Widespread hunger – on a global scale – is one of the many issues currently plaguing the globe, with developing and third-world countries at the center of this humanitarian crisis. Over the years, government organizations, charities, and other non-governmental organizations have strived to – and continued to – devise solutions to quell the ubiquitous menace.
However, putting an end to the crisis requires much more than organizing fora, distributing flyers, and engineering heart-piercing ads. The hunger problem needs immediate action, one that will be as capital-intensive as it will be effective. Simply put, the cause to eliminate world hunger will require crazy sums of money, an amount which we shall examine in this article.
Nevertheless, before injecting funds into the initiative targeted at wiping hunger off the planet’s surface, it’s necessary to understand why food hunger exists in the first place. Is it an artificial action or simply a pervasive natural factor that seeks to balance a complex world? Find out what we think as you read.
World Hunger: The Numbers
A supposed 135 million people faced life-threatening food insecurity in 2019 according to the World Food Program, an assistant agency to the UN tasked with food studies. With the pandemic disrupting world markets, especially the food industry, it’s likely to double, giving rise to food emergencies across the globe.
So, people often ask:
“Is it possible to end world hunger?”“How much money does it take to end world hunger?”
With poverty as the leading cause of this unfortunate situation, Africa, East Asia, and Latin America seem to house the most vulnerable populace. Experts have opined that the world is quite different than it was about seven years ago when the commitment to end hunger was at an all-time high. At the time, the projection was that food insecurity and the various forms of malnutrition would be a thing of the past come 2030.
Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to say the same in 2022, given that the Food and Agriculture Organization discovered that between 720 to 811 million people were hungry in 2020. One may attribute these sad statistics to the severity of the pandemic. The numbers also showed a disheartening climb in the prevalence of undernourishment (PoU) by 1.5 percent in 2020.
Sadly, around 660 million people are likely to remain hungry come 2030 – thanks to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and other contributing factors such as climate change.
You might be wondering, how much would it take to end world hunger? The truth is, ending world hunger is an initiative that will require time, money and effort.
Therefore, we need bold actions now more than ever to curb world hunger, with the main targets of the exercise addressed at the primary causes of the situation.
How Many People are Hungry?
Dispensing world hunger will be infeasible without an evident appreciation of the number of the world’s populace affected. The FAO estimates that around 418 million people live hungry in Asia alone, falling short of 300 million in Africa and 60 million in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In 2020, their data also reported that nearly one in three people lacked access to sufficient food. The above is due to a steady fall in global food insecurity since 2014, although the health crisis of 2020 saw an increase equal to that of the previous five years combined.
This study designates that 2.37 billion humans were without adequate food in 2020 – a revelation that is as scary as it is worrisome. Even the question, how much would it take to end world hunger, isn’t that scary.
The Cost of Defeating World Hunger
Then comes the big question: How much would it take to end world hunger?
While many may opine that it is impossible to clear hunger off the surface of Earth, there are a few who see the light at the end of the tunnel. World organizations such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, amongst others, have, over the years, struggled to come up with lasting solutions to the matter.
The results have been nothing short of exceptional. However, they’re as conflicting as they’re spectacular. Each organization has put forward estimates that vary across all boards, with some stipulating that just $6 billion – a fraction of the wealth of some of the world’s richest men – will see the end of world hunger.
While the amounts may differ, one thing is clear from their research and estimation – annihilating world hunger will not come cheap. A study conducted by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in 2016 showed that the fight against hunger in the world would cost $11 billion every year.
If we were to place our target at 2030, 14 years from the cost estimation, then the war against hunger will cost $154 billion. The study dwelt on the cost of terminating hunger through increased spending on social safety nets that directly target consumers. It involves farm support to increase production alongside the income of the poor farmers.
Overall, the study prioritized rural development to reduce inefficiencies across the value, thereby enhancing productivity in affected areas, especially in rural communities.
In 2020, the IISD released another study on the same topic, postulating that $45 billion will be needed per year to solve the food crisis. It is thus safe to say that with the ever-present economic and political changes, and continuous growth in the human population, the cost to solve world hunger will continue to change.
Can We End World Hunger?
Daunting as this question may seem, it does require an answer. Whether it is a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response depends on the ideologies of those involved. Nevertheless, we can eradicate world hunger if we take the proper steps. One hundred ninety-three countries have already signed the agreement to end the menace by 2030. Eight years to the deadline, there is still a lot to be done.
World hunger has become so much of a global concern that the United Nations Division for Sustainable Development Goals No. 2 is dedicated to “end hunger, achieve food security and promote sustainable agriculture.” Since coming to play in 2015, SGD 2 has done little to prevent a rise in hunger for four consecutive years.
To that effect, the UN indicates global conflict to be a significant contributing factor to the menace of world hunger. Thus, one can say that to achieve world hunger, we must first achieve world peace. If that is solved, I believe our question will not be “How much would it take to end world hunger?” but “How soon can we end world hunger?”.
What Can You Do to Help?
We all have a role to play in solving this humanitarian crisis. From donating food items to giving out cash and even volunteering, each step we take to showing our interest in the fight takes us closer to winning the battle. If you want to help, do well to contact a charity near you or volunteer to be at the forefront of the movement.