Recent protests over high food prices in Mozambique killed at least 12 people and injured hundreds. These violent protests were reminiscent of the 2008 food price crisis which plunged millions more people around the globe into the despair of hunger.
There is fear of another surge in food prices, a second silent tsunami of global hunger which will engulf even more millions. Charles MacCormack, CEO of Save the Children, says, “Many experts expect food prices to remain volatile in the coming years. If we truly want to create stability and prosperity that can offset future shocks, the world must get serious about investing in the poorest and most vulnerable communities."
This means strengthening the food production capabilities of small farmers and establishing social safety nets for times of crisis. This is crucial when it comes to children, who are the most vulnerable of the 925 million people who suffer from hunger worldwide. Save the Children says that "malnutrition is the underlying cause of at least 2.5 million preventable child deaths each year."
There is also a strong call for more coordinated leadership from the U.S in responding to hunger. This means passage of the Global Food Security Act and the establishment of a food ambassador, preferably to reside in the White House.
The stakes are high. The UN World Food Programme is facing major funding shortages for its relief work in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Haiti. Sudan and other countries are also suffering from hunger. Shortages of food in those countries doom hopes of stability and progress. A second silent tsunami of food prices would worsen the situation very quickly.
Save the Children has some ways readers can get involved as this World Food Day arrives. You can contact lawmakers about passing the Global Food Security Act. You can also write in support of the McGovern-Dole Global school meals program at the World Food Program USA. You can take a World Food Day Quiz at www.savethechildren.org/worldfoodday.
View a video on food security and Mozambique: