22 December 2010

Conviction: Misplaced

As we continue here with the RFP series on different issues that deserve some attention, let's look at why there are so many hungry people in the world.

Like the issues thus far, money (and what is done with it) has a lot to do with ending hunger. In past years, the cost of food has risen at an alarming rate, and for people in underdeveloped countries who may not receive more than a few dollars a day, a sharp increase in the price of food staples (like rice or other grains) can be a big issue.

Though a lot of the factors in the "food crisis", as several sources term it, can be helped by outside involvement, plenty are rather irreversible. Rising fuel prices make it more expensive to transport food items to where they are bought and consumed, and that price is reflected in the amount paid by the consumer. In many African nations, military conflict and raids have displaced entire populations, and when unable to rely on their tradition food sources, the groups cause strain to be put on other healthy systems.

It's important to look at this more clearly though. "Sure, sure, food is more expensive. It's more expensive to buy strawberries in January, but whatever!" One might argue that point, and yes. That's true. But the increase we are looking at here is unbelievable.

World Vision cites these numbers from the Food and Agriculture Association:
The cost of maize has increased by 80%.
The cost of wheat has increased by 70%.
The cost of rice has increased by 25%.

That is huge. And like I mentioned before, these are staples -- the things that make life livable. So where is the money? The money that could be spent to help alleviate the poverty that prevents so many people from getting a meal at least once a day?

Lets do a little experiment here:

There are 6,892,727,905 people in the world right now,
and 1,030,493,710 of them are undernourished.

There has been 5,134,630,478 tons of food produced this year,
and 130,620 tons wasted today in the USA alone.

Americans have spent $117,276,615 on food today, only to throw it away,
and it would only cost $35,474,859 to feed the hungry.

Honestly, it kind of makes me sick.
So what are you going to do to change those numbers?

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