From the Tennessean: William Lambers, author of the book Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World, says that hunger and conflict are related. He writes:
Where there is conflict, you’ll find hunger. Look at Afghanistan, a country where peace is elusive, where one third of the population suffers from hunger. Many of its children have malnutrition from birth and stunted growth. No peace or development can emerge under such distress. Yet funding for fighting hunger in Afghanistan remains low. The U.N. World Food Programme has only 26 percent of the funds it needs for a 2012 Afghan relief operation.
He goes on further to write:
Yet when you look at where America’s dollars are put in foreign affairs, you see relatively little of it going to food aid. Just over $2 billion annually is spent on international food aid. Yet this figure is small compared with the estimated $52 billion a year spent on nuclear weapons, which many think we can reduce much further than we have so far. Imagine if the U.S. could somehow get an extra billion dollars away from that kind of wasteful spending on heavy armaments and channel it toward food aid.
This extra food could save the lives of starving children and prevent damaging malnutrition that stunts them for life. It is hard to expect countries like Afghanistan or Yemen to somehow develop peaceful, productive and stable societies when their children lack the nutrition to grow and learn. These countries are not going to find peace through military action but through well-nourished and educated people.
And for this they need emergency food aid as well as long-term agricultural development. Jen Hardy of Catholic Relief Services visited Afghanistan recently and saw how a little bit of agricultural help can change a family’s fortune in terms of food supply and nutrition. We need to keep helping Afghans build their food security. There should be no withdrawal in this regard.