Agricultural development through productivity improvements, crop intensification, irrigation, and investment in infrastructure has significantly improved food security and the seasonal dimension of hunger worldwide in recent years. Yet seasonal hunger still persists among the rural poor, and should not be lost within poverty statistics or forgotten when addressing chronic hunger in policymaking.
As the post-election dust settles and MPs start to move into their new offices in Whitehall, I want the Department for International Development (DFID) to prioritise the injustice of hunger and undernutrition; a leading cause of child mortality accounting for one-third of all deaths of children under five.
At emerge poverty free we work through local partners in East Africa to help people lift themselves out of poverty. Sometimes this is through an education project or by provision of clean water, and sometimes it is by establishing a demonstration farm, so that local communities can learn about improved farming techniques and better crops.
Up to 4.3 million tonnes of surplus food is produced each year, but only 2% of that goes to charities to feed the hungry. Around 3.7 million tonnes of this is destroyed or burned. While the political pressure simmers, an army of young activists are striving to tackle these issues from the front line. Chief amongst them is Grace Jones, a 15-year-old campaigner from Croydon.
Hidden hunger is caused by a lack of nutritious food and results in insufficient essential vitamins and minerals being absorbed into the body. It can have long-term, irreversible health effects as well as socioeconomic consequences that can erode a person's well-being and development. By affecting people's productivity, it can also take a toll on countries' economies...
Oxfam and other aid agencies are warning that rival groups in South Sudan are regrouping ready to resume violence once the rainy season ends this month. An upsurge in fighting would exacerbate what is already the world's worst food crisis and could lead to famine. The number of people facing dangerous levels of hunger is expected to increase by one million between January and March.
Before this conflict started in December, there was no inspiring and unifying vision of what South Sudan could be. The hope and optimism that came with independence is gone. Instead, there is now fear, mistrust and disillusionment between the people of South Sudan. An amazing opportunity has been squandered. It may take years to re-build a sense of unity.
I smelled the decaying bodies in Haiti after the earthquake and I got ill because of the terrible fumes of the dead buried under buildings in Lebanon after the bombings. That was nothing compared to the massacres and violence happening in South Sudan now. I won't go into the details; they're too gory, too much everything.