2012/10/26 00:00:00 来源： 作者：
By Zhao Hongyi
On World Food Day on October 16, the Chinese State Administration of Grain called on people to avoid food in order to build
awareness of worldwide food shortage problems.
On October 17, International Poverty Alleviation Day, the UN World Food Program and Chinese Foundation for Poverty Alleviation launched a joint campaign to “spend less than one dollar” on food that day.
The campaigns were controversial, but in the end people praised it for their efforts.
‘24 hours hunger’
It was a bold plan, but the Chinese State Administration of Grain called on its staff to initiate “24 hours of hunger”to remind people of those in this country who are starving.
The administration said in its proposal that the average grain price in the world has doubled in the past decade.Each year, 1.3 billion tons of grain are wasted, while
approximately 900 million suffer from hunger.
“If one-fourth of the wasted food were properly used, we could help those people in need,” the administration said.
While China has achieved bountiful food harvests in the past decade, the country is facing serious challenges as well due to industrialization and urbanization.
Nearly 8 million tons of protein and 3 million tons of fats are thrown away each year: to feed 200 million people.
And each year, China still has to import tons of food,including soybeans, corn,wheat and rice.
Arable land – about 12 million hectares worth – is dwindling as well, as farmers
face increasing pressure from developers who want to build real estate.
The number of farmers is decreasing as well, as workers migrate to the cities for more lucrative jobs.
“China is a big country with a huge population,” the proposal said. “Chinese people used to live ... frugally instead of lavishly and wastefully.
“Today, agriculture is still at the top of the government’s list of concerns. It should be the same for our people.”
‘1 dollar a day’
On October 17, people participated in another campaign called “one dollar a day.” Most found that living off that much was practically impossible,thanks to ination.
Huang Shan, an ofce worker in Beijing, said he has to take the subway to his ofce in the morning, a round-trip already eats up half of his day’s allotted money.
“I can eat an egg tart in the morning, which only costs 2 yuan – the cheapest I can nd,” he said.
That means Huang then doesn’t have enough money for lunch and supper. And don’t even mention rent –Huang’s small room costs 1,500 yuan per month.
“The event reminds us to be careful with our daily costs,”Huang said. “We should keep it in mind that only 10 years ago, our lives weren’t so expensive as they are now.”
The event provoked hot discussion online. Many young people shared their experiences of buying simple fares such as plain rice and steamed buns.
Ofcial statistics show that there are 123 million people in China who live below the “one dollar per day” poverty line,and countless more around the world.
Triggering positive discussion
Some, however, complained that the campaigns were only empty political gestures.
“Ofcial corruption, inadequate investment and misuse are the top sources of
waste,” wrote a commentator on People’s Daily.
Others were more measured in their response.
“Life is not easy,” Huang said. “We should keep that in mind no matter how wealthy you are now.”
Brett Rierson, representative of the World Food Program in China, expressed her
appreciation of the projects,saying, “It is a good start toward realizing the importance of food and poverty alleviation.”
She praised China for what it’s accomplished so far.
“In the early 1980s, when the World Food Program entered China, one third of
the population in the country was hungry and in absolute poverty,” she told China
Radio International. “Today,the number has decreased to 123 million, only one-tenth of the total population.
“But we should continue our effort to combat against starvation and poverty in the days to come.”