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.

Life and Style
Social media users in Mexico who commented on cartel violence have been killed in the past
techTweets not showing up or loading this morning, users say
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
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

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker