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

Investing in preparedness and building the resilience of farmers is fundamental to cope with extreme drought

 

Photo credit: UN NEWS CENTRE

Herders collect water with camels at one of the few remaining water points in drought-affected Bandarero village, Moyale County, Kenya. Photo: Rita Maingi/ OCHA

UN urges ‘reboot’ of drought responses to focus more on preparedness

Investing in preparedness and building the resilience of farmers is fundamental to cope with extreme drought, because responding to such situations when they hit might be too late, the head of the United Nations agricultural agency said today.

“People die because they are not prepared to face the impacts of the drought – because their livelihoods are not resilient enough,” Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva told an international seminar in Rome, Italy, recalling that more than 250,000 people perished from hunger in the 2011 drought in Somalia.

“Saving livelihoods means saving lives – this is what building resilience is all about,” he added, noting that for years, the focus has been responding to droughts when they happen, rushing to provide emergency assistance and to keep people alive.

While these emergency responses are important, investing in preparedness and resilience puts countries on a footing to act quickly before it is too late, meaning that farmers and rural communities are better positioned to cope with extreme weather when it does hit.

The need for a global drought re-boot is pressing. The many impacts of drought drive not only hunger and instability but cause economic losses up to $8 billion each annually.

As the planet’s climate changes, severe dry-spells are becoming more and more frequent. Since the 1970s, the land area in the world affected by situations of drought has doubled.

People die because they are not prepared to face the impacts of the droughtFAO Director General

The burden is especially high in developing countries, where agriculture remains an economic mainstay. Over 80 percent of damage and losses caused by drought are born by agriculture in the developing world, FAO studies have shown.

And Africa in particular has borne the brunt. Between 2005 and 2016, 84 droughts affected 34 different African nations.

Read the full article: UN NEWS CENTRE

How to pre-empt devastating drought impacts

 

Photo credit: FAO

Parched earth in Kenya, one of the East African countries currently feeling the impacts of drought.

World needs to pre-empt devastating drought impacts through better preparedness

Seminar at FAO seeks to rekindle international cooperation, wider use of existing tools and approaches

Investing in preparedness and building the resilience of farmers is fundamental to facing situations of extreme drought, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said today.

“Saving livelihoods means saving lives – this is what building resilience is all about,” he said in a speech at the start of an international seminar on drought organized by Iran, the Netherlands, and FAO and held at the UN agency’s Rome headquarters.

Recalling the 2011 drought in Somalia that saw over 250,000 people perish from hunger, Graziano da Silva said: “People die because they are not prepared to face the impacts of the drought – because their livelihoods are not resilient enough.”

“For years, the focus has been responding to droughts when they happen, rushing to provide emergency assistance and to keep people alive,” Graziano da Silva said, noting that while “of course, that is important,” investing in preparedness and resilience is essential. Doing so puts countries on a footing to act quickly before it is too late, means that farmers and rural communities are better positioned to cope with extreme weather when it does hit.

John Mutorwa, Minister for Agriculture, Water and Forestry of Namibia, said that in these times of climate change, drought has emerged as a challenge that all countries will be forced to face, again and again.

Read the full article: FAO

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