World Hunger Issues To Grow As Food Prices Double, Study Says
A young Guatemalan father works six days a week, 10-12 hours a day as a harvester on a plantation -- but some days he and his family go hungry.
The Guardian tells the family's story as an example of complex hunger issues worldwide -- which could get worse.
Global food prices could double in the next 20 years due to a population increase, oil price hikes and climate change, according to a new report by Oxfam, an international charity that addresses poverty issues.
The world's poorest people spend up to 80 percent of their income on food and will be most affected. According to Reuters, Oxfam Chief Executive Barbara Stocking says the number of people going hungry is going to increase with all of these problems.
"The food system is pretty well bust in the world."
The Guardian says the the Guatemalan family's plight is also a prime example of the broken power structure of the food system. The country is a major food producer for the rest of the world. Yet it has has one of the highest child malnutrition rates across the globe.
Oxfam says government regulation is partly to blame:
"The failure of the system flows from failures of government...which mean [sic] that companies, interest groups, and elites are able to plunder resources and to redirect flows of finance, knowledge, and food."
Specifically, the report says India doubled its economy but didn't help the poor and that the U.S. ensures 15 percent of the world's maize goes to engines, even during food crisis. The report also blames traders, who control the world's grain, saying they drive up volatile food prices and gain a profit.
Jeremy Hobbs, Oxfam executive director, said in the report that it's an avoidable problem:
"Our world is capable of feeding all of humanity yet one in seven of us are hungry today."
Josef Schmidhuber, deputy director of the statistics division of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), told Reuters he supports the message of the Oxfam report but disagrees with the forecast.
"I wouldn't say that our food system is broken. The world will always be able to produce enough food."
Oxfam maintains that the current food system only works for some, so it's launched the GROW campaign in 43 countries.
The campaign will urge world leaders to make food more affordable and available by investing in small-scale food production, stopping subsidies for the corn-ethanol industry, updating food aid and ending agricultural commodity speculation that drives up prices. According to its website:
"Oxfam's GROW campaign will expose the governments whose failed policies are propping up the broken food system and the clique of 300-500 powerful companies who benefit from and lobby hard to maintain it."
Help make sure people throughout the world have enough to eat. Support GROW by spreading the word or signing a global petition. Oxfam is also accepting donations through the Impact links below.