Aiming for a Zero Hunger World

Around the globe, 821 million people still suffer from hunger. This sad reality exists despite the fact that there is more than enough food currently produced to feed each of the 7.6 billion people living on the planet.

It is against this paradoxical backdrop of skewed supply and demand that we "celebrate" World Food Day (October 16)—a day established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to bring awareness to the fight against global hunger and food security for all.

Why People Still Go Hungry

One reason people are without food is that many simply do not have the income to buy what they need or have the means to grow it themselves. This is especially true in developing countries, where 12.9 percent of the population is undernourished. In some places, that number is even greater. For example, nearly 34 percent of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa goes without food for an entire day or more.

Another problem is food waste, which is particularly severe in developing nations. Forty percent of crops harvested in these countries are lost due to spoilage. Most of this happens immediately after harvest because storage and cooling facilities are not effective or wholly absent.

Additionally, subsistence-level farmers often lack the knowledge, support, and tools to cope with and build resilience against the challenges of a changing climate. How severely is climate change affecting farmers and the food supply? A recently released report by the FAO shows global hunger and severe food crises is increasing after years of steady decline. The report identifies climate variability and extremes as key forces driving the increase.

Zeroing Out Hunger

This year's World Food Day theme, "Zero Hunger," emphasizes building a world free of hunger. How can we get to zero? One simple step is to provide storage technologies for small-scale subsistence farmers. It is also important to help farmers develop techniques to withstand the ravages of extreme weather brought on by climate change.

In Belize, Planet Aid is supporting a project that is doing just that: distributing storage silos and building food-drying houses to reduce food losses. It is also introducing climate-smart agricultural techniques to improve local adaptive capacity to the impacts of climate events.

Planet Aid supports Farmers' Clubs not only in Belize but in in South Africa, India, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zimbabwe. The Farmers' Clubs development model is centered on organizing farmers into cooperative groups and trains them to work together, while emphasizing the introduction of sustainable and climate-smart farming methods. As the FAO report points out: "It is important to strengthen food systems and people's livelihoods to anticipate and adapt to the effects of climate variability and extremes."

Elsewhere, Planet Aid-supported projects are working toward achieving greater food security and assisting communities in finding pathways out of poverty. Click here to learn more about how we are helping people build a better life for themselves and their families.