Currently showing: Food security > Diet/alternatives

07 Dec 13 14:50

Once upon a time, in ancient India (actually South India), there lived a great Tamil poet and philosopher called Saint Thiruvalluvar. He was a poor person but rich in ideals. People often would drop by his home seeking enlightenment.

One such person when went to his humble hut at the time of lunch one day. Thiruvalluvar's guest was surprised to see a needle and a small cup of water next to the saint's plate. They had philosophical discussion during lunch. When they finished their food, the visitor got up thinking the meal had ended. But instead he saw Thiruvalluvar using the needle to pick up the food particles that fell out of his plate while eating, dipping them in the water and then putting them into his mouth, making sure no crumb of food was wasted

This practice never flourished in any part of the India or the world - shows it wasn’t that fashionable. In the era of increasing profitability, such a big effort for such small savings is actually time wasted!

Thiruvalluvar's story shows that if one person wishes to help a cause he can do so in his own little ways. But let’s admit, whom we are kidding here? Can lone battles or pockets of resistance win a war at global level?

Anyone who has followed Gandhi’s struggle to free India wouldn’t have failed to see that he was able to free India because he had entire nation following his words in to action. When he said we won’t wear foreign clothes, people started wearing khadi (homemade cotton clothes). His civil disobedience movement was a success because people supported him. And by people here I mean the entire nation!!

When that old man could change the course of a nation when even printing a newspaper was crime, I believe we could go one up and replicate this at global level! In the age of facebook or twitter it should be much easier to address world hunger! After all, the same rich who waste food use these social media.

Claudio’s blog simplistically tells us the economy of food prices and why we as a consumers are responsible for it, arguing that we the consumers can help the cause.

But all our efforts are going to go in vain. Because in the effort to eradicate hunger and feed a projected population of 9 billion, we are concentrating only on the “food”; the food which is either over produced or wasted to feed those who can afford it. Even if the wastage is taken care of and the food is made cheaper, I am sure even then food will not reach the poor and the needy. What we need to understand is that asking or forcing the food selling companies won’t help either. They might use philosophies like lean, sigma, etc. to reduce the wastage and find novel ways to feed the rich. These companies have the potential to make all the protesters go home happy, content, and satisfied. But hey!!! Was that ever the problem? Feeding the rich and who could afford it anyway?

The poor, who form the massive part of that 9 billion, will still go hungry. You know why? Because the aim of the food industry is to make profit and not to eradicate the world hunger.

To solve the food problem, we do not need more food by growing more or saving more. What we need is brains. The best of the brains which are right now working for the big profit-making firms to generate more profit. We need to find a way to free up this important resource.

I hate coming up only with the problems, I've suggested a solution as well…

Such projects would not only benefit communities directly, but also give the satisfaction to the hard working people cause I believe heroic work is what everyone in the world is born for and what could be more satisfying than this? Besides, the companies could have more developed markets to explore. It would be a win-win situation for everyone!

Remember the old proverb? “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” It has a strong meaning in this context of feeding 9 billion, if you could see it, but can you?

Do you find an iota of possibility in my perspective or I am unable to see the problem as the whole world sees it? I will be happy for suggestions.

Category: Food security: Diet/alternatives, Food industry, Food waste


Alicia Montoya - 9 Dec 2013, 8:49 p.m.

Well, I'm an economist. From where I stand it's pretty clear: Corporates and rich nations' governments will act when the cost of not acting becomes higher than the consequences of hunger/climate/illness... And trust me, those costs are growing every single day. e.g. There is huge pressure on rich nations' borders, lots of civil unrest, the purchasing power of tomorrow's consumers is being hampered... If rich nations want to continue growing, they'll HAVE TO address these issues, sooner or later. And the speed at which they do so will be in my view determined by the costs (and lost opportunities) we cover every single day.

Paritosh - 10 Dec 2013, 2:43 p.m.

I hope the actions begin at the earnest cause it can't be tackled the way we tackle a problem of mosquitoes (spray to kill or cream to ward them off)...

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