Showing posts with label Vandana Shiva. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vandana Shiva. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

food for thought

New data from the United Nations reveals that there has been progress in reducing the number of hungry people worldwide. But an estimate that nearly 870 million people, one in eight, suffered from chronic undernourishment over the last two years. The vast majority of these people, 852 million, live in developing countries, which means that 15 percent of the developing world suffers from hunger, while 16 million people are undernourished in developed countries.

The FAO estimates that childhood malnutrition causes the deaths of more than 2.5 million children every year.

The situation is particularly bad in Africa, where the number of hungry has grown in the last twenty years from 175 to 239 million.

Food is transported all across the world. Even though according to researchers we currently produce food for 11 billion people there exists food shortages and millions starve.  Yet 1.3bn are obese, condemned to artificially cheap, calorie-rich, nutrient-poor processed food. Today's hunger is permanent and global. It is hunger by design. This does not mean that those who design the contemporary   food systems intend to create hunger. It does mean that creation of hunger is built into the capitalist structure of industrial  production and globalised distribution of food for profit. The dominant myth of big agro-buiness is that it produces more food and is land-saving. However, the more industrialised agriculture spreads, the more hungry people we have. And the more commercial agriculture spreads, the more land is grabbed.

"Hunger and malnutrition is manmade. It is in the design of the industrial chemical model of agriculture. And just as hunger has been created by design, producing healthy and nutritious food for all can be designed through food democracy."
writes environmental activist Vandana Shiva.

Much of her argument is for ecological and sustainable systems of food production that work with nature and not against and  has value, yet as socialists frequently encounter, when those social scientists deem technology as a root cause they overlook the economic imperative to create profit for a particular class which according to ourselves is the real root cause. Unless this is addressed directly then no amount of campaigning for reform will change the reality producers and consumers face. Food production reformers talk within an economical and  political vacuum with no real attention given to genuine solutions.