a big effort must be done to do anything about it. However, I believe if enough people take action, as well as putting more pressure on the government to act, change will happen. As we can see change has already happened. We are all in the same boat, it’s not fare that some should starve while others gorge themselves.
If you want to know more about the issues with food production and hunger crisis i recommend watching this Ted talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEa3FRm-ynE