Hunger is growing but it’s not news any more.
The alarm bell was set ringing by the FAO-IFAD-WFP 2017 report on the state of food security, which for the first time in ten years certifies a dramatic trend reversal, declaring that in 2016, 815 million people were suffering from hunger, the equivalent of 11% of the world population and as many as 38 million more than the previous year.
The way things stand, the ‘zero hunger’ target set by the UNO as the fulcrum of its 2030 Agenda is looking like a pipedream. In fact, if new efforts are not made in the meantime, by 2030 653 million human beings will be forced to suffer from lack of food.
Bearing in mind that 2.5 billion people depend on agriculture and the food supply chain for a living, and that 1.5 billion of them are small-scale producers, it is clear how the keystone in the fight against malnutrition and poverty is now more than ever the primary sector.
FAO reminds us of the fact in a new report published with a view to World Food Day today: ‘Producing more with less, while still preserving and valorizing farmers’ means of subsistence, is a global challenge’. To date, says the United Nations agency, even in poor countries rural populations have paid for the existence of an ‘urban prejudice’ in development policies that has resulted in decision-makers ignoring agriculture as a source of income and a way of stemming unchecked demographic concentration. By 2030, in fact, it is predicted that 80% of the urban population will be living in the large cities of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
It is our hope is that, following the G7 Agriculture Ministerial Meeting that ended in Bergamo yesterday, taking center stage will be not ‘the great of the planet’ but those most oppressed by the effects of the economic imbalances and climate change that our own development model has helped to fuel.
Slow Food Italy President
La Stampa, Sostiene Slow Food, Sunday 15 October