Food Hunger and Boron
Food Hunger and Boron: In 2020, between 720 and 811 million people faced hunger. In a world of plenty, where enough food is produced to feed everyone on the planet, hunger should be a thing of the past. However, conflict, climate change, disasters, inequality, and – most recently – the COVID-19 pandemic means one in nine people globally is still going to bed hungry, and famine looms for millions, states the World Food Programme (WFP). Boron can help to dramatically improve food yields and is a vital micronutrient in human health.
Nearly one in three people in the world (2.37 billion) did not have access to adequate food in 2020 – that’s an increase of almost 320 million people in just one year, according to the FAO article entitled “The World is at a Critical Juncture“.
The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 report by the FAO estimates that between 720 and 811 million people worldwide faced hunger in 2020 – as many as 161 million more than in 2019. Nearly 2.37 billion people did not have access to adequate food in 2020 – an increase of 320 million people in just one year. No region of the world has been spared.
The World is at a Critical Juncture
The world is in a very different place to where it was six years ago when it committed to ending hunger, food insecurity, and all forms of malnutrition by 2030. The world has not been generally progressing either towards ensuring access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food for all people all year round (SDG Target 2.1) or to eradicating all forms of malnutrition (SDG Target 2.2), it has said.
Apart from the socio-economic blow to people worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a severe blow to people already facing food insecurity, whether regular food availability, food shortage, or malnutrition.
After remaining virtually unchanged from 2014 to 2019, the prevalence of undernourishment climbed to around 9.9 percent in 2020, from 8.4 percent a year earlier, the FAO pointed out.
While the global prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity has been slowly rising since 2014, the estimated increase in 2020 was equal to that of the previous five years combined. Nearly one in three people in the world (2.37 billion) did not have access to adequate food in 2020 – that’s an increase of almost 320 million people in just one year.
More than half of the world’s undernourished are found in Asia (418 million) and more than one-third in Africa (282 million). Compared with 2019, about 46 million more people in Africa, 57 million more in Asia, and about 14 million more in Latin America and the Caribbean have been affected by hunger in 2020.
Close to 12 percent of the global population was severe ‘food insecure’ in 2020, representing 928 million people – 148 million more than in 2019.
At the global level, the gender gap in the prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity has grown even more prominent in the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the majority of moderate or severe food insecurity being 10 percent higher among women than men in 2020, compared to 6 percent in 2019.
Global Nutrition Indicators Unreachable by 2030
Conflict, climate variability and extremes, and economic slowdowns and downturns (now exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic) are significant food insecurity and malnutrition drivers. These drivers continue to increase in both frequency and intensity. According to the FAO report ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021‘, they are also occurring more frequently in combination.
Around 660 million people are feared to continue to remain hungry in 2030, partly due to the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on global food security – 30 million more people than in a scenario in which the pandemic had not occurred.
In 2030, the number of people facing hunger may be close to double the current population of the United States or triple that of Brazil.
The FAO has identified six pathways to follow towards food systems transformation by:
Integrating humanitarian, development, and peace-building policies in conflict-affected areas,
Scaling up climate resilience across food systems,
Strengthening the resilience of the most vulnerable to economic adversity,
Intervening along the food supply chains to lower the cost of nutritious foods,
Tackling poverty and structural inequalities, ensuring interventions are pro-poor and inclusive, and
Strengthening food environments and changing consumer behavior to promote dietary patterns positively impact human health and the environment.
In July 2021, UN Secretary-General António Guterres issued a statement saying high costs, coupled with persistently high levels of poverty and income inequality, continue to keep healthy diets out of reach for around 3 billion people in every region of the world. Indeed, hunger has been on the rise for several years. Today, we are failing to provide what is a fundamental right for people around the world.
Asia remains home to the most significant number of undernourished (381 million). Africa is second (250 million), followed by Latin America and the Caribbean (48 million). The global prevalence of undernourishment – or overall percentage of hungry people – has changed little at 8.9 percent, but the absolute numbers have risen since 2014. Over the last five years, hunger has grown in step with the global population.
This situation, in turn, hides significant regional disparities: in percentage terms, Africa is the hardest hit region and becoming more so, with 19.1 percent of its people undernourished, more than double the rate in Asia (8.3 percent) and Latin America and the Caribbean (7.4 percent). On current trends, by 2030, Africa will be home to more than half of the world’s chronically hungry.
Unless bold actions accelerate progress, primarily measures to address significant drivers of food insecurity and malnutrition and the inequalities affecting the access of millions to food, we will not eradicate hunger by 2030, the FAO has said.
What to Do?
Nations must achieve food security for the simple reason that the right to nutritious, balanced, affordable, and accessible food by their citizens is a human right. It is one of the most basic human rights.
Now more than ever, it is clear that the world is not on track to achieve the goal of Zero Hunger by 2030 and that past gains have been built on an unsustainable foundation, the Global Hunger Index 2021 said.
After decades of decline, the global prevalence of undernourishment – a component of the Global Hunger Index – is increasing. Africa, South of the Sahara, and South Asia are the world regions where hunger levels are highest. Hunger in both areas is considered severe.
Dozens of countries suffer from severe hunger. According to the 2021 GHI scores and provisional designations, drawing on 2016–2020, hunger is considered highly alarming in Somalia, alarming in 9 countries, and serious in 37 countries.
Inequality – between regions, countries, districts, and communities – is pervasive and, left unchecked, will keep the world from achieving the SDG mandate to “leave no one behind,” the GHI 2021 report noted.
How Boron Can Help
Humans need to consume food that is safe to consume within a certain period of time after it has been stored properly. Another safety factor involves how the food is protected from disease. Agricultural feed and pesticides with boron can increase plant yields in this situation. As well as providing many essential plant hormones that help regulate growth and development, Boron aids plants in using other nutrients more efficiently. The more boron spread on fields before planting, the more it acts as both a pesticide and fertiliser, and the higher the yields after a couple of seasons.
Effect on Individuals
A family’s health history determines a person’s ability to process food. Chronically undernourished individuals may be more prone to debilitating conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, or even cancer. Some of these conditions can be affected by boron-rich foods and supplements. Borax (or sodium borate) is commonly used as a solution for arthritis sufferers, but it can also be applied topically or ingested into the body as an enema.
In order to undergo the oral borax treatment, two teaspoons of borax dissolved in water must be consumed twice a day, followed by half an apple mixed with cinnamon powder. During this period, if you do not get relief after one month, you should gradually reduce intake to avoid kidney damage. Boron and Sanitation
The health and wellness of the parasite’s host can be adversely affected by poor sanitation. Parasites can be prevented by eating a diet rich in micronutrients, including boron. The World Health Organization recommends a boron level of 2.4 mg/L in drinking water.
State of the World
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the world’s economy, triggering an unprecedented recession not seen since the Second World War, and that the food security and nutrition status of millions of people, including children, would deteriorate if we did not take swift action.
This situation is particularly worrisome since malnutrition early in life can have lasting effects on health and productivity. Urgent actions are needed to ensure access to affordable healthy diets for all.”
The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020. Unfortunately, the FAO has warned that the pandemic continues to expose weaknesses in our food systems, which threatens the food security and nutrition of millions of people worldwide.
To achieve the SDGs and truly “leave no one behind,” we must vigorously confront the increasing challenges of conflict, climate change, and economic downturns. Additionally, there are structural factors such as poverty and inequality, leaving people facing hunger and malnutrition, the GHI 2021 edition states.