Number of people needing humanitarian assistance on the rise

 

Photo credit: FAO

A livestock owner in Kenya with his remaining cattle after drought killed two-thirds of his herd.

FAO issues alert over third consecutive failed rainy season, worsening hunger in East Africa

14 July 2017, Rome – Poor rains across East Africa have worsened hunger and left crops scorched, pastures dry and thousands of livestock dead – according to an alert released today by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The most affected areas, which received less than half of their normal seasonal rainfall, are central and southern Somalia, southeastern Ethiopia, northern and eastern Kenya, northern Tanzania and northeastern and southwestern Uganda.

Poor rains across East Africa have worsened hunger and left crops scorched, pastures dry and thousands of livestock dead – according to an alert released today by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The most affected areas, which received less than half of their normal seasonal rainfall, are central and southern Somalia, southeastern Ethiopia, northern and eastern Kenya, northern Tanzania and northeastern and southwestern Uganda.

The alert issued by FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) warns that the third consecutive failed rainy season has seriously eroded families’ resilience, and urgent and effective livelihood support is required.

“This is the third season in a row that families have had to endure failed rains – they are simply running out of ways to cope,” said FAO’s Director of Emergencies Dominique Burgeon. “Support is needed now before the situation rapidly deteriorates further.” 

Increasing humanitarian need

The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in the five aforementioned countries, currently estimated at about 16 million, has increased by about 30 percent since late 2016. In Somalia, almost half of the total population is food insecure.  Timely humanitarian assistance has averted famine so far but must be sustained. Conditions across the region are expected to further deteriorate in the coming months with the onset of the dry season and an anticipated early start of the lean season.

Read the full article: FAO

Key to food and nutrition security

 

SDG LINKS

Linking up the SDGs: the key to food and nutrition security

The latest United Nations population projections released in June 2017 suggest that there will be 9.8 billion people by 2050, an increase of 2.4 billion people over 2015 estimates. That means that our population is growing faster than the last several rounds of UN projections for 2050 suggested. This growth will be concentrated in the so-called Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the African continent, but the number of people in India, Indonesia, Pakistan and the United States is also expected to increase.

This projected population growth both heightens the need for the Sustainable Development Goals while simultaneously making them more difficult to achieve. The locations where population growth is likely to happen are also areas subject to increased exposure to climate extremes, civil conflicts, high levels of natural resource degradation and poor infrastructure development. Government resources in the poorest countries experiencing rapid population growth will be most constrained and basic needs, including food security and nutrition, are in peril. The FAO confirmed at their biennial conference in July that, currently, 19 countries are facing severe food crises due to a combination of conflict and climate change.

How can strong, positive progress on the SDGs be made under these daunting circumstances? A new report by the International Council for Science (ICSU), titled A Guide to SDG Interactions: From Science to Implementation, will be presented during the July 10-19 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) at the United Nations in New York and provides some useful answers.

 Read the full article: CGIAR

Legume seed systems in Nigeria

 

Photo credit: ICRISAT

Participants at the workshop. Photo: OC Akerele

BUILDING ECONOMICALLY SUSTAINABLE AND EFFECTIVE LEGUME SEED SYSTEMS IN NIGERIA

An action plan for the 2017 cropping season for groundnut and cowpea was drawn up at a training workshop to strengthen the capacities of stakeholders in the legumes value chain in Nigeria.

The training centered around five specific objectives:

  • Strategy to increase production and productivity of groundnut and cowpea to meet the Nigerian seed road map target;
  • Appropriate data collection using updated digital tools;
  • Strengthening of seed dissemination pathway (formal and informal seed sector);
  • Developing a seed business plan and marketing strategy; and
  • Developing policies and regulations related to seed development.

The key issues identified for implementation are as follows:

Read the full article: ICRISAT

More investments in sustainable rural development required

 

Photo credit: FAO

Turning political will on ending hunger into action requires strong focus on national strategies, including to those on nutrition, health and education policies.

Achieving Zero Hunger by 2030 requires turning political will into concrete actions

Achieving the international community’s goal of eradicating hunger and malnutrition by 2030 is indeed possible, but this requires a scaling up of action, including greater investments in agriculture and sustainable rural development, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said.

Speaking at a side event on Zero Hunger at the FAO Conference, Graziano da Silva pointed to some stark facts and figures.

“Today more than 800 million people are still chronically undernourished … and unfortunately the number has started to grow again,” the FAO Director-General said.

Around 155 million children under five are stunted – close to a quarter of the total while 1.9 billion people are overweight, of which at least 500 million are obese and 2 billion suffer from micronutrient deficiency, he added.

While progress in combating the related scourges of poverty and hunger has been made in recent decades, these achievements are at risk of being reversed as conflict, population growth, climate change and changing dietary patterns, all pose new challenges, Graziano da Silva said.

He noted that the world is facing “one of the largest humanitarian crises ever” with more than 20 million people at risk of famine in four countries: North Eastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

An enabling policy and institutional environment

Graziano da Silva noted that the 2030 Agenda calls for strong commitment to national decision-making and greater self-reliance by Member States, underscoring how “we are seeing this happen with regional initiatives and organizations playing a substantial role.”

He cited the Malabo Declaration adopted by African Union leaders to end hunger in Africa by 2025 and also referred to the strong commitment to food security made by countries in the Asia and Pacific region and in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Turning political will into action requires a stronger focus on national strategies, including to those relating to nutrition, health and education policies. The FAO Director-General called for enhancing governance and coordination mechanisms to facilitate dialogue and create incentives for different sectors and stakeholders to work together and to sharpen the focus of Zero Hunger initiatives. “For that, decision-makers need solid and relevant evidence, including statistics and monitoring data,” he added.

“And last but not least, we have to significantly increase investments,” Graziano da Silva said. 

Read the full article: FAO

Some of the causes, especially conflicts, are man-made.

 

Photo credit: SABC

As we respond to the famine and starvation crisis, it is imperative that we fast-track efforts aimed at investing in longer-term solutions, if we are to break the endless cycle of food insecurity.(SABC)

 

The problem isn’t hunger

OPINION: Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré

Famine and starvation are threatening the lives of tens of millions of people in Africa today.

In Ethiopia alone, over 7 million people need emergency food aid. What is troubling is the fact that food aid will run out soon in the country. This is extremely unsettling and begs the question: Will this cycle of hunger ever end?

As we respond to the current crisis, it is imperative that we fast-track efforts aimed at investing in longer-term solutions, if we are to break the endless cycle
of food insecurity.

In 1974 a global conference on food security resolved that “within a decade no child would go hungry.”

Ironically, exactly a decade later, almost one million Ethiopians died in one of the worst famines in recent history. This was not the last one. Famines have been recurring, and they will return, unless public authorities, the donor community, United Nations agencies, regional bodies and national institutions genuinely refocus their efforts on dealing with the underlying causes, some of which I highlight below.

Some of the causes, especially conflicts, are man-made.

Read the full article: SABC

Improving the yield potential of 40 % of global land area under arid and semi-arid conditions

 

170615213728_1_540x360
Tillage systems research is ongoing at the New Mexico State University Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari. Murali Darapuneni, an assistant professor of semi-arid cropping systems in the NMSU Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, is researching dryland cropping systems at the Tucumcari center. – https://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2017/06/170615213728_1_540x360.jpg

Dryland cropping systems research addresses future drought and hunger issues

Date:
June 15, 2017
Source:
New Mexico State University (NMSU)
Summary:
The projected world population by 2056 is 10 billion. If researchers succeed in improving the yield potential of 40 percent of global land area under arid and semi-arid conditions, it will lead to a significant contribution to future food security.

Read the full article: Science Daily

The potential for edible insects as a food industry

 

Photo credit: Science Daily

Roasted crickets and cricket energy bars.
Credit: University of Adelaide

Could edible insects help global food security?

Date:
June 8, 2017
Source:
University of Adelaide
Summary:
Australian consumers are taking part in a research study to help realize the potential for edible insects as a food industry. Consumer attitudes are being put to the test with an offering of roasted crickets and ants, mealworm cookies and cricket energy bars.

Read the full article: Science Daily

Database of the world’s rice production

 

 

Spatial database of the world’s rice production to address research and policy questions on food security

Date:
June 16, 2017
Source:
University of Twente
Summary:
Rice is an important food source for a majority of the world population. Worldwide, on average around 60 kilograms of rice is consumed per year per person. Researchers from all over the world have developed the RiceAtlas: a spatial database that answers key questions like where, when and how much rice is grown globally. The database has just been made publicly available.

 

Read the full article: Science Daily

Heavy toll of disrupted farming, higher prices and displaced livelihoods

 

Photo credit: FAO

A homestead in Al Hudaydah, once an important food-producing part of Yemen and now at risk of famine.

Food insecurity strains deepen amid civil conflict and drought

Large agricultural harvests in some regions of the world are buoying global food supply conditions, but protracted fighting and unrest are increasing the ranks of the displaced and hungry elsewhere, according to the new edition of FAO’s Crop Prospects and Food Situation report.

Some 37 countries, 28 of which are in Africa, require external assistance for food, according to the report.

Civil conflict continues to be a main driver of severe food insecurity, having triggered famine conditions in South Sudan and put populations in Yemen and northern Nigeria at high risk of localized famine. Adverse weather conditions are exacerbating the threat of famine in Somalia. Refugees from civil strife in countries such as Iraq, Syria and Central African Republic are putting additional pressure on local food supplies in host communities, the report notes.

Some 5.5 million people are estimated to be severely food insecure in South Sudan, where maize and sorghum prices are now four times higher than in April 2016. In Somalia, about 3.2 million people are in need of food and agricultural emergency assistance, while in Yemen the figure is as high as 17 million. In northern Nigeria, disruption caused by the conflict has left 7.1 million people facing acute food insecurity in the affected areas, with even more deemed to be in less dire but still “stressed” conditions.

The 37 countries currently in need of external food assistance are Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

Southern Africa rebounds, East Africa is parched

While worldwide cereal output is near record levels, production outcomes are mixed across the globe. South America is expected to post strong increases, led by Brazil and Argentina.

Regional production in Southern Africa is expected to jump by almost 45 percent compared to 2016 when crops were affected by El Niño, with record maize harvests forecast in South Africa and Zambia. This should help reducing food insecurity in several countries such as Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

The overall food supply situation in the Sahel region is also satisfactory after two consecutive years of bumper crops, the report notes.

 Read the full article: FAO

Focus is on saving lives and livelihoods to sustain peace and tackle hunger

 

Photo credit: FAO

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission.

The African Union and FAO seek to boost joint efforts to end hunger in Africa

The African Union (AU) and FAO will seek to step up joint efforts to end hunger and sustain peace  in the continent say FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko .

In a meeting on Tuesday, Graziano da Silva and Commissioner Sacko underscored conflicts as a common denominator in areas facing food crises in the continent. “Conflict exacerbates hunger and in many cases hunger and food insecurity to intensify strife and social unrest,” the FAO Director-General said.

Protracted conflict in particular in northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and in Yemen, which is also a experiencing a hunger crisis, has left 30 million people, mostly children, in the throes of severe food insecurity, with 20 million potentially facing starvation.

Commissioner Correia Sacko and the FAO Director-General stressed the need for the AU, FAO, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and the World Food Programme (WFP) to work closely together to strengthen the links between sustaining peace, livelihoods and sustainable development.

Read the full article: FAO

 

Conflicts, drought and food insecurity

 

Photo credit: UN NEWS CENTRE

Community members transport humanitarian supplies delivered in Mayendit town, South Sudan. An inter-agency mobile team was deployed to support the resumption of life-saving services by static partners. Photo: OCHA/Guiomar Pau Sole.

Conflict and drought deepen food insecurity in Africa, Middle East – UN agency

Protracted fighting and unrest are swelling the ranks of displaced and hungry ins some parts of the world, even as large agricultural harvests in some regions are buoying global food supply conditions, according to a new report by the United Nations agriculture agency.

“Civil conflict continues to be a main driver of food insecurity, having triggered famine conditions in South Sudan and put populations in Yemen and northern Nigeria at high risk of localized famine,” said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization on today’s release its Crop Prospects and Food Situation report.

FAO also notes that adverse weather conditions are exacerbating the threat of famine in Somalia. Refugees from civil strife in countries such as Iraq, Syria and Central African Republic are putting additional pressure on local food supplies in host communities.

It also points out that some 5.5 million people are estimated to be severely food insecure in South Sudan, where maize and sorghum prices are now four times higher than in April 2016. In Somalia, about 3.2 million people need food and agricultural emergency assistance, while in Yemen the figure is as high as 17 million.

In northern Nigeria, disruption caused by conflict has left 7.1 million people facing acute food insecurity in the affected areas, with even more deemed to be in less dire but still “stressed” conditions, according to the report.

According to FAO, 37 countries require external assistance for food, namely Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

Southern Africa rebounds, East Africa is parched

While worldwide cereal output is near record levels, production outcomes are mixed across the globe.

According to the report, South America is expected to post strong increases, led by Brazil and Argentina.

Regional production in Southern Africa is expected to jump by almost 45 per cent compared to 2016 when crops were affected by El Niño, with record maize harvests forecast in South Africa and Zambia. This should help to reduce food insecurity in countries, such as Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

After two consecutive years of bumper crops, the report notes that the overall food supply situation in the Sahel region is satisfactory.

Read the full article: UN NEWS CENTRE

Alternative investments on poverty, hunger, and environment

 

 

Exploring the impacts of alternative investments on poverty, hunger, and environment

The recent report Quantitative Foresight Modeling to Inform the CGIAR Research Portfolio released by the Global Futures and Strategic Foresight (GFSF) team (part of PIM’s research flagship 1) seeks to help the CGIAR centers and research programs, as well as donors and other decision makers to assess the overall impact and benefits of investing in international and national agricultural research programs.

The report provides a quantitative assessment of the impacts of alternative investment options in agricultural research, resource management, and infrastructure on the CGIAR’s System Level Outcomes relating to poverty (SLO1), food and nutrition security (SLO2), and natural resources and ecosystem services (SLO3). Impacts to 2050 are analyzed in the context of changes in population, income, technology, and climate.

Key messages from the analysis:

  1. Demographic change and economic growth in the group of developing countries will result in significant increases in the demand for food in the coming decades
  2. Food and nutrition security are projected to improve over the 2010-2050 period
  3. Climate change reduces food and nutrition security
  4. Climate change impacts vary geographically, with agricultural trade as an important buffer
  5. The CGIAR research portfolio can make important differences to sustainable agricultural production systems, food security and nutrition, enhanced by increased investments in NARs agricultural research, improved water management, and infrastructure
  6. Alternative investment options involve different synergies and tradeoffs
  7. Other complementary investments will also be needed.

Read the full article: CGIAR