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

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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

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

A broader, more ecological understanding of poverty can contribute to improved livelihoods for livestock keepers in Africa

 

Poor livestock keepers: ecosystem–poverty–health interactions.

Grace, D., Lindahl, J., Wanyoike, F., Bett, B., Randolph, T. and Rich, K. 2017.

Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B 372(1725): 20160166.

Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/81470

Abstract/Description

Humans have never been healthier, wealthier or more numerous. Yet, present success may be at the cost of future prosperity and in some places, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, poverty persists. Livestock keepers, especially pastoralists, are over-represented among the poor. Poverty has been mainly attributed to a lack of access, whether to goods, education or enabling institutions. More recent insights suggest ecosystems may influence poverty and the self-reinforcing mechanisms that constitute poverty traps in more subtle ways. The plausibility of zoonoses as poverty traps is strengthened by landmark studies on disease burden in recent years. While in theory, endemic zoonoses are best controlled in the animal host, in practice, communities are often left to manage disease themselves, with the focus on treatment rather than prevention. We illustrate this with results from a survey on health costs in a pastoral ecosystem. Epidemic zoonoses are more likely to elicit official responses, but these can have unintended consequences that deepen poverty traps. In this context, a systems understanding of disease control can lead to more effective and pro-poor disease management. We illustrate this with an example of how a system dynamics model can help optimize responses to Rift Valley fever outbreaks in Kenya by giving decision makers real-time access to the costs of the delay in vaccinating. In conclusion, a broader, more ecological understanding of poverty and of the appropriate responses to the diseases of poverty can contribute to improved livelihoods for livestock keepers in Africa. This article is part of the themed issue ‘One Health for a changing world: zoonoses, ecosystems and human well-being’.

 

Read: https://cgspace.cgiar.org/handle/10568/81470

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.

Strengthening women’s participation

DinaNajar
The work was led by Dina Najjar, Social and Gender Specialist, Social, Economics and Policy Research Theme, Sustainable Intensification and Resilient Production Systems Program (SIRPS), International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Amman, Jordan. (Photo: ICARDA) – http://wheat.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2017/03/DinaNajar.jpg

 

Strengthening African women’s participation in wheat farming

Gender inequality is a recurring feature of many agricultural production systems across the wheat-growing regions of Africa, and women farmers often lack access to credit, land, and other inputs. The result: limited adoption of new innovations, low productivity and income, and a missed opportunity to enhance household food security and prosperity.

In contrast, enhancing women’s involvement in agricultural development generates positive impacts beyond the lives of individual women – with benefits felt across entire communities and nations.

Identifying and challenging obstacles

Challenging the obstacles that rural women face is a key priority of a wheat initiative managed by ICARDA and supported by the African Development Bank and the CGIAR Research Program on Wheat.

Action research to integrate women beneficiaries into the SARD-SC project in Sudan, Nigeria, and Ethiopia has helped identify actions and approaches that can be applied more widely to enhance women’s integration within diverse wheat production systems.

The main objectives were: increasing women’s income generation and contributions to food security, while addressing structural inequalities in access to inputs and services such as information, training, and microcredit.

Context-specific interventions

Our project employed context-specific interventions for growing grain, demonstrating technologies, adding value, and facilitating access to microcredit. Women’s involvement (65% in Sudan, 32% in Ethiopia and 12% in Nigeria) was often facilitated by gaining the trust and approval of male kin and support at the institutional levels – for example, recruiting women beneficiaries through the inclusion of female field staff: 4 in Nigeria, 4 in Sudan, and 6 in Ethiopia, all trained on gender integration.

Read the full article: CGIAR