A recent news report tells that a very serious food crisis is hitting the Sahel region of West Africa, where 10 million people are facing acute hunger. Niger, where 8 million people are at the risk of perishing for want of food, is the worst hit. Food shortage is also very acute in Chad, Mali and Burkina Faso. These people are now selling off livestock, eating wild foods, taking children out of school and abandoning their homes in a search for food. The crisis, resulting from irregular rainfall, crop deficits, rising food prices and chronic poverty, is much worse than the last food shortage in 2005.
Take look at the other side of the picture:
• According to a study by the University of Arizona Garbage Project, each American throws away 1.3 pounds of food a day, which amounts to 474.5 pounds per year per person. The US Department of Agriculture estimated that recovering just 5 percent of the food that is wasted in US alone could feed four million people a day; recovering 25 percent would feed 20 million people.
• According to a government-backed report, 8.3 million tonnes of food is thrown away by households in the UK every year. The report says Britain throws away 220,000 loaves of bread, 5.1million potatoes, 1.2 million sausages, 4.4 million apples, 1.6 million bananas, 1.3 million yoghurt pots, 660,000 eggs, 5,500 chickens, 300,000 packs of crisps and 440,000 ready meals.
• The 'Waste and resources Programme' report found that Scottish households throw out 570,000 tonnes of food and drink each year.
• The University of Western Sydney's Urban Research Centre report says: ''Sydney is such a rich consumer society that it happily throws away $603 million in fresh food every year.
The disturbing reality of hunger on one side and waste on the other points to the urgent need for action from individuals, governmental agencies, social organisations and United Nations. How can I respond to this most urgent humanitarian need? Could I feed at least one hungry person with the food that I would have bought in excess and wasted?