The tragedy of hunger

WE HAVE to agree with Pope Benedict XVI that "hunger is the most cruel and concrete sign of poverty. Opulence and waste are no longer acceptable when the tragedy of hunger is assuming ever greaterproportions".

WE HAVE to agree with Pope Benedict XVI that "hunger is the most cruel and concrete sign of poverty. Opulence and waste are no longer acceptable when the tragedy of hunger is assuming ever greaterproportions".

That is why it is so disappointing that the heads of state and ministers meeting in Rome this week rejected the United Nations' call to commit $44billion annually for agricultural development in poorer nations.

The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation meeting's final declaration also omitted a pledge to eradicate hunger by 2025.

About one billion people, or one of every six human beings, goes to bed hungry every day. More worrisome is that all concerned agree that there is enough food to feed everyone - if there is a political will to do so.

The heads of state who blocked the declaration have therefore set in motion events that might very well haunt the more affluent of humanity.

Without food security, no other type of guarantees can be had when such high numbers of people continue to be left out of the food loop. The poor and the hungry cannot be wished away. One way or the other, allsocieties will have to deal with them.

The Rome meeting offered the well-fed world an opportunity to lead the kind ofdiscussion on how to eradicate hunger. We can only hope that the failure to get to an agreement will not drive the hungry and marginalised into forcing the discussion in their own too ghastly to contemplate terms.

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