How to end chronic hunger cycle in Africa ?

 

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Panos

Africa Analysis: Ending Africa’s chronic hunger cycle

Speed read

  • Africa is home to three of four nations that could be hit by famine in 2017
  • African governments must invest in sustainable water supply to boost farming
  • Governments should learn from other nations such as China, India and Sri Lanka
For Africa to end chronic hunger, governments must invest in sustainable water supplies, writes Esther Ngumbi.

The fields are bare under the scorching sun and temperatures rise with every passing week. Any crops the extreme temperatures haven’t destroyed, the insect pests have, and for many farmers, there is nothing they can do. [1] Now, news about hunger across Africa makes mass media headlines daily. [2]

Globally, hunger levels are at their highest. [3] In fact, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, over 70 million people across 45 countries will require food emergency assistance in 2017, with Africa being home to three of the four countries deemed to face a critical risk of famine: Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen. [4]

“Many African smallholder farmers depend on rain-fed agriculture, and because last year’s rains were inadequate, many farmers never harvested any crops.”

Esther Ngumbi, Auburn University in Alabama. United States

African governments, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and humanitarian relief agencies, including the United Nations World Food Programme, continue to launch short-term solutions such as food relief supplies to avert the situation. Kenya, for example, is handing cash transfers and food relief to its affected citizens. The UN World Food Programme is also distributing food to drought-stricken Somalia. [5] And in Zambia, the government is employing every tool including its military to combat insect pest infestation. [6]

But why are we here? What happened? Why is there such a large drought?

Reasons for chronic hunger

Many African smallholder farmers depend on rain-fed agriculture, and because last year’s rains were inadequate, many farmers never harvested any crops. Indeed, failed rains across parts of the Horn of Africa have led to the current drought that is affecting Somalia, south-eastern Ethiopia and northern and eastern Kenya. [7]

Read the full article: SciDevNet

And yet they could apply container gardening

 

 

Nearly two billion people depend on imported food

Date:
April 13, 2017
Source:
Aalto University
Summary:
Researchers show empirically: when population pressure increases, food is imported. The big issue, say authors of a new report, is that people may not even be aware that they have chosen dependency on imports over further investment in local production or curbing demand.

Earth’s capacity to feed its growing population is limited — and unevenly distributed. An increase in cultivated land and the use of more efficient production technology are partly buffering the problem, but in many areas it is instead solved by increasing food imports. For the first time, researchers at Aalto University have been able to show a broad connection between resource scarcity, population pressure, and food imports, in a study published in Earth’s Future.

‘Although this has been a topic of global discussion for a long time, previous research has not been able to demonstrate a clear connection between resource scarcity and food imports. We performed a global analysis focusing on regions where water availability restricts production, and examined them from 1961 until 2009, evaluating the extent to which the growing population pressure was met by increasing food imports,’ explains Postdoctoral Researcher Miina Porkka.

Read the full article: Science Daily

Urban malnutrition has evaded policymakers and researchers for a long time since it is a unique continuous process

 

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Panos

Undernutrition rampant in urban Sub-Saharan Africa

by Calvin Otieno

Speed read

  • A programme is facilitating local assessment of undernutrition
  • It provides a platform for key actors to identify and address undernutrition
  • An expert cites limited funding as a challenge to tackling urban undernutrition

A programme is helping address undernutrition — insufficient quantity and quality of food intake by a person — in Sub-Saharan Africa through creation of a local platform to assess and discuss challenges.

According to UNICEF, about 28 percent of children in Sub-Saharan Africa are underweight. But experts say existing nutrition assessment such as household economy approach face challenges such as lack of in-depth assessments and situational analyses.

To help address these challenges, Action Against Hunger (AFC), a humanitarian non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in France has developed a programme called Link Nutrition Casual Analysis (Link NCA).

“Urban malnutrition has evaded policymakers and researchers for a long time since it is a unique continuous process.”

Esther Mogusu, Nairobi County

“Link NCA is a local process that tries to understand what’s happening across different regions by providing independent nutrition survey and analysis and providing multi-sectoral tailor-shaped nutrition security programmes to the communities and stakeholders,” said Blanche Mattern, AFC and Link NCA technical advisor, during the Link NCA Learning Event held in Kenya on 28 February.

Mattern explains that compared to other nutritional analysis programmes, Link NCA uses people-centred approach.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Call for critical investments in agriculture and addressing climate change in Lake Chad Basin

 

Photo credit: FAO

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva last week visited some of the worst affected areas in Chad and northeastern Nigeria.

Lake Chad Basin: a crisis rooted in hunger, poverty and lack of rural development

The crisis afflicting the strife-torn Lake Chad Basin is rooted in decades of neglect, lack of rural development and the impact of climate change, and the only way to ensure a lasting solution is to address these including through investments in sustainable agriculture, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, said today.

“This is not only a humanitarian crisis, but it is also an ecological one,” Graziano da Silva said at a media briefing in Rome on his visit last week to some of the worst affected areas in Chad and northeastern Nigeria.

“This conflict cannot be solved only with arms. This is a war against hunger and poverty in the rural areas of the Lake Chad Basin,” the FAO Director-General stressed.

“Peace is a prerequisite” to resolve the crisis in the region, but this is not enough, the FAO Director-General said. “Agriculture including livestock and fisheries can no longer be an afterthought. It is what produces food and what sustains the livelihoods of about 90 percent of the region’s population.”

Some 7 million people risk suffering from severe hunger in the Lake Chad Basin, which incorporates parts of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and northeastern Nigeria.  In the latter, some 50,000 people are facing famine.

While fighting and violence have caused much of the suffering, the impact of environmental degradation and climate change including repeated droughts, are exacerbating the situation, the FAO Director-General said.

He noted how, since 1963, Lake Chad has lost some 90 percent of its water mass with devastating consequences on the food security and livelihoods of people depending on fishing and irrigation-based agricultural activities. And while Lake Chad has been shrinking, the population has been growing, including millions of displaced people from the worst conflict areas.

Food assistance and production support urgently needed

FAO together with its partners including other UN agencies is calling on the international community for urgent support – a combination of immediate food assistance and food production support is the only way to make dent in the scale of hunger in the region.

Graziano da Silva reiterated the call he made last week during his visit to Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria: if farmers miss the coming May/June planting season, they will see no substantial harvests until 2018. Failure to restore food production now will lead to the worsening of widespread and severe hunger and prolonged dependency on external assistance further into the future.

A part of the international response to prevent another famine in Somalia

 

Photo credit: UN News Centre

Women milking goats on the outskirts of the village of Qardho, Somalia. Photo: FAO/Karel Prinsloo

UN approves $22 million loan to boost agricultural work to prevent famine in Somalia

The United Nations agricultural agency will be further scaling up its activities in drought-hit regions of Somalia thanks to a $22 million loan approved this week by the UN emergency response fund.

“More than 2.9 million people are at risk of famine and many will predictably die from hunger if we do not act now,” said the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, in a news release.

As under-secretary-general, Mr. O’Brien heads the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which manages the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

“CERF is one of the fastest ways to enable urgent response to people most in need,” he said, explaining that the loan will bridge a crucial gap and allow FAO to immediately save lives and livelihoods of farmers and herders until additional funds from donors are received.

Read the full article: UN News Centre

600 millions of children lack access to safe water

 

Photo credit: UN News Centre

Shown here in this 2016 photo from Siyephi Village, Bullilima District in Matebeland South Province, Zimbabwe, a 17-year-old girl is seen at the drying up dam where she and her family fetch water. Photo: UNICEF/Mukwazhi

‘Nothing can grow without water,’ warns UNICEF, as 600 million children could face extreme shortages

Warning that as many as 600 million children – one in four worldwide – will be living in areas with extremely scare water by 2040, the United Nations children’s agency has called on governments to take immediate measures to curb the impact on the lives of children.

In its report, Thirsting for a Future: Water and children in a changing climate, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) explores the threats to children’s lives and wellbeing caused by depleted sources of safe water and the ways climate change will intensify these risks in coming years.

“This crisis will only grow unless we take collective action now,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake in a news release announcing the report, launched on World Water Day.

“But around the world, millions of children lack access to safe water – endangering their lives, undermining their health, and jeopardizing their futures,” he added.

According to the UN agency, 36 countries around the world are already facing extremely high levels of water stress.

Warmer temperatures, rising sea levels, increased floods, droughts and melting ice affect the quality and availability of water as well as sanitation systems. These combined with increasing populations, higher demand of water primarily due to industrialization and urbanization are draining water resources worldwide. On top of these, conflicts in many parts of the world are also threatening access to safe water.

Read the full article: UN News Centre

School meals and ending hunger

Photo credit: WVC 2003 SCHOOLGARDEN-SAL CABO VERDE 02.jpg

A schoolgarden, one of the best solutions to improve the school meals

FAO joins celebrations for International School Meals Day

International School Meals Day, celebrated around the world today, is a timely reminder of the need to promote healthy eating habits for all children through sustainable policies, including sourcing food from family farmers.

Every day around 370 million children around the world are fed at school through school meals programmes that are run in varying degrees by national governments.

Each programme is different: beans and rice in Madagascar, spicy lentils in the Philippines, vegetable pastries and fruit in Jordan. In some countries it may be a healthy snack, or it could include take-home food such as vitamin A-enriched oil for the whole family.

School meals have proved successful in providing educational and health benefits to the most vulnerable children. School meals boost school attendance, and a full stomach can help students concentrate on their lessons.

Communities, particularly in rural areas, also benefit when family farmers and small and medium enterprises are the main source of healthy food for the schools.

International School Meals Day marks these achievements and helps raise greater awareness of the value of school meals globally.

A generation of well-nourished children

FAO believes that consistent global investments in school meals will lead to a generation of children who develop healthy eating habits and who benefit from a diverse diet. Ultimately this effort will contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger.

Read the full article: FAO

You may also read:

https://foodtank.com/news/2017/02/school-gardens-provide-just-lunch-disadvantaged-communities/