The Independent View: 1 in 7 people go hungry every day. But you can help. Here’s how…

It is a shocking fact that whilst enough food is produced globally to feed everyone, one in seven people go hungry every day. Around half a billion of these hungry people are smallholder farmers who struggle to grow enough food from their land to feed themselves and their families. So Concern Worldwide has launched a campaign action for you to use your influence to help tackle hunger.

World leaders of the Group of 20 leading economies met in Cannes in November 2011 and promised to address the issue of hunger. However, despite some progress, the issue was largely left as a footnote at the Summit. Meanwhile the hunger crisis remains more pressing than ever.

Global hunger has increased after the 2008 food price spike. The Global Hunger Index (GHI) notes that twenty-six countries in the world have hunger levels that are described as ‘serious’ or ‘alarming’. With four years for governments to keep their promise to achieve the Millennium Development Goals; the first one aiming to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, this situation is alarming.

Concern Worldwide works in 25 of the world’s poorest countries, with smallholder farmers like Jean Benchimas (pictured). With the right support, we know that many poor farmers are able to feed themselves through their own hard work. And we know that support to agriculture goes beyond the farmers themselves. When farmers grow more, they eat more and better food, sell food locally and employ others, helping the whole community to thrive.

People in the UK and the government have responded quickly and generously to the crisis in the Horn of Africa, but long-term solutions like support to smallholder agriculture are not getting the attention they deserve. Global aid to agriculture has declined since the 1980s. Poor farmers growing food for their families or on small-scale farms are often excluded from receiving agricultural support, as they are not seen as being ‘economically productive.’

The Liberal Democrat agenda regarding international development highlights its commitment on supporting actions to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. So we know that Lib Dem supporters will agree with Concern Worldwide that hunger is an outrage and needs to be tackled urgently.

The UK is highly influential in international development and we want to see the government lead the way on hunger reduction through support to smallholders. So we are asking you to push your MPs to:

    • prioritise hunger reduction through DFID’s aid spending, focusing on longer term agricultural support to poor farmers
    • commit to ensuring the UK uses its position as a leading international donor to pressure other governments to invest in poor farmers at the G8 and G20 meetings

Concern Worldwide is calling for the UK to lead the way globally to support poor farmers to grow more, to help make hunger a thing of the past. Please join us to help end hunger for hardworking farmers like Jean Benchimas, by emailing your MP today.

* Manmeet Kaur is Campaigns and Parliamentary Assistant at Concern Worldwide (UK). Find out more about Concern Worldwide UK’s campaign, Unheard Voices, championing the cause of smallholder farmers.

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This entry was posted in Europe / International and The Independent View.
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