Nations will have to join hunger fight

According to Scripture, when Jesus of Nazareth preached to hungry multitudes, he did not stop with a sermon. He gave them food as well, on at least one occasion miraculously multiplying a few loaves and fishes. Twenty centuries later, the world fails to ensure that its people do not go hungry

According to Scripture, when Jesus of Nazareth preached to hungry multitudes, he did not stop with a sermon.

He gave them food as well, on at least one occasion miraculously multiplying a few loaves and fishes.

Twenty centuries later, the world fails to ensure that its people do not go hungry.

The Economist warns that current food prices worldwide are even higher than at their previous peak in 2008.

A New York Times editorial on Feb. 25 reported that, since June 2010, 44 million people worldwide have been reduced to extreme poverty by soaring food prices.

In 2008, there were food riots in 30 nations. As yet, there have been none this year.

Nevertheless, the Times reported the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s warning that Mozambique, Uganda, Mali, Niger and Somalia in sub-Saharan Africa, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in Asia, and Haiti, Guatemala, Bolivia and Honduras in Latin America are vulnerable to political instability because of rising food prices.

The United States has pledged $3.5 billion to the World Bank fund to bolster food production in affected countries.

To date, according to the Times, only $66.6 million has been received by the bank.

Now the Obama administration is asking Congress to appropriate $408 million for the fund.

Instead, the House cut $800 million out of the food-aid budget in its continuing resolution, reducing the total to about $1 billion — about where it was a decade ago.

Meanwhile, some countries have resorted to stockpiling food against higher prices.

When India did that last year, those supplies rotted before they could be used.

Wealthier countries impose bans or tariffs on food imports from poorer nations, stifling their attempts to improve Third World food production.

The Economist projects that worldwide food production must rise by 70 percent to feed the expected growth in population by 2050.

As it is, the world today cannot adequately feed its seven billion people, let alone the nine billion people expected at midcentury.

Some well-intentioned policies make the shortages worse. In an effort to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, some nations have mandated that 10 percent or more of gasoline at the pump must come from renewable sources.

Today, ethanol accounts for just eight percent of the fuel consumed by autos in America.

But it consumes almost 40 percent of our nation’s maize crop.

Lest we conceive of hunger as confined to poor nations alone, millions of children in America are at risk of going hungry.

Last year, when the 33 Chilean miners were trapped a half-mile underground, they prayed for their meager food supply to be miraculously increased.

Instead, their rescue was achieved through the efforts of many nations.

That same level of effort will be needed to conquer world hunger.

David Yount answers readers at P.O. Box 2758, Woodbridge, VA 22195 and dyount31@verizon.net.