STARVATION amidst plenty.

Food is not a rare commodity anymore but scarcity still exists in the poorer parts of the World even today. Unfortunately, This is a sad plight for many in the developing World. It is also seen in the cities of all industrialized nations as well and is becoming too common a sight. On the other hand food wastage is on the rise in all developed nations. In all major cities across the globe, the availability of food is plentiful. Today, We do not even need to think about where our next meal is going to come from. Half of the World is enjoying a Feast  most of the time where as the other half is in Famine. Food prices are the lowest and have stayed that way for decades. Transportation costs are steady due to artificially fixed fuel costs. So the question of affordability does not even exist. It then leads us to the question of them having access to this food. There are many businesses that have been created around Food and water. Bottled water is one of the major players raking in their Billions of $$$ by exploiting nature. These businesses also may have their long arms wrapped around it in controlling their best interests. Historically, the poor have always been exploited and abused. Poverty and the availability of food go hand in hand leading to unimaginable consequences.

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Why? This is a question which has been bothering me the most for the past few decades. The question is why do so many people have to starve to death due to lack of food in this age where mass cultivation of food is commonplace and at a time when this food is sold in the open market at rock bottom prices? This is the 21st century. It is completely unacceptable to have people starve on the streets when there is plenty of food available to everyone. What’s the use of growing surplus food when it is available only to people who can afford to purchase it while the rest sits in a warehouse? Poverty and homelessness in cities are also on the uptick. With it there is a spike in mental illness and the drug epidemic. Proceeded foods have given rise to another epidermic of obesity both in adults and children Worldwide. This has even caught on in remote islands. The rich and the middle class seem to have made it to this side, but the poor have been left behind to fend for themselves and to make it if they can.

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Why is it that the developed countries have stayed pretty much the same way by sustaining their wealth for generations and getting richer by the minute WHILE the poor countries have maintained the same course for generations by staying poor and are getting poorer with each passing year? The subject of food and poverty has maintained the same trend too by following them. Guess who is getting exploited and by whom? It’s anybody’s guess. The rich seems to be getting richer and the poor seems to be heading to the poor house. Each of them are on either side of the spectrum and are repelling away from each other. Income inequality is also on the rise and are swaying away from each other with no chance of them ever meeting and the probability of them ever crossing paths on a graph is very slim to none. This is how our system has been designed. It favors and benefits a handful while the masses look on and hang on to hope for their next meal.

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At any given day billions of tons of food are thrown away from restaurants, bars, clubs, hotels, casinos and cruise ships, starting from the corner shop in which you get your morning coffee or newspaper. Where do they end up ? Most likely in the landfill. Recycling of waste both perishable and non perishable is not the solution. The problem lies in the creation of this waste in the first place. Why don’t we take steps to stop manufacturing and banning plastic bags and start carrying cotton tote bags? Why don’t we create biodegradable cans instead of aluminium cans? Why are we buying wholesale when most of the stuff we know will goes a waste? Why are we driving fossil fuel based cars rather than driving electric powered ones? We are mass produces of food. Of which only a third end up on the market shelves. Many are discarded because they do not meet market specifications or they are out of shape or not of the right size or color. Many end up decaying right on the vines and many more are damaged through shipments and storage. When we factor in all the waste that we generate on a daily basis, we could feed the whole world at no cost. Since profit in the shortest time is our motive, nothing will get done. It will remain status quo. It looks like it will.

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Growing and harvesting the crop is not the problem here. The problem is to have it distributed to the right place at the right time. With the current technology and the logistics involved in transporting a product from point A to point B it is amazingly simple. We throw so much money into Non profit entities. But we are failing to provide a meal to a dying infant or a malnourished child. Like the saying goes; Instead of giving a man a fish daily for free, teach him how to fish so he can provide for himself and his family. But based on the current model we are just giving the man a fish for free on a daily basis so he gets hooked on it and is stuck to it for life. In that process only he gets to eat that fish, while his family starves. He has taken the bait. If we turn our focus on the entire picture, by teaching them, they can sustain themselves and teach others as well.

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There is an old saying which my grandma used to quote, if a tiger is that hungry it will eat grass too. Obviously by feeding this man daily a fish for free he will have no initiative that will drive him to get up in the morning and learn to fish. There is no incentive here either. The point here is that no one will give us anything on a platter for free and we should not be expecting it from anyone either. We need to learn to stand by ourselves on our own two legs. Our creator has given us a brain, two arms and two legs. We could do a lot with them by putting them to work by using them wisely. We will need to get up in the morning, seek what we desire and work for it relentlessly until we achieve it. After which in order to sustain it, we must give our very best 24/7 so it holds ground. The 3 P’s are the basics that are required for success in my view: Passion, Persistence and Perseverance. Qualities such as Dedication, punctuality, honesty, integrity, confidence, discipline and respect will follow the 3 P’s. But we need to work for it by putting it to work for us unconditionally.

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We are lucky enough to live in an era where we have been exposed to both the old and the new. By blending both Worlds together, we could root out starvation and poverty with the incorporation of the latest technology by way of satellite mapping, selective harvesting software, growing food locally, controlled output and by automation of vertical farming. In doing so we can root out food waste, cook only what we need, eliminate mass use of chemicals, help our local farmers, and help grow our community by donating the rest to our local food bank. So nothing goes a waste, I mean nothing and I mean it.


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