Published: Wednesday 10 October 2012
“The number of chronically hungry people has declined by 130 million since 1990, falling from around one billion people to 868 million.”

New data from the United Nations reveals that there has been progress in reducing the number of hungry people worldwide. But an estimate that nearly 870 million people, one in eight, suffered from chronic undernourishment over the last two years is “unacceptable”, experts say.

The number of chronically hungry people has declined by 130 million since 1990, falling from around one billion people to 868 million. The vast majority of these people, 852 million, live in developing countries, which means that 15 percent of the developing world suffers from hunger, while 16 million people are undernourished in developed countries.

Meanwhile, the proportion of the global population that is classified as ‘undernourished’ dropped from 18.6 percent in 1990 to the current level of 12.5 percent, and from 23.2 percent to 14.9 percent in developing countries.

The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012 (SOFI), jointly released by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Program (WFP), “presents better estimates of chronic undernourishment based on an improved methodology and data for the last two decades.”

The report suggests that if “appropriate actions” are taken to feed the hungry and reverse the slowdown of 2007-2008, the goal of halving the number of hungry people in the developing world by 2015 is still attainable.

“If the average annual hunger reduction of the past 20 years continues through to 2015, the percentage of undernourishment in developing countries (will) reach 12.5 percent – still above the MDG (Millennium Development Goal) target of 11.6 percent, but much closer to it than previously estimated,” the report says.

“The good news is that we have ...

Published: Friday 21 September 2012
“A vibrant rural sector can generate demand for locally produced goods and services, thereby stimulating sustainable employment growth in agro-processing, services, and small-scale manufacturing.”

As drought becomes increasingly common, farmers worldwide are struggling to maintain crop yields. In the United States, farmers are experiencing the most severe drought in more than a half-century. As a result, global corn, wheat, and soybean prices rose in July and August, and remain high.

But the severe dry spell parching croplands across the US is only the latest in a global cycle of increasingly frequent and damaging droughts. In Africa’s Sahel region, millions of people are facing hunger for the third time since 2005. Lack of rain in the region and volatile global food prices have made a bad situation worse. Indeed, it is the world’s poor – particularly those in rural areas – that suffer the most from these combined factors.

Follow Project Syndicate on Facebook or Twitter. For more from Kanayo F. Nwanzeclick here.

This does not bode well for our future. By 2050, global food production will have to increase by 60% to meet demand from a growing world population with changing consumption habits. To ensure food security for all, we will have to increase not just food production, but also availability, especially for those living in developing countries. That means breaking down barriers and inequalities, building capacity, and disseminating knowledge. In Africa, smallholder farmers – who provide 80% of the sub-Saharan region’s food – need infrastructure for agricultural development, including irrigation and roads, as well as better market organization and access to technology.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development sees enormous potential in Africa’s ...

Published: Saturday 25 February 2012
“On Tuesday, U.S. technology billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates announced nearly 200 million dollars in grants to smallholder farmers, channeled through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”

As the links between food security and climate change become increasingly inextricable, the necessity for sustainable agriculture is now a universal concern.

Smallholder farmers in the global South - who suffer most from changes in climate patterns and the degradation of natural resources, since they live and work in the most vulnerable landscapes – are in urgent need of sustainable agricultural technologies, a reality that was recognized at the annual meeting of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), which drew to a close in Rome on Thursday.

Despite ongoing economic and financial crises, developed and developing countries alike - represented by hundreds of development leaders and heads of state gathered in Rome for the 35th session of the Governing Council - committed 1.5 billion dollars to finance agriculture and rural development projects throughout the developing world.

During the two-day event, representatives from IFAD's 167 member states addressed the connection between overcoming poverty and food insecurity, and discussed how to ensure food security to a growing population while simultaneously protecting the environment.

In December 2011, member states gave a boost to sustainable agriculture with 1.5 billion dollars in new contributions to IFAD.

Now, the U.N. agency says it is scaling up its efforts even further to better link climate-smart technologies and sustainable agriculture in more than 40 countries.

"To help implement IFAD’s environmental policy and climate change strategy, we have developed a groundbreaking initiative called the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Program, or ASAP, which will help channel (funds) into climate-smart, sustainable investments in poor, smallholder communities," IFAD’s president Kanayo Nwanze announced in his opening statement at the conference.

Representatives of smallholders, family farmers, pastoralists and ...

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