By Anjali Devangan:
A few days ago, a picture of a semi-clad boy with an empty bowl affected in the Pakistan floods in the newspaper, prompted me to wonder — how long will it be till we get to ‘live to eat’ because eating to live will only get tougher in the coming years.
The population of the world is exploding while land for agriculture and water for irrigation is shrinking. Nature’s fury like the recent floods in Pakistan does no good to better the situation. The increasing shortage of food will increase the prices, leading countries with high numbers of poverty to suffer the most. Burma, once known as the rice bowl of Southeast Asia, is now one of the poorest and suffers from a chronic food shortage. Estimates are that 33 nations are at risk of conflict and social unrest because of food shortages.
Apart from worldwide starvation, food shortages can lead to serious consequences. In the past, the French and Russian revolutions showed us how food crisis can topple governments. More recent examples of Haiti and Madagascar assert the same. We have also seen how one of the worst draughts in Africa led to a series of food riots that killed several citizens.
Some countries have begun to act individually. Russia has proposed a rather selfish export ban on wheat (the UN Food and Agriculture Organization is vehemently urging Russia). While rich countries without rich soil of their own, some in the Middle-East, Singapore and others have acquired chunks of farmable land in Africa and Asia to invest in agriculture to sustain them.
But the governments all over the world need to realize that food shortage requires a collaborated global effort. Food shortages mean skyrocketing prices. A sharp rise in food costs will result in the collapse of currencies, and banks will be forced to try to appreciate their currencies to lower the cost of imported food. This will further lead to poverty and in no time, we will have a vicious deadlock.
According to the US department of Agriculture, up to one-fifth of America’s food goes to waste each year, with an estimated 130 pounds of food per person ending up in landfills. Before we all waste any of our next meal, we must think of the starved all over the world. Food shortage is staring at us in the eye. We better not turn blind to this. Voice yourself by dropping a comment below. Tweet us at @YouthKiAwaaz or email at [email protected]