Abundantly in this world, 811 million people are going to bed hungry at night and 44 million people in 38 countries are facing extreme hunger. The United States must come forward to help.
Depending on the length of the conflict, the WFP estimates that international wheat and corn prices will increase by 18% to 30%. Countries like Syria – where food prices have doubled in the past year – rely heavily on food imports and suffer the most. About half of all African countries import one-third of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine. And so, rising and falling food prices have hit risky countries like a sledgehammer.
But hunger is a solvable problem. It depends on lifting people out of poverty – especially those who produce, sort and process our food – as farmers and food workers have the highest rates of food insecurity in the world. In times of crisis, we focus on getting food and cash to the weakest as soon as possible – but we can’t stop there. In my three decades of humanitarian and development work, we have failed to address sustainable systematic hunger, and at the moment we are heading for another deadly path.
Advocates of large-scale, intensive industrial agriculture reiterate that the solution to the current hunger crisis is to increase global production. But in reality, the world’s farmers produce more than enough food to feed the global population, and in recent years, the world has witnessed record crop harvests. There is no shortage of food — just a lack of equality. There is enough food for everyone, including lost exports from Ukraine.
The solution now is to support both urgent, urgent measures to save lives and modify our food production and distribution systems so that we can survive this vicious cycle. And the United States must lead the charge.
The United States has already provided much-needed humanitarian assistance to the most affected countries and regions in the world, including Ukraine and East and West Africa. In addition to these and other welcome actions, Congress now has to approve অতিরিক্ত 5 billion in emergency spending under the Additional Ukraine Supplementary Allocation Act to help people in need. We’ve just seen this number in the House Act – and the Senate should follow suit.
This emergency assistance will prevent widespread starvation, child malnutrition, forcing families to leave their homes in search of food, and other dire, preventable, and predictable consequences of widespread hunger. These funds can also be used to provide farmers with the necessary supplies like seeds, equipment and fertilizers so that they can recover and replant.
The long-term solution will depend on investing in a more equitable global system for agriculture and food security. Small-scale family farms feed one-third of the world’s population, and in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa they provide more than 70% of the food supply, but these important tasks are often overlooked.
To address this, Congress should also expand and re-approve the Global Food Security Act, which addresses many of the fundamental inequalities in the food system: first legislation signed by President Obama in 2016 and re-approved by President Trump in 2018, due to this legislation in 2023. This re-approval is important because it gives the government a strong, bipartisan legal mandate to prioritize this work.
The law works to empower farmers in low-income countries to build a strong foundation so that they are prepared for the next drought, flood or distant conflict. It also emphasizes the needs of women, who are often overlooked as the main guardians of food security in their families and communities. And it gives resources to those who suffer the worst consequences of the climate crisis, even if it contributes the least.
Hunger is unacceptable and preventable in the 21st century. Everyone should have access to affordable, healthy food. To witness millions of people living one step away from famine, where there is so much excess, is a heinous act. Only the right political choice can end hunger. There is an opportunity for Congress and the Biden administration to show leadership, save lives and take steps to fix our broken food system. They can do this by working boldly to end this tragedy by investing quickly, liberally and strategically in global food security for all.