A Wise Solution to Poverty and Hunger

If you are not hungry, you do not know God. The times when we are hungry are opportunities to be nearest to God. When we are hungry we look at each person approaching us and wonder, "Maybe that might be my mother," or "That might be my older sister* We wait for someone to appear who will help us. In those situations, it is important to maintain a sympathetic heart of goodness.

Hunger is not an issue isolated to less developed areas of the world. When I went to the United States, my first project was to purchase trucks to be used for the distribution of food to the poor. People die of hunger even in the United States, which enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world. The situation in impoverished countries is unspeakably miserable. When I look at the world situation, I feel the matter of securing sufficient food supplies to be the most pressing. Solving the food crisis cannot be put off for even a moment Even now, some twenty thousand people die of hunger-related causes every day around the world. We cannot pretend not to care, just because we and our immediate families are not facing hunger.

Simply distributing food supplies by itself will not resolve hunger. A more fundamental approach to the problem is needed. I am thinking of two fundamental and concrete methods for this. The first is to provide ample supplies of food at low cost, and the second is to share technology with which people can overcome hunger by their own means and devices.

The issue of food will present humankind with a very serious crisis in the future. Sufficient food supplies to feed all the world's population cannot be produced only on the limited amount of land area that is available. We must look to the oceans for a solution. The oceans hold the key to solving the food crisis of the future. This is the reason that I have been pioneering the oceans for the past several decades. We cannot build a world of peace without first resolving the food issue.

In Alaska, pollack smaller than 15 inches are used for fertilizer. They would make wonderful food, but people don't know how to prepare them so they just use them for fertilizer. As recently as twenty or thirty years ago, we could ask westerners to give us the tail of an ox and they would let us have it for free. Koreans are very fond of food prepared using the bones or the intestines of cows, but some westerners do not know that these are edible. The same is true with fish. About 20 percent of the world's fish catch is thrown out Whenever I see this, I think of the people who are dying of hunger and I feel pain. Fish is a much more reliable source of protein than beef. How wonderful it would be if we made fish cake or fish sausage to give to people in impoverished lands!

Once this thought came to me, I started projects to store and process large volumes of fish. It does not do any good to catch large amounts of fish if you cannot handle them properly after the catch. Even the best fish cannot be kept fresh for more than eight months. Even if they are frozen

and placed in refrigeration, air gets in through cracks in the ice, and water escapes. So we pour water on the fish and freeze them again, but by then the best flavor is already gone and the fish might as well be thrown out.

We gathered fish that were being thrown out in this way, and succeeded in turning them into fish powder. We succeeded in doing something that even advanced countries such as France and Germany had not managed.

Fish turned into powder can be transported and stored easily, even in hot and humid climates. Fish powder is 98 percent protein, among the very highest protein content of all food products. For this reason it can be used to save people dying of hunger. Fish powder can also be used to make bread. It takes less than ten minutes for a living fish that is jumping around to be processed into powder. This fresh fish powder has been used to help solve food shortages in Croatia, Albania, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Sudan, and Somalia. The demand for fish powder is increasing to the point that we will soon need to establish fish processing factories in other localities.

The oceans contain limitless food supplies, but the best method for saving humanity from the food crisis is fish farming. I foresee that there will be buildings, similar to the skyscrapers we see in our cities today, devoted to fish farming. By using water pipe systems, fish can be farmed in tall buildings or even on the tops of mountains. With fish farming, we can produce more than enough food to feed all the world's people.

The ocean is a blessing bequeathed to us by God. When I go out on the ocean, I am completely absorbed in fishing. Sometimes I catch sturgeon and sometimes spearfish. One reason I fish is so that I can teach people who don't know how to fish. In South America, I spent several months taking local people who didn't know how to fish out on a boat and showed them how. I took in tangled fish nets myself, and spent three or four hours showing them how to untangle them.

To secure adequate supplies of food at low cost, humankind will need to develop the ocean. This and the great grasslands that are still in their prehistoric state are our final storehouse of wealth. This task, though, will not be easy. It will require that we go to places that are so hot and humid that it is difficult even to move around, and work hard with a strong sense of dedication. Developing the grasslands in tropical regions cannot be done without a love for humankind that is expressed in passion and dedication.

Jardim, in Brazil, is a quite difficult place to live. The weather is hot and bugs that have not even been named yet are continuously biting. I lived in that place, becoming friends with the birds and the snakes. I couldn't even wear shoes there. I walked around barefooted, feeling the red soil of Jardim beneath my feet, looking just like a peasant farmer. When I was at the river catching fish, I looked just like a fisherman. It is only when people look at you and say, "Look, he really is a farmer. He really is a fisherman," that you are qualified to develop the primeval forests. It is not something that can be done by someone who needs to sleep eight hours a night in a clean and comfortable bed, eat three square meals a day, and take naps under a shady tree.

I'll tell you something that happened when we were developing our project in Paraguay. A group of our members and I were living in a small hut in Olimpo. There was only one toilet, and each morning we had to take turns using it I would get up each morning at 3 o'clock, do some exercises and then go fishing. Because of this, the members who were with me went through some difficult times. It was usual for them to be cutting bait early in the morning before they were completely awake.

When we took the boat out, we had to cross through a number of other properties in order to reach the mooring site. Unlocking the gates to these properties in the pitch darkness was difficult sometimes. One morning, the members were fumbling with a lock, unable to open it.

I yelled at them: "What are you doing?!" I shouted so loudly and fiercely that I surprised even myself, so I am sure it must have been difficult for the members. But I feel that I cannot afford to waste so much as a single second. I don't have any time to be idly standing around. In my eyes, I can clearly see a list of all the things I must accomplish before there can be a world of peace, so my heart is always in a hurry.

When I fished on the river before dawn, the mosquitoes would swarm like a dark cloud. Their stingers were so sharp they would pierce right through a pair of jeans. In the predawn darkness, we could not see the floats on our fishing lines, so we had to attach white plastic bags to our lines. I could not wait for the sun to come up. I was in too much of a hurry.

I still miss Jardim. I miss everything about it. When I close my eyes, I can still feel the heat of the Jardim air pressing against my face. The minor inconveniences to the body were nothing. Any bodily suffering passes quickly. What is important is the happiness of the heart. Jardim made me happy.