Special report: World food injustice - the facts on a plate

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

From London to Liberia, nearly a billion people are living a hand-to-mouth existence. Katie Grant reports on global hunger and finds out how these families get through the week

One in eight of the world's people goes hungry every day – that is 868 million people, more than the combined populations of the US, Canada and Europe – and here, courtesy of Oxfam's Food for All campaign to tackle global hunger, is the evidence on a plate.

These pictures feature families from around the world with their weekly food supplies. They range from Akavumu, Rwanda, where the Nyirazina family grows sweet potatoes, beans, sorghum grains and cassava shrubs to survive, and Vavuniya, Sri Lanka, where the Kumarapar family prepares meals of vegetables, rice and chicken, to Tower Hamlets in east London, where the Kerrs receive non-perishable items by their local food bank.

Oxfam says there is deep injustice in the way food is grown and distributed. The world's poorest people spend 50-90 per cent of their income on food, compared with just 10-15 per cent in developed countries. The World Bank estimates that 44 million people fell below the poverty line in the second half of 2010 due to high food prices.

The campaign launch comes just after figures were published last week showing that up to half the world's food is being wasted. According to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers report Waste Not, Want Not, while about four billion metric tonnes of food is produced globally each year, 30-50 per cent (or 1.2-2 billion tonnes) of it "never reaches a human stomach".

And it's not just rich countries such as the UK and the US throwing good food away; it is also being wasted in poor countries in the developing world. The difference, says Oxfam, is that, while food languishes uneaten in fridges here, in developing countries it goes to waste because of poor harvesting, storage and transport. In Vietnam, for example, a staggering 80 per cent of rice is lost between the field and the table.

The UN's Millennium Development Goals aimed to halve the levels of hunger found in 1990. To achieve this, the number of chronically undernourished people needs to be cut by 40 per cent to 500 million by 2015.

"The world produces more than enough food to feed everyone," says Kate Raworth, senior policy researcher for Oxfam. "Meeting the calorie needs of every person living with hunger would take less than 3 per cent of today's global food supply."

Brahim family

Northern Chad

Etta Brahim has seven children. A week's worth of food for the whole family is in the white bag. "The lack of food is killing us," says Etta's sister, Ashta Hamid, dressed in red, centre.

Mbunibya family

Dungu, Democratic Republic of Congo

Olivier and Miatadi Jeanne Mbunibya have five children, and live on a diet of peas, kaunga (corn flour), manioc leaf and palm oil.

Josephyan family

Armenia

The seven members of the Josephyan family must make a bag of wheat flour, 2kg dried split peas, 1kg sugar, 1l of cooking oil, 500g of potatoes and 500g of pasta last all week.

La Shari family

Shikapur, Pakistan

Husna La Shari used to harvest wheat and rice, but flooding last July means she now struggles to provide for her elderly husband and seven children.

Nyirazina family

Akavumu, Rwanda

Collette Nyirazina has half a hectare of land on which she grows sweet potatoes, beans, sorghum flour and cassava, but bad harvests mean her family is going hungry.

Miralieba family

Kaftakhana, Tajikistan

BiBi-Faiz Miralieba, her niece and four children subsist on a minimal amount of onions, potatoes, rice and bread each week.

Shiferaw family

Mogadishu, Ethiopia

Tsega and Wubalem Shiferaw and their daughter Rekebki with a week's supply of food, including vegetables, maize and sorghum flours, vegetable oil and a paste of spices.

Kumarapar family

Vavuniya, Sri Lanka

Seventy-year-old Selvern and her three daughters have a comparatively varied diet of tomatoes, potatoes, onion, chili, spinach, leeks, cabbage, pumpkin, rice, flour and chicken.

Kerr family

Tower Hamlets, London, UK

Ian Kerr is a full-time carer to his disabled son, Jay-J, 12. Physio costs force them to go to a local food bank for non-perishables.

Ismayilov family

Azerbaijan

The Ismayilovs have a small supply of flour, potatoes, oil and onions to see them through the week. Price rises make it "impossible for the poor to survive", says Tahir, far left, who is unemployed.

Blagnon Gnepa family

Harper, Liberia

The Blagnon Gnepa family live in a temporary refugee camp for Ivorians fleeing the violence across the border, and are given essential rations such as oil and grains.

Mudsingwa family

Gutu District, Zimbabwe

Three generations of the Mudsingwa family live together, their supplies consisting solely of nuts and maize flour that is turned into a porridge-style paste for every meal.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
football

Arts and Entertainment
music
Life and Style
Designer Oscar de la Renta takes a bow after showing his Spring 2015 collection in September, his last show before his death
fashionThe passing of the legendary designer has left a vacancy: couturier to America’s royalty, says fashion editor Alexander Fury
Life and Style
tech

Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind'

News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why