What does it mean to be hungry? Those in the Sahel region of Africa have been experiencing what it is like to be short of food. For years now they have been faced with food shortages due to distinct reasons. Their location, demographic and economy prevents them from producing the necessary amount of food(Lifland 1). During the year 2010 the population was forced to suffer additionally due to the extreme heat during the summer. The temperature rose to 120 degrees Fahrenheit in certain areas leading to the to the desertification of the land and in other area it was due to the over farming of the land (Lifland 1). People are suffering all across the nation and in Africa which is why the proper solution needs to be determined.
Everyone knows that people go through adversity however, some are not aware that a great number of people in the United States and in countries like Africa, find it incredibly difficult to get access to the necessary nutrients needed to survive. It is greatly saddening to think that the millions around the world are unable to fulfill their basic needs because of the region they live in or because they do not have sufficient funds needed to purchase something as essential as food. About 14 percent of the population worldwide and an estimated 12 percent of people in the United States are currently malnourished. To add on to the misfortune, most of the people that are starving are malnourished are children.
Some will argue that there isn’t anything that can possibly be done to help the innocent starving population when the reality of things is that there are a number of things that can be done. There are many good solutions to this one argument. For example, Bill Gates argues that in order to solve the hunger issue in Africa the attention needs to be turned to genetically modified crops, while Phil Bereano believes that the most effective approach would be to use agro-ecological techniques. Guo-hua Liu and Bo-jie Fu define agro-engineering as “ an agro-ecosystem in which the principles of maximum utilization of space and resources by organisms in symbiotic communities mutual coordination and promotion among components and multi-step, multi-pathway use transformations of substances and energy are effectively applied” ( Lui, Guo 5). In other words, agro-ecological engineering is the coming together of natural resources and humans to create something useful in this case food for those in great need.
Another possible solution to end hunger in Africa would be to convince the government to prioritize the nutrition of the country and get them to fund national programs and would ultimately benefit the country’s population (Ford 1). In doing so the African government made it clear that they will “spend ten percent of the national budget on agriculture” leading to the increase of six percent productivity. The government stated that they will work with farmers and whoever else it takes to address the huge issue of starvation especially because most of the population malnourished are children specifically those under five years of age (Ford 1). The chairwoman of the AU Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, clearly stated that what was said in the gathering will not be forgotten easily. She plans on working hard to fulfil what has been said. This might seem seem like an ideal solution because of the government involvement however “ over the past decade only ten countries have achieved their goal” (Ford 1). Which is why the ideal solution to hunger in Africa would be to use agro-ecological engineering.
Agro-ecological engineering would be ideal in a country like Africa because it has been proven to be effective and reliable” (Bereano 1). Agro-ecological techniques would be ideal to solve the issue of hunger in Africa because it has been proven to be effective even when the climate changes (Bereano 1). In addition, the agro-ecological methods would be the best option because it would not cause any damage to the “natural carbon, nitrogen, and water cycles” (Bereano 1). This is the perfect solution some scientist have been overlooking. This method would focus on the production of food that uses natural resources in the best way possible while still keeping in mind not to damaging them (Agroecological Farming). Still, even with all the benefits and efficiency some continue to argue that genetically modified crops would be the answer.
As mentioned, Bill Gates is a supporter of the genetically modified crops solution. Gates believes that genetically modified crops will benefit Africa because they are cheaper to produce. He admits to believing it would be a safe procedure in which the genes of a plant are changed (Malkan 1). Phil Bereano, JD, argues that Gates only agrees with the genetically modified crops solution he views the issue an opportunity to make money. Bereano states that “ his technocratic ideology runs counter to the best informed science” (Bereano 1). Not only does Bereano disagree with Gates but so does Kaiser Jamil, an internationally known technologist. Jamil believes that the genetically modified (GM) crops will help those who suffer from chronic hunger but it will have negative impacts on the environment in the long run. She goes on to state that “genetically modified crops can potentially kill other organisms other than pests that are beneficial to plants and reduce soil fertility” (Kaiser 2). Furthermore, there is a possibility that the GM crops could “transfer insecticidal properties or virus resistance to wild relatives of the crop species” (Kaiser 2). Again proving why the GM crops solution would not be the ideal solution to end hunger. It is clear that the agro-ecological engineering would be the best overall.
People do not just suffer from hunger in places like Africa. Millions of people are currently starving in the United States. There are many different causes for the lack of food. According to John Abell, a professor of economics at Randolph University, the primary cause of hunger in the United States is poverty. He believes that “ Giving people food without addressing the reasons behind their hunger has the potential to set up a cycle of dependency which the underlying ultimate causal factors are left in place” (Abell 1). In other words, what he is saying is that those who are hungry might be given food and the necessities they need but that does not solve the issue. The issue is that a large part of the population does not have the money to purchase food which is why in order to solve the issue of hunger poverty needs to be solved as well. In order to solve the issue of hunger and poverty Abell believes that in order to reduce the amount of people who are constantly lacking food communities should open up new markets and support local businesses (Abell 17). If local markets open it would give the people in the community the opportunity to obtain a job which would allow them to have the money needed to satisfy their hunger. The proposed solution would has been proven to help the community. Abell’s research says that 78 markets were opened in different areas of Pennsylvania leading to the creation of 4800 jobs in which 75 percent of the employees lived in the surrounding area (14). It is clear that the solution to ending hunger in the United States must begin with the end to poverty.
Even though Abell’s approach is the most logical and effective solution others argue that a in order to help the hungry people need to take advantage of the programs that are offered. Miriam S Edlefsen and Christine M Olsen, PhD, conducted an interview in which people from different backgrounds who volunteer at either emergency feeding programs (EFP) or soup kitchens (SK). The volunteers were asked a number of questions about their opinions on hunger. Keep in mind that the people interviewed were from different social backgrounds, ethnicities and volunteered in different place. When asked their opinion on the best way to end hunger in the United States said that the best solution would be continue funding the programs that provide food to those who need it. One volunteered stated “Well, I have no idea. Just keep on with the programs they have. I guess they’ve had a lot of cutbacks. And, I have no idea , but spend more money probably on services” (Olsen 4). This solution would be good if it were actually possible. Many hope that the government would help those who need it but in reality the government is the first to take away money from the less fortunate. Therefore this solution would not be ideal.
Ultimately there are many different ways that can help those who suffer from hunger. The starving population in Africa can be helped by bringing agro-ecological engineering to locals farmers. Although others say that GM crops would be more ideal it would not be as efficient as agro-ecological engineering because it would over time damage the environment. To the solve the issue of hunger in the United States the first thing that the government would have to do would be to create more jobs that way people are able to purchase the food they need. It would be beneficial for the government to help the programs that feed the needy but that would not completely solve the issue.
Ford, Liz. “African leaders determined to end hunger by 2025.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 02 July 2013. 07 Aug. 2017.
Liu, Guo-hua and Bo-jie Fu. “Agro-Ecological Engineering in China: A Way Towards Sustainable Agriculture.” Journal of Environmental Sciences (IOS Press), vol. 12, no. 4, Dec. 2000, p. 421. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=4325368&site=ehost-live.
Lifland, Amy. “Starvation in the Sahel.” Harvard International Review, vol. 34, no. 1, Summer2012, pp. 6-7. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=76149195&site=ehost-live.
“Agroecological Farming.” Groundswell International. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Aug. 2017.
Malkan, Stacy. “What Bill Gates Isn’t Saying About GMOs.” U.S. Right to Know. N.p., 27 June 2016. 06 Aug. 2017.