The Hunger Project Statement on the World Food Crisis
As a global movement of individuals committed to the sustainable end of world hunger, we each need to be informed on the current food crisis and empowered to take effective action.
The current food crisis is not a short-term emergency; it is the result of decades of failed policies that have prevented many developing countries from being self-reliant in food.
While many have argued that exporting countries must lower prices and increase exports, the real answer is to strengthen local self-reliance. People's basic survival needs must not be hostage to fluctuations in global markets.
If rural women and men had been supported in building their own capacities through low-cost sustainable strategies such as those pioneered by The Hunger Project, they would be much better equipped to withstand emergencies like this one.
To prevent, or at least mitigate, a future food crisis, the focus of international aid and agricultural policies must be altered.
The focus must now be on supporting the developing world's rural women and men to take self-reliant actions to sustainably provide for their own food needs.
Particular attention must be on empowering rural women. Women produce most of their communities' food, yet are thwarted in this endeavor by severe, entrenched gender discrimination.
Multilateral and bilateral funders could keep the next crisis from causing so much human suffering by targeting their funds to empower people at the grassroots level to end their own hunger. This would pay long-term dividends.
In addition, as the world confronts energy shortages and global warming, we all must put far greater emphasis on reducing energy consumption rather than relying on energy strategies which threaten the world's food supply.
Key Background Points
Prices for basic foods (wheat, maize, soy and rice) have increased dramatically. Causes include: an increased demand for animal feed due to greater meat consumption by a rapidly growing middle class around the world, the use of agricultural resources for biofuels, and climate change.
Countries throughout the developing world are affected by the crisis. Food-related riots have broken out in countries including Haiti, Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, the Philippines and Indonesia.
People living in extreme poverty (on less than $1 per day) now have far less ability to buy enough food. 100 million people, who could afford to buy food six months ago, now cannot.
Bilateral and multilateral donors have been asked by agencies such as the World Food Programme to contribute additional funds to address the current crisis.
What can individuals do?
- Inform yourself about the food crisis.
- Financially invest in The Hunger Project's methodology which supports people to take self-reliant actions to sustainably provide for themselves, and encourage others to do the same.
- Examine your own consumption patterns and look for ways to decrease energy and grain demands that drive prices higher.
- Talk to your friends, family and colleagues about how future crises can be prevented or at least mitigated if people are invested in to be self-reliant authors of their own development.