Fighting hunger together

Express News Service ,
The New Indian Express

Oxfam, an Indian organization working towards eradicating poverty and building a sustainable world, launched the global Grow campaign on June 1 at Hari Hara Kala Bhavan.

To kick start the campaign, the organisation hosted a photo exhibition on food and hunger, two ethnic food stalls, one handloom stall and topped off the evening with a cultural performance.

Shaik Anwar, regional manager, Oxfam India, said, “Grow is Oxfam’s campaign for a better way to grow, share and live together. It is a campaign for billions of us who eat food and over a billion men and women who grow it, to share solutions for a more hopeful future in which everyone always has enough to eat. India is a strategic country for this campaign — we are launching this campaign simultaneously in Hyderabad and Delhi, Lucknow, Mumbai and Guwahati in India.”

One billion hungry

Nearly one billion people in the world face hunger every day. One in four of the world’s billion hungry people live in India. The rise in food prices in 2011 has only exacerbated the problem. Through the Grow campaign, Oxfam wants to convey a simple message — come together to live better.

K Sajaya, an activist and documentary filmmaker from the Caring Citizens’ Collective in attendance, opined, “It makes me sad to see that the very people who provide food to the society are the ones who are going hungry. It is time to demolish the prevailing notion that hunger is individual and realise that hunger is societal. It is time that the government and the civil society thrive to bring a holistic and sustainable solution to the millions of providers (farmers) to have enough to eat.”

The message

To build a brighter future Grow suggests that one should learn to ‘share better’ — which means managing markets to prevent food crises, stopping corporate abuses of power, reforming flawed polices and empowering people to respond to shocks and natural disasters.

Also suggested via the campaign was the notion that one should ‘live better’ in order to build better ways to do business, making an ecological future rich in shared resources, safe from the risk of a changing climate possible. The third and final message of Grow was that one should ‘grow better’ — in other words, one must invest in new agriculture, so that over a billion small-scale food producers around the planet, many of them women, are no longer starved of the land and resources they need.

Picture this

The photo exhibition contained 15 photos depicting a day in the average rural farmer’s life. Reminiscent of propaganda posters, on either side of the photographs were messages urging people to join the campaign, to come together and held eradicate hunger. Also accompanying the photos were small written messages that threw light on the many starving farmers around the world.

Swadeshi food

Thousands of years ago, millet was the primary staple food. The Grow campaign believes that cultivating more millet can be step towards alleviating the country’s food problem. The two ethnic food stalls at the event exhibited a variety of millets — like proso, foxtail, pearl, finger, sorghum — that can not only be used for food by also as medicine.


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