‘Foods of the Poor’ Play Important Role in Hunger Crisis

With the global population expected to reach nine billion by 2050, ‘foods of the poor’ or ‘forgotten foods’ can play an important role in helping the estimated 925 million people who suffer from hunger and malnutrition worldwide, a United Nations official said today.

Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific Hiroyuki Konuma says indigenous foods which have been neglected by the food industry and urban consumers can be an important tool to alleviate hunger and malnutrition as well.

People march through the streets of Monrovia, Liberia, during the World Food Programme (WFP)’s Walk the World march. Monrovia was chosen along with other key cities to bring global attention to the plight of world hunger.

UN Photo/Eric Kanalstein

According to FAO, globalization has reduced the number of plant species used for food and other purposes from roughly 100,000 to about 30.

With the global population expected to reach nine billion by 2050, FAO is concerned that the world may not be able to produce enough food to meet demand.

FAO reports that indigenous and traditional foods, which are sometimes undervalued can play an important role in helping the millions of people who suffer from hunger and malnutrition worldwide, 60 per cent of whom live in the Asia-Pacific region.

It added that among neglected traditional foods in Asia that could help meet the needs of local populations are forest fruits, sago palm, medicinal wild plants and edible insects.

“Go local. Enhance local food security; and maximize the utilization of locally available foods.” -Mr. Konuma

On October 2011, the United Nations and the United States Peace Corps signed an agreement to cooperate in combating worldwide hunger by increasing food security in the 76 countries where the more than 8,600 US volunteers currently work.

The agreement, signed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UN World Food Programme (WFP) at their Rome headquarters, builds on years of cooperation with the 50-year-old US organization.

FAO and the Peace Corps have a long history of working together in rural communities throughout the world. This agreement signals a renewed, enhanced commitment to harnessing the respective strengths and expertise of our three organizations to tackle the root causes of hunger and ensure sustainable food security and economic development.

There are nearly 1 billion hungry people around the world today. Hunger and malnutrition are the number one risk to health worldwide – greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

WFP is the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year, on average, WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.