Zero Hunger

By Jamie Komanekin

I believe that zero hunger is a goal that should be sought worldwide. Many of the countries are poor and will need the help from the wealthy countries of the world to end hunger, yet if the richer countries are willing to help, it can go a long way towards achieving success. The United States and other rich nations need to start with feeding their own people, but we cannot be satisfied until zero hunger is achieved worldwide.

ladle over bowlFirst and foremost, I think that certain countries need to look within their own borders before worrying about those outside of them. Here in the United States, we have many of our own people struggling with hunger. For instance, the Pine Ridge Reservation is one of the poorest in the U.S, but do we ever hear about their problems? If I were not Native American or did not attend a Native American college, I would most likely be blind to this issue as much as the rest of the United States probably is. This is an issue we need to raise awareness about.

One thing that really irritates me about this issue is how the media portrays starving children in various locations of the world but not the starving people of our own country. I do not believe I have ever seen a commercial that voices concern about our own citizens. I think if more Americans knew about the starving people in our country they would agree to use more federal money to help feed our hungry and malnourished citizens. This empathy could then spread beyond our borders.

According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), zero hunger means ending hunger by achieving food security, improved nutrition, and obtaining sustainable agriculture. There are eight targets that this zero hunger goal hopes to obtain. Four of these goals are scheduled to be reached by 2030. They include ensuring that all peoples, especially the poor and those in vulnerable situations, such as infants, will have a safe, nutritious, and sufficient food supply year round. Also the intention is to end all forms of malnutrition, reaching an internationally agreed target to prevent the stunting and wasting of children less than five years of age and addressing nutritional needs for young adolescent girls, lactating teens, and the elderly. The UN’s FAO goals also state that they would like to correct and prevent trade restrictions and distortions in the world agriculture markets, including eliminating all forms of agricultural export subsidies and export measures with equivalent effect. Also, the goal is to adopt measures to ensure the proper functioning of food commodity markets and their derivatives and facilitate timely access to market information, including food reserves, in order to help limit extreme food price volatility. These are just a few of the stated targets.

The situation is urgent. We must now come up with new and improved ways to grow, share, and consume our food. If done correctly our agriculture, forests, and fisheries could provide us with nutritious foods, create decent income while supporting rural developments and protecting the environment. Our soils, freshwaters, oceans, forests, and biodiversities are being rapidly degraded. Climate change is creating more pressure on our dependable resources, increasing the risks associated with natural disasters, such as droughts and floods. Many of the rural people are having trouble making ends meet, especially when it comes to their land/property, forcing them to move to the cities in search of economic opportunities. An intense change in global food and agricultural systems is needed if we are to feed the current 795 million hungry people as well as the additional two billion people expected by the year 2050.

Zero hunger may seem like an unachievable goal right now, but that does not mean that we, as caring people, should not strive to reach this achievement.

Jamie Komanekin is a member of the Bar River Chippewa Band of Lake Superior.