The European Union has committed Sh16 billions towards agriculture, research and rural development in Kenya. The head of the EU delegation to Kenya Lodewijk Briet said the funds will also support nutrition in arid and semi-arid areas....the goal is to contribute to Vision 2030's objective of addressing food insecurity.
...The international aid community has recently been asking why our humanitarian aid industry continually responds late to emergencies--especially those that are recurring and known, such as drought in Africa. The industry plays a critical role in saving lives, but struggles to tackle the underlying causes of people's vulnerability, chasing misery as it moves from one crisis to the next.
The UK Department for International Development (DFID) funded a major study in 2012/2013 to quantify the cost of late humanitarian response to drought and other crises. The study found that, by responding early to drought in Kenya, the international community would save an average of $1 billion per year. Just by responding early. Imagine now if we actually invested in the ability of communities to cope with these events on their own, by supporting income generation and access to markets, water and education (among others)...
Particpants: Professor Suzanne Franks, Professor of Journalism, City University London
Discussant: Rob Bailey, Senior Research Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources, Chatham House
Chair: Eliza Anyangwe, Journalist and Content Manager, Global Development Professionals Network, The Guardian
Extensive media coverage exposed the 1984-85 Ethiopian famine to public consciousness, with long-lasting consequences for Western policy formulation on the Horn of Africa. Recent food crises in the region continue to raise questions about the ability of the humanitarian system to translate early warnings into early action.
This meeting will look at the impact of reporting on famine and food securitization in the Horn of Africa, stimulating discussion around the themes of Suzanne Franks’ book Reporting Disasters: Famine, Aid, Politics and Media, which examines how the international configuration of aid and official policy can be both informed and misled by an incomplete portrayal of events and media pressure.
The world produces enough to feed the entire global population of 7 billion people. And yet, one person in eight on the planet goes to bed hungry each night. In some countries, one child in three is underweight. Why does hunger exist?
There are many reasons for the presence of hunger in the world and they are often interconnected. Here are six that we think are important.
Around a third of all the food produced in the world ends up being wasted somewhere along the production and consumption line, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation. In the UK, 50% of food waste occurs in the home: we throw away 7.2m tonnes of food and drink every year. That means the average household is putting £480 in the bin, rising to £680 for families with children. The rest of the waste takes place back up the supply chain, mostly on farms, but also during transport and in stores.
The consequences of all this waste go far beyond the burden on individual wallets – the land, water, fertilisers and labour that go into producing the food are also wasted, and we are left with the greenhouse-gas emissions from landfill and transport....
...Developing and developed countries account roughly evenly for the 1.3 billion tonnes of global food waste each year – but the nature of that wastage is very different. In developed countries, food is wasted throughout the supply chain, including at the consumption stage: the average European and North American consumer wastes 95-115kg of food a year. In sub-Saharan Africa and south/south-east Asia, very little is wasted by consumers. Here, most waste occurs early in the production chain, affecting millions of smallholders. Poor harvesting techniques, and a lack of storage and transport infrastructure, cause significant losses, reducing income and exacerbating local food insecurity.
A report by leading academics calls for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to change the way it operates and shift to a greater focus on “global public goods” such as data and analysis, though some of its findings are rejected by a senior FAO official.
The report, entitled Time for FAO to Shift into a Higher Gear, has emerged from a Center for Global Development (CGD) working group of 21 academics and experts on food security. It argues that FAO has the potential for greater, wider-reaching impact if it moves away from a focus on local, short-term projects.
...The five-year, $12.5 million award creates the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-scale Irrigation, which will focus on methods and practices to enhance the use of small-scale irrigation in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Ghana to the benefit of the regions’ farmers, coordinators said. The objective is to contribute to sustainable improvements to utilize scarce water supplies, thereby enhancing food production by smallholder farmers. Specifically, the project will work to identify interventions that positively affect small-scale irrigation, as well as develop management protocols and practices to reduce poverty and improve nutrition...
...The project is a major effort of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, which last year alone reached nearly 7.5 million farmers with improved technologies and management practices in more than 19 countries around the world...
...The research will begin with identifying constraints and opportunities to improving farmers’ access to small-scale irrigation technologies and will include introduction of new systems that will be used in practical demonstrations and adopted by African farmers where appropriate, according to Clarke. The project will also provide training in the use of the new technologies for in-country users — from government administrators to individual farmers — in implementing new capabilities.
The new modeling systems introduced and applied in this project will ensure new practices are gender neutral, environmentally sustainable and economically viable. They will provide enhanced nutrition to smallholder farm families...
A new voucher programme at Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya allows families to buy fresh fruit and vegetables from local food sellers. Not ordinarily a part of WFP's food ration, fresh produce makes a welcome addition to the diets of refugees, who are completely dependent on food assistance. The programme also gives a boost to the local economy providing growers and sellers with new customers to buy their food.
Julie Borlaug says her grandfather would want “less rhetoric and more action” in efforts to end world hunger, during a panel discussion at the World Food Prize symposium in downtown Des Moines.
Norman Borlaug, a Nobel Prize winner whose plant research is credited with saving millions of lives, would like us “to diversify … who we reach out to,” said Julie Borlaug, who works at the institute for international agriculture at Texas A&M named for her grandfather...
The report, "Lives on the Line", looks at how countries are progressing towards meeting their Millennium Development Goal of reducing preventable child deaths by two-thirds. However, in contrast with many progress reports, the research focuses not just on the speed of progress, but on the quality of that progress: whether it is equitable (reaches all income groups) and whether it is sustainable; measured as political will, regardless of national wealth...
...The report shows how countries in the region are taking different paths, but there have been some common features of each success story. Countries that provide better access to quality health care; improved nutrition; a concerted effort to address inequities - especially those faced by women and girls - and improved governance and accountability, have all seen successes...
KENYA is the country in the region struggling most to meet its commitments to Millennium Development Goal 4. According to the report, although the new government has made positive strides, malnutrition remains a "significant obstacle" to reducing child mortality with more than a third of all Kenyan children suffering stunted growth due to chronic malnutrition. The report acknowledges that government initiatives relating to breastfeeding and fortified nutrition should be welcomed.
ETHIOPIA has achieved MDG 4, but many sections of the population continue to experience very high rates of child mortality. Children in the poorest 40 percent of the population are twice as likely to die than children in the top 10 percent; girls are 25 percent more likely to die than boys; and children living in rural areas are 37 percent more likely to die than children living in urban areas.
TANZANIA has also already reached its target under MDG4, although with an estimated 179,000 children who die every year before their fifth birthdays, the country has among the highest numbers of preventable child deaths in sub-Saharan Africa. Although public health sector financing more than doubled between 2006 and 2012, only about 10% of the government budget is dedicated to health, far below the 15% recommended under the Abuja Declaration. Like other similar African countries, Tanzania's child survival indicators show huge inequities with some regions like Lindi having much poorer survival rates.
UGANDA ranks amongst the 15 low-income countries that have achieved reductions in under-five mortality of more than 10% since 1990 – but this rate is still below the required pace to meet the MDG 4 target. Public health sector spending on health has stagnated at 8-9%.
RWANDA is the only country in sub-Saharan Africa on track to meet most of the Millennium Development Goals. The number of annual child deaths has fallen by 63 percent. Progress in child survival has come thanks to a variety of efforts, notably improved access to strengthened primary health care, high national health insurance coverage and high and sustained immunization coverage. But 154,000 children (mainly in rural areas) continue to die each year before their fifth birthday, mostly from preventable causes, and chronic childhood malnutrition remains high at 44.2%. Disparities in quality of care exist between urban and rural areas.
SOUTH SUDAN has managed to reduce the under five mortality rate by 59% since 1990 but basic health coverage remains extremely poor. Child survival rates are hampered by one of the lowest levels of immunization in the world, persistent rates of extreme poverty – more than 90% of South Sudanese live on less than a dollar a day – and malnutrition, with 18% of the population suffering from chronic hunger.
Dr. Noel Marie Zagre, United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Regional Nutrition Advisor (East Africa)
1. Undernutrition is a very complex issue, what are some of the benefits of addressing it through multi-sectoral approaches? 2. What would you say are some of the specific challenges in the East African region for creating an enabling environment for a regional approach to food and nutrition security?
Filmed in the margins of the conference: 'Private investment and regional approach to Nutrition Security: promoting an enabling environment through public-private-partnerships'
In a commissioning ceremony today, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) together with the Government of Uganda put grain processing equipment into service to help small-scale farmers in the Jinja area to improve the quality of their grain, store it more safely and access markets.
The equipment is used to clean, dry, grade and bag grain for storage, and is being leased to Upland Rice Millers in Jinja town for the benefit of smallholder farmer groups in the area. The processing gear is one of eight units purchased by WFP and leased to the private sector and co-operatives since 2010, and it is being used in Jinja for the first time...
...The warehouse receipt system is a means to integrate small-scale farmer groups and traders into the East African Community market, the minister said. Constraints facing smallholders in Uganda include the lack of modern stores and warehouses, often resulting in poor quality grain.
"WFP's vision is that Uganda is increasingly able to access regional markets with quality grain, and that small-scale farmer groups in particular are able to get better prices for their surpluses," said Alice Martin-Daihirou, the WFP representative in Uganda...
...Under the warehouse receipt system, warehouse managers - licensed by Uganda Commodity Exchange - clean, dry, grade, bag and store agricultural produce from farmer groups, traders and processors, for a fee in public warehouses. The warehouse manager issues the depositor with a legally tradable electronic receipt, a document verifying the quantity and quality of stored grains. The receipt can enable a depositor to obtain a bank loan.
The 2013 Global Hunger Index (GHI) by the International Food Policy Research Institute and non-profit organisations Welthungerhlife and Concern Worldwide makes for fascinating reading. Aggregating three equally measured indicators (the proportion of people who are undernourished; the proportion of children younger than 5 years who are underweight; and the mortality rate of children younger than 5 years), it challenges some existing assumptions about hunger. For example, the region with the highest 2013 GHI score is South Asia rather than sub-Saharan Africa. The GHI also finds that hunger is declining, mainly due to a decline in the share of children younger than 5 years who are underweight. However, despite this progress, the report notes that 870 million people are still chronically undernourished worldwide.
What can be done? The 2013 GHI focuses on the concept of resilience as the solution. It argues that the central reason that people are unable to escape poverty and hunger is their vulnerability to shocks and stressors such as floods, price hikes, and civil unrest. Building communities' resilience to these events, including boosting their food and nutrition security, is therefore crucial for long-term development. However, the report acknowledges that the concept and science of resilience is still in its infancy—there is no consensus on the best interventions to promote resilience or even its definition. Nonetheless, it notes, the development and relief communities are working towards a loosely defined resilience framework.
The health community also has an important part to play in reaching this goal through research and evidence on the effectiveness of possible interventions to boost resilience such as cash transfers, nutritional programmes (see The Lancet's 2013 Series on Maternal and Child Nutrition), and early warning systems for disasters.
Ultimately, however, hunger is a complex condition affected by social inequality, low nutrition, education, and social status of women, climate change, poverty, food systems as well as the resilience of populations to unexpected and unpredictable events. How well all these concepts are articulated and addressed in the post-2015 development goals is therefore likely to have the biggest effect on global progress against hunger.
Sub-Sahara Africa has ample fertile land, plenty of water and a generally favourable climate for food production. It also has some of the fastest growing economies. Yet, the region is the world's most food insecure - not least because its governments don't play their part...
Even though 70 percent of Africans are farmers, the continent continues to experience hunger and famine, especially in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel region...One in four people in sub-Saharan Africa are undernourished, and every third child is stunted, according to a 2012 human development report of the United Nations Development Programme...Ironically, countries that heavily rely on agriculture are worst affected by food insecurity. That is because 90 per cent of Africa's food supply is produced by smallholders. And they produce so little, that half of them are food insecure themselves...
...The reasons for food insecurity are complex. They include crop failure due to droughts and floods, poverty, conflict and HIV. But misguided policies and weak institutions are the main culprits for hunger, experts argue...Self-serving elites are monopolising state revenues while emptying the country's resources instead of creating jobs and building industry...Many African governments continued to sideline agriculture by bestowing subsidies, incentives and macroeconomic support on other sectors.
“The cost of food production for smallholder farmers today is so high, it's not viable as a business”.
The “Famine and Forced Relocations in Ethiopia 1984-1986” case study is describing the difficulties and dilemmas met by MSF during the famine that decimated the Ethiopian population in 1984-1985. This famine triggered an unprecedented humanitarian mobilisation and huge media attention. But the Ethiopian regime at the time also used the international aid as a bait to attract the populations and forcibly resettle them in appalling conditions. In this context: what should have been done when it appeared that aid was being used against the population for whom it was intended? Could MSF’s denunciation have endangered international aid operations in Ethiopia? By taking such positions, could MSF put its own existence and, thus, its other activities at risk?
Youth need to participate in agriculture lest East Africa faces food insecurity in the future, participants at the International Symposium and Exhibition on Agricultural Development in the region have warned...
.."The average age of farmers in the region is about 60 years. This implies that low degree of youth participation in agriculture is a critical threat to food security in the near future"...."Our young people still look at agriculture as a punishment. We need to quickly address challenges like high costs of production in terms of mechanised farming".
In the EAC alone, the agricultural sector contributes about 42 per cent of Burundi's GDP, 28 per cent in Tanzania, 25 per cent in Uganda, 28 per cent in Kenya and 32 per cent in Rwanda.
For the past two years, agricultural production has been increasing in the province of South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. And at least part of the credit goes to shopkeepers across the border in Rwanda.
The neighboring store owners have been providing Congolese farmers with phytosanitary seeds and products that help avert crop diseases. Then, these same shopkeepers have been buying the harvest that ends up coming back on the markets of Bukavu in the form of flour and other products, which have seen a resulting drop in prices.
It is a virtuous circle, where the Rwandese shopkeepers are convinced that in this border region, farmers can boost their productivity if they had better access to more modern agricultural procedures and products.
So in exchange for their help, farmers sell their produce, especially corn and manioc, to the Rwandans...
Protecting smallest farmers
Because they work hand-in-hand with these traders, local farmers with smaller output are starting to develop better procedures for their size...
...The aim is also to reduce the waste caused by transportation and tariffs at the border that farmers have had to pay whenever they go to Rwanda to buy seeds or to sell their harvest...
Advances in agricultural science and technology (S&T) have contributed to remarkable increases in food production since the mid-twentieth century. Global agriculture has grown 2.5-3 times over the last 50 years.
This has let food production keep pace with human population growth so that, overall, there are enough calories produced per capita. However, progress toward reducing hunger is variable across the world...
Hunger and malnutrition affect every aspect of human development and persist for various reasons including unequal access to land, to sufficient and nutritious food, and to other productive resources.
Adequate food production is necessary but insufficient to ensure national nutritional security. In India, for example, millions of households suffer from chronic undernourishment and malnutrition despite the fact that favourable years produce more than enough grain, and there is a public distribution system designed to supply poor households with subsidised grain.
Agricultural production needs to increase to address this unequal access to food and resources, and to meet the needs of a growing world population. It may need to increase by an estimated 70 per cent globally and by 100 per cent in developing countries by 2050 in order to keep pace with population growth and shifting diets.
Reformed agrifood systems will also need to navigate complex resource limits imposed, in part, by environmental degradation to which modern agriculture has contributed.
So the challenge for agriculture is three-fold: to increase agricultural production, especially of nutrient-rich foods, to do so in ways which reduce inequality, and to reverse and prevent resource degradation.
S&T can play a vital role in meeting these challenges - for example, by developing innovations that smallholders with limited resources can afford and use...
...The 2013 GAP Report includes GHI's updated GAP Index™, an annual snapshot of agricultural productivity growth measured against growth in global population and food demand. The GAP Index is based on the measurement of total factor productivity (TFP), the ratio of agricultural outputs to inputs. Total factor productivity rises when outputs increase and inputs remain constant. The Global Harvest Initiative has been focused on agricultural productivity and the importance of TFP since 2009, and released its inaugural GAP Report in 2010 at the World Food Prize...
...“The overall findings of the 2013 GAP Report indicate that over the past decade, countries are managing to maintain growth in productivity on global average. But those findings should not downplay the serious and urgent fact that we must maintain an increasing rate of global agricultural productivity year after year for the next 40 years.” said Dr. Margaret Zeigler, GHI executive director.
“The 2013 GAP Report shows that raising productivity across all regions requires long-term investments and sustained focus if we are going to have sufficient nutritious and affordable food and agriculture.” Zeigler continued, “To more sustainably increase output from every resource we use for food production, we need greater investment in agricultural research and development, better trade agreements for facilitation of global and regional trade in agriculture, and a commitment to apply information and science-based technologies.”
For the first time, the 2013 GAP Report includes case studies that demonstrate the impact of five policy areas critical for meeting the food and nutrition needs of the future, including reducing trade barriers, promoting public- and private-sector investment, increasing investments in research, and coordinating international development assistance. Together, these policy areas help drive greater efficiency and productivity along agricultural value chains...
Bringing people from diverse backgrounds together to discuss possible future scenarios can be an effective tool in developing policies for sustainable development and food security in the face of climate change, but the success of this approach depends on good facilitation, communication and capacity development.
A study by scientists associated with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and published in the journal Regional Environmental Change assesses the effectiveness of the participatory development of regional multi-stakeholder scenarios in bridging boundaries between disciplines and linking knowledge with action.
The recent discovery of a large aquifer in Kenya is a reminder that far from being dry, Africa has abundant water resources. The problem for farmers is access: only around 6% of cultivated land is equipped for irrigation, leaving millions dependent on rain-fed agriculture. How might more of them be helped to access water that could raise their productivity?
Large-scale, government-funded irrigation systems have long attempted to address this, with varying degrees of success. Those systems have a place, but research by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) has found that many smallholders are themselves taking the lead and investing in their own low-cost, small-scale irrigation systems...
...The challenge in sub-Saharan Africa is that farmer-driven investment in small-scale irrigation is spreading without much governmental support in creating an enabling environment where farmers have information on the various systems, financial services to help them invest, and market access to sell produce...
...Motorised pumps, for example, are also becoming popular but are usually imported, which can make them expensive and present practical challenges if the instructions come in languages not understood by users, or if spare parts are difficult to find. Simply providing translated instructions is one way of providing support.
Improving water and nutrition lays groundwork for a better future in Ethiopian villages, a feature story on Unicef Ethiopia website shows.
The story indicates how the construction of water points in villages in Amhara region avoided long hour trekking of girls to fetch water, thereby helped their school attendance.
The construction of water point has helped increase the village's water and sanitation coverage to 60 per cent, an innovative community-based ownership and maintenance scheme has also been effective. WASH communities - groups of five people who oversee maintenance and security of water facilities - have been elected by residents in Amari Yewabesh and other nearby villages...
...The programme's impact doesn't end at the water point. Thanks to EU support, a community-based nutrition programme in the Machakel district is helping save the lives of young children and reducing cases of malnutrition.
On 7th October 2013, the Republic of Congo expressed its commitment to scaling up nutrition. The government’s decision to join the SUN Movement is rooted in its existing commitments including the 63rd World Health Assembly Resolution on Infant and Young Child Nutrition which calls on Members States to increase political commitment in order to prevent and reduce malnutrition. The country is also committed to achieving the first Millennium Development Goal to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. For the Republic of Congo, the fight against the double burden of malnutrition – tackling both undernutrition and rising levels of obesity – is of critical importance.
By joining the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement, the Republic of Congo hopes to strengthen current policies and increase the level of coverage of effective interventions with the support of development partners.