Many people never get to eat meat, fish, tropical fruit, vegetables and fast food several times a week because one in nine of us on the planet is starving. In fact, one in four people is constantly plagued not only by hunger but also deficiencies in essential nutrients. As a result, starving people get sick more easily and have a diminished capacity to work and perform mentally. When you’re hungry, you earn less because a lack of food leaves you debilitated for long periods.
Hunger hits children especially hard. Around the world, an average of one child dies every 10 seconds because he or she doesn’t have enough to eat. Malnutrition inhibits children’s physical growth and mental development. They find it harder to learn and concentrate. Hunger prevents children from attending school and working later in life.
Wars, conflicts and natural disasters destroy fields and harvests, which are many people’s primary source of food. What’s more, the climate catastrophe is intensifying the pressure on essential resources and increasing the risk of droughts and floods. Our soil, fresh water sources, oceans, forests and biodiversity are fast being laid to waste. Small farmers struggle to sell their produce on markets or are forced off their land. That means they can’t feed as many people. Although global food production is sufficient to feed the world, many people do not have access to food.
Although more agricultural land in Germany is sustainably and organically farmed every year, 1.5 million people in the country have an inadequate and very unbalanced diet. In most cases, sick, elderly people are affected by malnutrition either because old age, loneliness or a lack of assistance have diminished their appetite or because they cannot look after themselves. By the same token, there are children whose diet lacks important nutrients. Poorer families, in particular, often substitute cheaper, high-calorie ingredients, such as pasta and fast food, for healthy foods.
It is high time to reconsider how we grow, trade and consume our food. With the right changes, our agriculture, forestry and fisheries will be able to not only provide everyone with a nutritious diet as well as yield a reasonable income, but also foster people-focused rural development and environmental protection.
To adequately feed the 815 million people already suffering from hunger today, plus the additional two billion people expected to be undernourished by 2050, we must fundamentally reshape our global food and agriculture system. Investing in agriculture is crucial to boosting agricultural productivity. Sustainable food production systems are necessary when it comes to reducing the risk of hunger and its spread around the world.