Editorial: Ongoing hunger crisis forces developing countries further into poverty

By Mallory Terrence
February 19, 2009

Even before the current U.S. economic crisis, there was a worldwide epidemic affecting more than half of the world’s population, leaving almost a billion people starving and many more, even in the U.S., struggling to get a basic necessity in life: food.

Since spring 2007, food prices across the world started to rise significantly. The cost of products like flour, rice, corn and wheat were doubling and even tripling in price. In a single year alone the cost of wheat had risen 130 percent and rice 74 percent.

A global food crisis had hit and it seemed to happen over night, with no direct warning.

The American people were not eliminated from dealing with the food crisis and found everyday foods harder to fit into their budgets.

In summer 2008, Americans experienced a season of high costs in both food and gas, forcing many to cut back on some expenses but for the most part Americans were able to lead their normal lives.

Americans spend 10 to 20 percent of their income on food, while many in the developing world spend 60 to 80 percent of their income on food. The rise in food prices has driven many countries into a world of extreme poverty, which leaves them striving to feed its citizens.

The developing world is dealing with malnourishment and people living on little to no food each day. Besides no food, many of the same countries have no clean water or any type of health care system. Even the worst conditions in America are vastly different from those in the developing world.

For people in the U.S., the rise in food prices has forced us to cut back on insignificant items such as vacations or extra entertainment, with slight cuts on grocery spending: while people in developing countries do not have those options and have complete frustration, leading to political and economical instability.

In April 2008, Haiti experienced a number of riots due to and rooted in the lack of food supply, and in 2007 India also saw a number of riots related back to the global food crisis. The global food crisis creates a larger problem than hungry people, provoking war and worsens in disease.

But how does a college student begin to understand such large and complex issues? First we must educate ourselves and those around us on the topic. After we are educated, we can work towards policy change in government, because hunger is preventable and we do have the availability to end extreme poverty.

Why should people in less developed countries and in poor areas of the U.S. be stripped of basic human rights because they cannot afford food? Each American is lucky to live in a country that although has economic problems, is still able to provide for our citizens unlike many other countries around the world.

Mallory Terrence

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