The Great Famine- The Story of Potato Famine and Ireland
Image Credit: Potato Famine / Pixabay

The Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with the challenges of climate change, has urgently reminded us of the possibility of global hunger, food shortages  and their impact on vulnerable populations. To many, the scenario has revived memories of The Great Famine of 1845–1852, which caused the greatest mass famine in Ireland’s modern history. What made the Irish Potato Famine unique was that it brought with it a crop infection called the ‘black rot’  (Phytophthora infestans). The devastation that followed continues to be a grim reminder of how  agricultural failures can utterly wipe out lives , livelihoods, and alter the course of a nation's history.

Potatoes / Pixabay



According to a World Bank report, the COVID-19 pandemic has further caused a major setback to global poverty reduction. Rising energy prices, fueled by climate change  and the Russia-Ukraine war,  have stalled recovery. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns, “climate-change-driven factors are expected to have adverse effects on agricultural production, livestock, forestry and fisheries through 2050, thereby jeopardising the future of food security globally”. 

The number of people  experiencing acute food insecurity is likely to climb to over 200 million people in 53 countries and territories, according to a FAO-WFP report and the time to act is now if we want to prevent the unthinkable from happening in the near future. The Great Famine of Ireland is a cautionary tale - one that teaches us we must never get complacent about food security.