FOOD AVAILABILITY The Millennium Project [HN1] was commissioned by the United Nations Secretary-General to recommend the best strategies for meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)ref. In October 2002, the Hunger Task Force was established to determine how to meet the hunger MDG--to reduce the proportion of hungry people in half from 1990 to 2015. Task Force members came from diverse backgrounds in science, policy, the private sector, civil society, U.N. agencies, and government, with broad representation from developed and developing countriesref. After analysis, stakeholder consultations, and observation, the Task Force has just produced its reportref, which is summarized here. There are 854 million people in the world (about 14% of our population) who are chronically or acutely malnourished. Most are in Asia, but sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where hunger prevalence is over 30%, and the absolute numbers of malnourished people are increasingref. > 90% are chronically malnourished (a child is underweight if his/her weight is more than two standard deviations below the median of the international reference population used for analysis by the World Health Organization, the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), with a constant or recurrent lack of access to sufficient quality and quantity of food, good health care, and adequate maternal caring practices. Acute hunger (the wasting and starvation resulting from famines, war, and natural disaster) represents 10% of the hungry yet receives most of the media coverage and attention. In addition, hidden hunger from micronutrient deficiencies affects > 2 billion people worldwide. Chronic and hidden hunger deserve much more global attention and support. Roughly 50% of the hungry are in smallholder farming households; 20% are the landless rural; 10% are pastoralists, fishers, and forest dwellers; and 20% are the urban hungry. The Task Force has identified hunger hot spots, defined as the subnational units where the prevalence of underweight children < 5 years of age is at least 20%. The 313 hunger hot spots identified indicate priority regions, as they cover 79% of the hungry.

The importance of different causes of hunger varies among regions. Low agricultural productivity is likely to be the primary reason in tropical Africa and remote parts of Asia and Latin America, whereas poverty and unemployment are the main causes in most of South and East Asia, Latin America, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Economically, hunger results in annual losses of 6 to 10% in foregone Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to losses in labor productivity. Economic growth alone is insufficient for eliminating hunger, because so many hungry people live in deep poverty traps, beyond the reach of marketsref. People affected by HIV/AIDS become unable to grow food or work for a living. Malnourishment weakens their immunity and strength, making them succumb more quickly to diseaseref. Similarly, nearly 57% of malaria deaths are attributable to malnutritionref. The challenge of halving hunger is, therefore, closely linked with that of achieving other MDGs. The Task Force calls for simultaneous action at global (recommendation 1), national (recommendation 2), and local levels (recommendations 3 to 7). Web resources :
The Hormel Company, in Austin, Minnesota, USA, developed America's 1st canned ham in 1926. After the hams were cut, the company was left with thousands of pounds of nearly worthless pork shoulder. Jay C. Hormel, son of Hormel founder George A. Hormel, developed the ideas of using the pork shoulder in a new product called "Hormel Spiced Ham." Since the name was rather uninspiring, a contest was held at a New Year's Eve party for a new name with a $100 prize to the winner. The winning name was the name it goes by today: Spam. Kenneth Daigneau, an actor and the brother of a Hormel vice president Ralph Daigneau, won the contest. During World War II, sales of Spam soared. In part because it requires no refrigeration [while canned - Mod.LL], Spam was perfect for the military and became a standard K-ration for U.S. soldiers. Military personnel introduced it in Hawaii and elsewhere. A favorite Hawaiian way to eat Spam is in the form of a musubi (pronounced moo-soo-bee). It is a fried slice of Spam on rice pressed together to form a small block, then wrapped with a strip of seaweed. A special kitchen gadget, known as the Spam Musubi Maker, is responsible for the proliferation of this treat. It is a special plexiglas mold with the outline of a single Spam slice. The Spam musubi is eaten as a sandwich, and it is perhaps the Island's favorite "to go" or snack food. Spam musubi is literally everywhere in Hawaii, including local convenience stores, grocery stores, school cafeterias, and even at the zoo. Eating a Spam musubi seems to serve as a rite of passage for newcomers anxious to attain "local" statusref1, ref2

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