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Women wait with their children to be examined and possibly given supplementary food in a mobile clinic run by UNICEF during a Rapid Response Mission (RRM) in the village of Rubkuai, Unity State, South Sudan, Feb. 16, 2017. In South Sudan, ongoing insecurity, combined with an economic crisis that has pushed inflation above 800 percent, has created widespread food insecurity with malnutrition among children having reached emergency levels in most parts of the country. War and a collapsing economy have left some 100,000 people facing starvation in parts of South Sudan where famine was declared.
Photo by Siegfried Modola/UNICEF
Food & Hunger

Brilliant 8th Grader Wins International Contest for His Video on World Hunger

Ayush Iyer has big plans to end world hunger — and he's only in the eighth grade.

Iyer created a video that won first place among middle schoolers in the "World of 7 Billion" contest, which invites students to submit videos addressing global challenges related to population growth.

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The contest awarded cash prizes for both middle and high schoolers across three topics: Advancing Women and Girls, Feeding 10 Billion, and Preventing Pollution. Iyer, a student at Manheim Township Middle School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, chose to spotlight global hunger, saying that if he "could solve one world problem, that would be it."

The global population is expected to increase from 7.6 billion to 10 billion in 2050. Currently, the world’s population consumes 9 billion tons of food, but will need 18 billion tons to feed the 10 billion people projected to live on the planet by 2050.

In his short video, Iyer proposes three ways the world can tackle its growing hunger problem: reducing food waste, building vertical farms, and consuming fewer meat products.

Food waste, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is when edible items go unconsumed, "as in food discarded by retailers due to color or appearance and plate waste by consumers." Iyer argues that reducing food waste could save $680 billion and feed 3.5 billion people.

Read More: Tesco Will Ditch 'Best Before' Labels on Fruit and Veg to Cut Food Waste

Personally, Iyer believes vegetarianism is the best way to tackle the issue of hunger.

“The process of which farms use to raise cattle and kill them for meat is a very polluting process,” he said in a phone interview with his local paper, Lancaster Online.

In fact, 30% of the world’s land is used to support chickens, pigs, and cattle. And if the grain used to feed livestock were instead directed to populations, it could feed 800 million people.

Encouraging people to eat less meat would also free up land for farming, and using vertical farming techniques could increase the efficiency of farmland usage. Plenty, a California company that has championed this method, claims 350 times greater yield than traditional farming and 1% of the water.

Global Citizen campaigns to support the Sustainable Development Goal 2, ending hunger, achieving food security, and improving nutrition while promoting sustainable agriculture. Click here and be the generation to end extreme poverty.