ROME – From paying attention to the territories that lag behind to agricultural investment or the management of remittances, the ways of combating hunger are as varied as the realities in which those who do not have enough to eat live.
Some 820 million people suffer from a lack of food in the world, including 515 million in Asia, 256 million in Africa and 39 million in Latin America, according to UN estimates.
Government officials gathered this week at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to share recipes based on experiences (and problems) particular to each region.
POVERTY IN LATIN AMERICA
In Latin America and the Caribbean, some 3.5 million people need to escape chronic malnutrition each year if the scourge is to be ended by 2030.
As many of them are in deprived areas, the FAO has launched a strategy to free from hunger 100 territories out of a total of 1,975 that have the highest rates of chronic malnutrition and poverty.
Zero Hunger special ambassador and former Dominican lawmaker Guadalupe Valdez told EFE that the regional initiative seeks to “duplicate the efforts in the institutionality and coordination of public policies so that these areas can develop like the rest with political will.”
Seven provinces in the south of the Dominican Republic have been prioritized, along with other places in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Colombia.
INSUFFICIENT AGRICULTURE IN AFRICA
Around 20 percent of the African population suffers undernourishment, a high percentage that resists lowering for reasons such as climate change, rapid population growth and conflicts.
Subsistence agriculture and the lack of industrialization, which forces the continent to buy food from abroad for 35,000 million dollars a year, do not help countries put food insecurity behind them.
In Angola, almost three decades of bloody civil war destroyed its productive system, which had been able to guarantee self-sufficiency in basic products and the export of corn, coffee, cocoa and meat.
The Angolan Minister of Agriculture, Marcos Nhunga, said agriculture is being promoted again, with agreements with other governments on the purchase of fertilizers at lower prices, the rehabilitation of secondary roads for trade and encouragement of cooperatives of small producers by training them in schools.
YOUNG PEOPLE AWAY FROM THE COUNTRYSIDE IN THE PACIFIC
Asia continues to concentrate the highest number of hungry in the world, although between 2005 and 2017 its prevalence fell from 17 to 11 percent of the population, mainly due to China’s economic growth.
Climate change, which intensifies the impact of typhoons, floods and droughts, makes the small islands of the Pacific especially vulnerable, which depend mainly on imported food.
In Fiji, where three out of 10 adults suffer from obesity, Agriculture Minister Mahendra Reddy has pointed out it is cheaper to buy from outside and children do not see a future in agriculture.
The government buys production from those who adopt more resistant varieties and promotes home gardens and plantations to prevent erosion in an attempt to improve resilience.
MIGRATION IN CENTRAL ASIA
Some 19 million people suffer from severe food insecurity in Europe and Central Asia, the latter being the most-affected by the worst conditions of their migrants in Russia, from where they send money to their countries of origin.
According to the Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Tajikistan, Nusratulo Musoev, half of households use remittances for their daily needs and the authorities are encouraging them to invest in family farming.
WARS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
In the Middle East, more than 50 million people suffer from hunger, two thirds in countries in conflict. One example is the 5.5 million Syrians who require emergency food aid after eight years of war.
His Minister of Agriculture, Ahmed al Qadri, said that 1.6 million Syrians have already returned to rural areas and that, despite the damage to infrastructure, they have managed to maintain part of the local production with the help of the FAO to meet the needs at least half of the population.