At Good Food For Good every purchase you make helps feed a hungry child. Why exactly is hunger so important to us? We believe that ending hunger is entirely feasible (indeed, once achieved, the only question will be why it took us so long).
Hunger is not a problem simply caused by natural crises. It is tolerated because other things are deemed more important. Although there is more than enough food to feed the world’s growing population, a global economic system that benefits the industrialized nations creates hunger in developing countries. Even when food is sent to developing countries often corrupt politics ensures the blocking of the distribution channels to the hungry. Through greed and corruption, the channels are re-routed away from the poor for profit. The voices of industrialized nations consumers and farmers, for example, carry more political weight. If we took all our fine words about solidarity seriously, then subsidies would have to be abolished, trade relationships revolutionized and the price of food in the industrial states would rise. Water scarcity and poor water quality also further contribute and compound food insecurity problems for poor families across the world.
We believe it requires action at several different levels. At a national level, progressive governments in Brazil and Ghana have shown how to cut hunger sharply. This was achieved through cash transfers to poor people, raising the minimum wage and investing in smallholder farmers (especially women). These individuals produce food, and ironically are some of the poorest and hungriest people in the Alice in Wonderland world of a brutally unfair farming system.
To reduce hunger and poverty in the world, we have to improve the livelihoods of the poor. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to help smallholder family farmers improve their productivity and incomes. Agriculture is the single largest employer in the world, providing livelihoods for 40 per cent of today’s global population. It is the largest source of income and jobs for poor rural households.
Despite this fact the voices of the hungry carry little weight – they have no lobby. Perversely, people go hungry – of all places – where food is produced, among small farmers in rural regions. These people have nobody to represent their interests in multilateral economic institutions. When free trade treaties and global trade flows are negotiated, they have no voice, despite the fact that there are very many of them: Just under half of all people worldwide live either directly or indirectly from agriculture. The large, unheard majority in the developing world pays the price for our economic system: One billion people are hungry or undernourished.
Hunger is both a cause and a symptom of poverty. Damaged bodies and brains are a moral scandal and a tragic waste of economic potential. That hunger exists at all shows the urgency of redistributing income and assets to achieve a fairer world. Providing the additional calories needed by the 13% of the world’s population facing hunger would require just 1% of the current global food supply. That that redistribution has not already taken place is truly something to be ashamed of.
Justice is a thornier issue to solve because administering justice requires giving certain people power over others and as we all have seen before, power corrupts. The best way to mitigate this problem is to give people as little power over others as possible in hopes of limiting their corruption.