As billions pour into Mozambique from foreign investors scooping up fields of coal and natural gas, the signs of newfound wealth are impossible to miss.
Overcoming hunger and malnutrition in the 21st century no longer means simply increasing the quantity of available food but also the quality.
About a week ago my wife was taken to hospital and diagnosed with pneumonia. She was promptly treated with antibiotics and, wonderfully, is now on the mend.
In the heart of the Pijol mountains in the northern Honduran province of Yoro, the Tolupan indigenous community of Pueblo Nuevo has a lot to celebrate: famine is no longer a problem for them, and their youngest children were rescued from the grip of child malnutrition.
There is a new dimension to the issue of malnutrition – governments, civil society and the private sector have started to come together around a common nutrition agenda.
The scourge of malnutrition affects the most vulnerable in society, and it hurts most in the earliest stages of life. Today, more than 800 million people are chronically hungry, about 11 percent of the global population.
“We are especially distressed by the high prevalence and increasing numbers of malnourished children under five years of age in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. Moreover, more than 2000 million people, mostly women and children, are deficient in one or more micronutrients...”
The widespread outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, which has resulted in over 4,500 deaths so far, is also threatening to trigger a food crisis in the three countries already plagued by poverty and hunger.
The number of hungry people in the world has declined by over 100 million in the last decade and over 200 million since 1990-92, but 805 million people around the world still go hungry every day, according to the latest UN estimates.
"The smell of faeces and urine isolates them completely. Their husbands abandon them and they become stigmatised forever” – Dr Pashtoon Kohistani barely needs two lines to sum up the drama of those women affected by obstetric fistula.
The Shatila Palestinian camp has no library, nor does adjacent Sabra or Ain El-Hilweh in the south. And, after recent statements by Lebanon’s foreign minister, some fear that the thousands of Syrian refugee children within them will soon have even slimmer chances of learning to read and write.
The official outlook for agriculture up to 2023 carries optimistic forecasts for agricultural productivity and commodity prices but it is unlikely that the benefits will be shared by the world’s poorest.
Gaunt, haggard Syrian children begging and selling gum have become a fixture in streets of the Lebanese capital; having fled the ongoing conflict, they continue to be stalked by its effects.
Attempts to genetically modify food staples, such as crops and cattle, to increase their nutritional value and overall performance have prompted world-wide criticism by environmental, nutritionists and agriculture experts, who say that protecting and fomenting biodiversity is a far better solution to hunger and malnutrition.
The choice of foods displayed on supermarket shelves can be quite bewildering. This abundance encourages us to take it for granted that we will always be able to buy the food we want at affordable prices.