Poor people, too, have their own potential that enables them to overcome hidden hunger. Even in the remotest and poorest regions, a small piece of land, a bank card and a mobile phone are often enough for people to help themselves when the state they live in is not able to secure the food needs of the entire population.
Neue Zürcher Zeitung recommends that this approach be taken as the new focus for international development aid. The reason behind this change in thinking is the failure to meet one of the most ambitious millennium objectives, i.e. to reduce the number of undernourished people by fifty percent starting from the turn of the millennium until 2015. The political and technological failure of individual states and of the community of states as a whole are put forward to explain why that vision could not be realised: The North saves money and does not provide sufficient funds for development aid while “poor governance“ still belongs to normality. Civil wars are increasingly making supply more difficult. The redistribution of sufficiently produced food does not work, nor can subsistence farming secure food supplies.
The way out of this dilemma lies in the encouragement of the commitment of people suffering from hunger and in building on the best practice principle locally – especially through the strengthening of land rights and the training of small farmers in the fields of erosion control, fertilisation, irrigation, seeds, and careful storage. The achieved yield increase does not only help to better satisfy hunger by oneself, but also supports the retail trade with surplus products. Bank cards for the poor enable them to take part in business life autonomously and to receive social benefits granted by the state directly and with the proviso that part of it is invested in preventive health care. Solar cells and mobile phones strengthen the flexibility of independent thinking and acting to an unprecedented degree even for the poor.
In return, the reduction of subsidised consumption of meat in Europe is also a milestone in international agricultural policy in order to mitigate hunger worldwide.
A. Wysling. Bauern besiegen den Hunger. Neue Zürcher Zeitung vom 15.11.2015.