World Food Crisis — One of the Next President’s Major Worries

C. Bertelsen)
Malnourished Honduran Child (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)

The next president will have his hands full with many pressing problems, both here in the United States and abroad.

One of those problems will, of course, be the financial disaster on Wall Street.

Another will be plain, unvarnished world hunger.

Village in Burkina Faso (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)

An article in The Washington Post pointed out the impact that the Wall Street fiasco is having on countries like China and Kenya:

About 5,700 miles away [from China], in Nairobi, farmer Stephen Muchiri is suffering the consequences.

It’s planting season now, but he can afford to sow amaranthus and haricot beans on only half of the 10 acres he owns because the cost of the fertilizer he needs has shot up nearly $50 a bag in a matter of weeks. Muchiri said nearly everyone he knows is cutting back on planting, which means even less food for a continent where the supply has already been weakened by drought, political unrest and rising prices.

But nothing we might experience here in the United States will come close to what will happen in like the West African country of Burkina Faso. Because food never is in great supply in that country, not even in the best of circumstances — I know this first-hand, since I lived there for two years, the impending food scarcity should be of great concern to all of us. History teaches us lesson after lesson of the political effect of famine on human beings, as well as the physical effects.

Street Scene, Ouagadougou (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)

For more on this sad subject, read “Global Food Crisis:The New World of Soaring Food Prices” :

In poor nations, such as Burkina Faso in the heart of West Africa, mealtime conspires against women. They grow the food, fetch the water, shop at the market and cook the meals. But when it comes time to eat, men and children eat first, and women eat last and least.

© 2008 C. Bertelsen

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