Hundreds of millions of Africans hungry on World Food Day today as overfed Americans get overweight by eating too much and moving too little

Food waste in America has skyrocketed in recent years, with 103 million tons (81.4 billion pounds) of food waste generated in 2018, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Hundreds of millions of people in Africa are hungry today, October 16, 2021, even as the world marks World Food Day with the theme “safe food now for a healthy tomorrow.” Many studies have shown that the amount of food wasted in the United States can feed millions of people around the world, including in Africa.

“Food waste in America has skyrocketed in recent years, with 103 million tons (81.4 billion pounds) of food waste generated in 2018, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); the equivalent of over 450,000 Statue of Liberties,” noted one article. “This is a shocking statistic which unfortunately becomes less surprising the more you learn about the growing problem of food waste in America.”

President Joe Biden drives a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon during a clean cars event, Thursday, August 5, 2021, on the South Lawn Driveway of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz) 
President Joe Biden drives a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon during a clean cars event, Thursday, August 5, 2021, on the South Lawn Driveway of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

The theme of year’s World Food Day is based on appreciating the individuals who have contributed to creating sustainable surroundings where no one is left hungry. However, many people are going to bed today in Africa without food.

In his message to the world on Friday, October 14, 2021, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres asserted that World Food Day is “not only a reminder of the importance of food to every person on the planet, it is a call to action to achieve food security around the world.” He said almost almost 40 per cent of humanity — three billion people — cannot afford a healthy diet, warning that hunger is on the rise as well as undernourishment and obesity.

Guterres argued that the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic “has made a bad situation even worse.”

He said the pandemic has left an additional 140 million people unable to access the food that they need while the way food is produced, consumed and wasted is “taking a heavy toll on our planet,” the UN chief said.

“It is putting historic pressure on our natural resources, climate and natural environment — and costing us trillions of dollars a year,” Guterres said. ‘As this year’s theme makes clear, the power to change is in our hands. “Our actions are our future.”

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Guterres noted that last month, the world gathered for the United Nations Food Systems Summit, and countries made bold commitments to transform food systems, including to make healthy diets more affordable and accessible, and to make food systems more efficient, resilient and sustainable at every step — from production and processing, to marketing, transportation and delivery.

“We can all change how we consume food, and make healthier choices — for ourselves, and our planet,” he said.

The World Hunger Map shows that there are more hungry people in Africa than anywhere else in the world, with countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Madagascar being some of the most affected.

In a statement on Saturday, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield lamented that at least 41 million people remain at imminent risk of famine on World Food Day while an estimated 811 million people went hungry last year.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield 
Linda Thomas-Greenfield

“Today, we mark World Food Day at a time when 41 million people remain at imminent risk of famine unless we take urgent action. An estimated 811 million people went hungry last year, and the world has witnessed a dramatic rise in food insecurity in 2021, driven by conflict and climate change, as well as the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. From Ethiopia to Yemen we can address acute malnutrition and save lives if unhindered humanitarian access is provided,” Thomas-Greenfield wrote.

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The United States will continue our efforts to improve global food security and nutrition. In March, the United States’ signature event of our UN Security Council Presidency focused on combating “Conflict-Driven Hunger” to raise awareness and break the cycle of famine and food insecurity. President Biden announced a $10 billion, multi-year initiative to strength food security and improve nutrition in his September speech to the UN General Assembly. This initiative will also accelerate our attempt to mitigate the effects of climate change, adapt to the challenges climate change brings about, and expand inclusive food systems, with a special focus on the most vulnerable. At the UN Food Systems Summit held last month, the United States reinforced its commitments to end global hunger.   

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The United States will continue to work with domestic and international partners as we work to eradicate hunger and poverty and to build more sustainable, equitable, and resilient food systems at home and around the world. We also call on others to join us in committing much-needed financial resources to address malnutrition and food insecurity. Together, we can tackle the challenges facing the global community and better the systems that sustain and nourish us.  

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Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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