By: Solomon Probosz
In 2015 the United Nations (UN) finalized its next big initiative: 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Each goal was curated with the intention to “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” These goals range from ending poverty to eliminating pollution. The UN attached a timeline to these goals declaring that they must be completed by the year 2030.
Currently, one in nine people go hungry each day. Going hungry can be defined as suffering everyday due to not having enough food to eat. In 2015, 777 million people in the world went hungry, with the majority of these people residing in developing countries. Unfortunately this number is on the rise. In 2016, 815 million people worldwide went hungry.
With all the food in the world, it is hard to believe that so many people go hungry but do to wasting food, poor harvesting tactics, climate change, and wars, many people go hungry.
The 2nd goal of the 17 Sustainable Goals has a simple title but a very tough road ahead of it. End world hunger. According to the UN, ending world hunger means achieving food security, improving nutrition, and implementing sustainable agriculture.
Hunger is a problem that encompasses the whole world but is most prevalent in Asia, where two thirds of the population go hungry, and in the Sub Saharan African region, where it was estimated that between the years of 2014 – 2016, 23% of the citizens went undernourished.
This is a top priority for the UN because when people go hungry each day, they can’t live a normal, healthy life. Having an inadequate supply of food creates a trap for individuals that is hard to escape. Hunger and malnutrition cause individuals to be less productive and makes them more prone to disease. These side effects of hunger makes it hard for individuals to work and improve their lives so that they can get out of their current situation. If individuals stay in this hunger cycle it will be impossible for the UN to accomplish all of its sustainable goals.
Going hungry also causes major problems with the development of children. One in four of children in the world suffer from stunted growth. This number jumps to one in three children when they live in developing countries. Stunted growth can be defined as a reduced growth rate in human development that is primarily due to malnutrition.
Even worse than stunted growth, poor nutrition is responsible for the deaths of 45% of children under the age of 5. That equals 3.1 million children each year that are dying because of something that could be avoided. These mortalities are most prevalent in Africa.
This is a very serious problem and with the population estimated to increase by 2 billion by 2050 combined with climate change, it is clear that something must be done. This is why the UN is stepping in.
The main way the UN plans to combat this hunger epidemic is by investing in agriculture. Agriculture is the largest source of income and jobs for poor rural households.
There is a big problem that is holding these farms back from reaching their maximum yield. The owners of these farms are often unable to afford the proper nutrients and technology to efficiently run their farms. As a result of the lack of resources, the farmers crops often turn out under developed and they are unable to maximize the output of their farm. The UN believes that if these farmers are given the resources and education they need to efficiently run their farm, that will be the key to ending the hunger epidemic. Once these farmers are taught the most efficient way to run their farm and they see the results, they will pass the knowledge they have learned on to the next farm and it will create a snowball effect helping increase the yield for all farmers.
When farmers are given the proper education and shown the best way to run their farm, the results are visible:
The UN wants to educate all farmers about the most efficient ways to run their farms so that the farmers can obtain the maximum yield and reap the benefits that come with.
These are daunting tasks and it won’t be easy to accomplish this goal. The UN estimates that they will need $267 billion per year in order to end world hunger by 2030. This will require all members of the UN to work together, look past their differences, and work for the well being of the world. The UN will also need to look for external help to accomplish this goal. This is a great opportunity for corporations who are looking to invest in a good initiative or expand their corporate social responsibility programs to take part in, because to accomplish this goal, everyone must pitch in.
A student who graduated from the University of Minnesota named Steele Lorenz is a great example of external parties pitching in to help combat world hunger. He has been working with farmers in India to improve their farming tactics. Many Indian farmers rely on flood irrigation to water their crops but this can stunt crops, wash away soil nutrients, and waste water. There is a superior way of farming that is called drip irrigation, which is commonly used throughout the world but only 5% of Indian farmers use it. This number is so small not because drip irrigation doesn’t work, but because the farmers are unable to access the technology needed, don’t know how it works, or lack the knowledge of how to properly install it.
Lorenz quit his day job and flew to India to start a company called MyRain. As he began to work with more and more farmers, the results were astonishing. Lorenz said, “Compared to traditional flood irrigation, MyRain enhances water efficiency by up to 50 percent, increases crop yields by at least 30 percent, improves farmers’ incomes, and creates a more efficient distribution network.”
Steele Lorenz is a great example of external parties coming to help at the call of the UN. Not only are the farmers benefitting from Lorenz but he is also benefiting from the farmers, it is a win-win. The more people to follow in Lorenz’s footprints, the more likely world hunger will be eliminated and this goal will be accomplished.