Around 690 million people in the world still go hungry. It’s one of those incredibly maddening issues because it feels like a solution should be at our fingertips. There is enough food for everyone – we are very, very bad at distributing it and managing our food waste. While the future with zero hunger won’t come tomorrow, we have a shot at turning it into reality
Initiatives including the World Food Programme are relentlessly working on eliminating hunger. This humanitarian organization’s importance is so immense that it won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2020.
WFP warned that COVID-19 could result in a “hunger pandemic“. As coronavirus impacted supply chains, the movement of food has been severely disrupted. “Climate shocks and economic pressures have further compounded their plight. And now, a global pandemic with its brutal impact on economies and communities, is pushing millions more to the brink of starvation,” said WFP’s Executive Director David Beasley.
With no time to waste, WFP’s Innovation Accelerator supports some of the world’s most fascinating companies. Here’s how their technology addresses some of the most significant pain points of food distribution.
The company uses hydroponics, a mechanism that allows growing plants without soil thanks to mineral nutrients in an aqueous solvent. On top of that, H2Grow produces crops at growth rates 100 percent faster than traditional agriculture. This system helps communities grow fresh vegetables or animal feed in deserts, refugee camps, or informal urban settlements. The hydroponic farmers go through a tailored training program, and as a result, they can limit hunger and improve their nutrition. Some of them even sell the extra food and thus raise their income.
This app lets you “grab a meal” with a kid who would otherwise go hungry. It only costs 0,70 EUR anytime you feel like contributing, and millions of people do. As of now, the users have shared more than 100 million meals in the most critical places covered by the World Food Programme, such as Yemen, Syria, and South Sudan.
Mainstream financial operations can be tricky for those in need. If financial service providers are insufficient, unreliable, or inaccessible, blockchain can be the answer. In the case of Building Blocks, it allows for secure and fast transactions that happen directly between WFP and the participants. More than 100k people living in the camps get their irises scanned in an approved shop, and they can purchase their groceries through Building Blocks. Every transaction is recorded, and the funds are safely and efficiently stored for those who need them the most.
PRISM stands for “The Platform for Real-time Impact and Situation Monitoring”, and it can analyze and predict the consequences of climate hazards on the most vulnerable communities. It empowers the local governments and WFP’s country offices through approachable information within an intuitive, map-based dashboard. As a result, risks related to climate hazards can be mitigated. Those who need help the most can be prioritized, making one more step towards zero hunger.
Hunger doesn’t only mean lack of food – sometimes, food is available, but the whole scale of nutrients is missing. Sanku deals with food fortification, a cost-effective way to add vitamins and minerals to basic, accessible food such as flour. The company helps small-scale mills that otherwise wouldn’t have the capacity to fortify. Sanku says they can provide the mills with cellular-connected dosifiers, nutrients, and customized flour bags at no additional costs for millers and consumers. The company was named one of the Top 100 Inventions of 2019 by Time Magazine.