Last Wednesday was World Hunger Day and the statistics on the level of hunger in the world look bleak. About 13.1 percent of the world’s population is hungry. That’s roughly 925 million people who go undernourished on a daily basis, consuming less than the recommended 2,100 calories a day. Therefore, the world is far from actualising the goal of achieving the eradication of hunger.
Hunger is an indication of imbalance in the economic system of the world. The major cause of hunger is poverty and this is largely found in the third world, where the majority of the world’s people live. Vast amounts of the world’s wealth are concentrated in the so called first world, hence the almost low amount of hunger and poverty in that sphere. They are the premier cause of the imbalance, through the capitalist machine that is bent on making profit for the top few at the altar of the poverty of the world’s dispossessed majority. In the fight against hunger which is very much linked to the fight against poverty, we must look at the problem produced by the mechanics of capitalism and globalisation.
But at the core of the hunger fight is the need for self-sufficiency in food and the localisation of the economy, thereby ensuring food security. Looking at it from that perspective, we should be asking questions as to what policies have been put in place to combat food insecurity. The Gambia as a developing country, with a high level of poverty, should strive harder to produce productive citizens and it’s only logical that hungry people are not optimally productive. So we must not misplace our priorities, by turning a blind eye on the need to boost food security and abundance through investment in our own backyard, and the defiance of the globalised trend which is not helping the poorer countries.
The call to localise production and supporting home-based agriculture should be a foremost priority. The importation is not sustainable and in the long run we will be forced by necessity to cut down on it thereby affecting the entire country. With the proper means to develop our own local economy by investing and supporting our farmers, we can transcend all these hurdles and move towards national development at a faster pace. However, to develop our agricultural sector into a meaningful and productive stronghold, we need to educate and raise awareness on its imperative necessity.
Giving the importance of agriculture in the fight against hunger, it is of the essence that we raise awareness on its increase in productivity. The government must be commended for the constant ‘back to the land’ call. However, there needs to be an increased call, with the promotion of reliance on local producers and factories, which are now on the increase. The government should also invest heavily in the sector, which will be the best way of sensitising the people, because it will become a viable economic option that the citizenry can be sure to engage in.
As we reflect on the problem of hunger as a people, we should be busy developing the proper means and mechanisms within the bounds of an ethical discourse that should permeate all sectors of society. The various policies of the government in its fight against poverty, which is the vanguard of hunger, should also be revitalised and brought to the table.
The discussion should not be restricted within the walls of the government, for this is a matter of the utmost importance, which, if not tackled, will make national development a far-off dream. Everyone has a line to say in this grand discourse since at the end of the day, real democracy is food for the people from the people. Food security and the expulsion of hunger are the most basic of fundamental rights.]]>