As many of you know, I had spent much of this past year working in India. The food in India is splendid. SPLENDID. But that’s because I got to eat.
In the minds of many Americans, India is the exotic land of Slumdog Millionaire, Bollywood dancers, and romantic ashrams of Eat, Pray, Love lore. Along with China, India is sometimes depicted as “taking over” the U.S. – where “they” are getting rich from taking jobs from “us.” Two of the wealthiest people in the world are from India. Over 200 million in India have the purchasing power that rivals that of the U.S. There are jasmine-scented gardens…
…fancy, air-conditioned malls…
…and man-made lakes for picnics.
Well, guess what.
India also leads in world hunger.
Check out this quick video:
Over 200 million people in India are undernourished. That’s like saying EVERYONE in France-Germany-UK COMBINED go hungry. 50% of child deaths are due to malnutrition. And this is in face of the fact that we as humans have the capacity and technology to make enough food to feed everyone in the world several times over (based on a European diet). So why and how are so many people food insecure?
What does food insecurity even mean? Well, food security is not only the availability of food, but access to it. Food insecurity can range from chronic food insecurity (i.e. chronic hunger) to transitory food insecurity. Just because food is produced doesn’t necessarily mean one has access to it.
According the BBC, the hungriest in India are often the food’s producers: the farmers themselves. With a focus on new technology, government subsidies to make fertilizers and GMOs cheaper have also led to crop prices plummeting (situation sound familiar?). As a result, many Indian farmers have been unable to pay down their debt and many have been unable to eat what they grow. With global food prices doubling to 11% from a year ago and this past year’s monsoon failure and subsequent torrential downpours destroying crops, some farmers have even resorted to suicide.
Beyond the images of confident Bollywood dancers and sophisticated businessmen, let us not forget that there are families – moms, dad, babies – who do not even have the security of knowing when or if they will eat next.
If India seems to far away for you, let’s take it to the U.S., where food insecurity is not unknown. 1 in 6 families in the U.S. go hungry. That is 500,000 families and 17 million children in the U.S.
For more information on India’s hunger crisis (statistics pulled from these sources):
- Times of India: India tops world hunger charts.
- Economy Watch: India’s hunger crisis worsens despite economic successes.
- Sydney Morning Herald: India’s hidden hunger.
- Hindustan Time: India’s food crisis is incomparable.
- Vancouver Sun: biofuel could be reason for world hunger.
Us…them…U.S….India…we’re all in this together. Wherever we may be, food should not be something to be insecure about.
About the Author (Author Profile)With a flair for spontaneity, pizzazz, creative excellence and her own unique sense of aesthetic grace and perspective, we have our very dear friend, Belinda (or B, to some of us). Although an incredibly accomplished professional and career woman, B’s down-to-earth approach and demeanor transcends all scenarios, communities and people. She manifests, in her day-to-day, the essence of the word “Zomppa” as demonstrated by her extraordinary commitment to creating sustainable and positive change for us and future generations to come. She’s asked for a dog every year since she was five. Check out Belinda’s work on global education research and coaching: www.hummingbirdrcc.com or more about her portfolio www.belindachiu.com.
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