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Climate and Conflict in East Africa

Climate and Conflict in East Africa | Food & Nutrition Security in East Africa |

A new study, “Climate Variability and Conflict Risk in East Africa, 1990-2009,” published last month found that while there is “no statistically significant relationship” between precipitation and conflict, increased heat is correlated with more conflict in East Africa.


Still, they also found that other factors, like population size and the space-time lag for violence, predict conflict more reliably than either of the climate-related elements. Though the relationship between the direct effects of climate change (more extreme weather, higher temperatures, etc.) and conflict is still cloudy, the impact of secondary effects (like decreased agricultural productivity) is slightly clearer.


Climate change is already linked to lower yields in the tropics, where many of the world’s poorest countries are located, and fluctuations in food prices have been linked to political instability in the past.


In addition, a new United Nations Environment Programme report, "Avoiding Future Famines: Strengthening the Ecological Foundation of Food Security through Sustainable Food Systems" [UNEP, IFAD, World Bank, WFP] looks at the possibilities of changing food production and consumption to improve food security for the nearly one billion “left behind” by the Green Revolution last century.

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Issues Affecting Food Security in East and Central Africa
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Lower agriculture spending raises risks

Lower agriculture spending raises risks | Food & Nutrition Security in East Africa |

The World Bank has asked African governments to increase financial resources to agriculture if they want to overcome income inequalities and higher food prices.

In its latest Africa Pulse report, the bank said agriculture production is on the decline due to decreasing investment in the sector by African governments...

...Due to the decline in food production in most African countries, inflation has risen due to high food prices, and often limited supplies.

The situation has been worsened by prolonged drought seasons leading to drying up crops.

The report suggests that increasing integration with larger regional markets can reduce the magnitude of the price effects from localized shocks while lower trade barriers and better trade infrastructure would allow faster and more efficient response to localized food shortages due to disaster of all types.

On trade as tool to promote agricultural production the report states that the majority countries in the continent should promote trade in agricultural technology. The best way to do this is by importing inputs such as improved crop varieties, fertilizers agricultural machinery and animal vaccines...

...Many farmers in Africa have not been supported by their governments especially when it comes to accessing cheap capital from financial institutions. This has kept many farmers operating on small holder farming scale, because they cannot raise capital to invest in acquiring modern farming equipment's like tractors, fertilizers improved seed varieties on the market that are resistant to droughts and the various pests and diseases.

Most farmers (small scale farmers) in Africa are now being supported by non-government organisations (NGOs) operating in several areas of agriculture. However in 2014 international financial institutions like the World Bank and Japan International cooperation Agency (JICA) have started supporting some African countries with grants...

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NGO against 'corporate scramble for Africa'

In its latest report, WDM [World Development Movement] said the £600 million in UK aid money is going to a scheme to help big businesses increase their profits in Africa. The report slams the scheme as fuelling a ‘corporate scramble for Africa.’

WDM’s report further noted that the UK government’s £600 million in aid to back the G8-sponsored New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition which targets to lift 50 million people out of poverty by 2022, is largely flawed.

“Campaigners say the scheme is set to benefit multinational companies like Monsanto and Unilever at the expense of millions of small-scale farmers and is likely to increase poverty and inequality on the continent,” the report stated.

Campaigners believe the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition will disempower small-scale farmers....

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SOUTH SUDAN | Demands urgent action

By Nancy Lindborg, Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance at the U.S. Agency for International Development

...The people of South Sudan face a spiral of conflict, displacement, and hunger that this fragile, young country can ill afford. More than one million people have been forced to leave their homes and the numbers keep growing. Almost 70,000 people are sheltering in crowded UN compounds around the country that sprung up overnight and were not built to house tens of thousands of civilians. Many of these people can literally see their homes over the compound walls but remain too terrified to return, fearing they will be targeted by government or opposition forces and killed.

More than 800,000 people are displaced and dispersed in hard to reach areas, and a quarter of a million more have fled South Sudan for refuge in neighboring countries. Because of the conflict, markets are disrupted, planting season is in danger of being missed, and massive displacement is a burden for host communities. The ability of more than a million people to cope is being greatly eroded. Without fast and sustained aid, there is looming potential for nearly half the country to teeter into famine over the next year -- and children under five are already falling quickly into severe malnutrition.

Since the outbreak of violence in December, USAID's Disaster Assistance Response Team has been working with UN and NGO partners to direct a full-throttle U.S. response to enable food, water, sanitation, and health assistance to reach the most vulnerable. While in Juba, I announced an additional $83 million in humanitarian assistance to support these urgently needed relief efforts for South Sudanese displaced within South Sudan and for those who have fled to Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Sudan, bringing U.S. humanitarian assistance to $411 million over the last two years.

With the rainy season already upon us, there is little time to move life-saving assistance to those most in need. Even in the best of times, South Sudan presents a complex logistical challenge. Now, we need to use all possible avenues for reaching people: rivers, roads, air, and moving across borders...

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Is more hunger and malnutrition inevitable? Not necessarily

Is more hunger and malnutrition inevitable? Not necessarily | Food & Nutrition Security in East Africa |
Over the past week the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)has caused global headlines for its solemn warning of the possibility of a climate-induced future food crisis.

The report warns of food price spikes and supply shortages as the effects of increased temperatures, more unpredictable rainfall, and increased salinity in farmland from rising sea levels continue to take hold.

Climate change is lowering cereal yields and reducing fish catches, and along with high and volatile food prices, these impacts are spreading hunger and malnutrition among the world’s poorest people.

In parallel, demand for food will rise to serve the world’s growing population. Global diets also are changing to incorporate more high-quality foods, and the developing world’s cities are growing.

Africa, for example, will have twice as many people in 2050 as it has today, most of them in cities. Nigeria’s population will soon reach 440 million, surpassing that of the United States. By 2050 we expect to have 10 billion mouths to feed.

Things can only get more dire, it would seem. But does this inevitably mean greater levels of hunger and malnutrition? More food price spikes? Another round of riots as populations panic over shortages and prices of their staple foods?

Not if we act now.   

Investment in agricultural innovation is key. And we need to do more of it - soon.  Some of the most effective ways to deal with climate change, such as adapting crop varieties and livestock to the new conditions, take a full 20 years to develop...

...And the way we govern will have to change as well. Innovation in policy and institutions are equally important.  Prices of food and natural resources need to reflect the costs to the environment and climate. Right now,  the exclusion of these costs from food production leads to over-use of natural resources...

...In the short run, a strong social protection system is needed to cover poor people, especially smallholder farmers who are particularly vulnerable to climate change.

Yes, climate change is already affecting food security, and we are all likely to be affected, both in our stomachs and in our pockets. But a nightmare scenario is not inescapable. We will be able to address demands for food in the face of climate change if we take this wake-up call as urgent and serious, and further invest in research for a smarter agriculture to drive development.   

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Video | Ending Hunger and Undernutrition by 2025

Video released in conjunction with the launch of the 2013 Global Food Policy Report on March 12, 2014.

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Multidimensional poverty assessment tool (MPAT)

Multidimensional poverty assessment tool (MPAT) | Food & Nutrition Security in East Africa |

An innovative new tool for assessing, understanding and addressing rural poverty.

The Multidimensional Poverty Assessment Tool (MPAT) provides data that can inform all levels of decisionmaking by providing a clearer understanding of rural poverty at the household and village level. As a result, MPAT can significantly strengthen the planning, design, monitoring and evaluation of a project, and thereby contribute to rural poverty reduction.

The Multidimensional Poverty Assessment Tool (MPAT) is the result of a collaborative, international initiative begun in 2008 and led by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The purpose was to develop, test and pilot a new tool for local-level rural poverty assessment. The tool went through extensive field testing in several countries and independent validation and peer-review. MPAT is relatively easy to use, requires few resources to implement, and provides users with a reliable and comprehensive picture of a community’s poverty situation.

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UGANDA | Climate change affecting food security

UGANDA | Climate change affecting food security | Food & Nutrition Security in East Africa |

Uganda’s economy is largely agricultural. This means that agriculture being the core sector has, for a long time, significantly contributed to the country’s GDP and employment.

...The 2nd Chronic Poverty Report notes that the poor people have been vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change because of their fragile resilience and limited ability to adapt, their dependence on natural resources and their limited capacity to adapt, which is heightened by weak national systems that make many people who are currently vulnerable or are in transitory poverty are at risk of staying in chronic poverty.

Uganda, like the other East African Countries, has ratified the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) and Kyoto Protocol that guided the development of the East African Community (EAC) Climate Change Master Plan...

...The DRR approaches offer options for prevention, mitigation and preparedness to adverse impacts of natural hazards in some of its interventions. For instance, strengthening regional meteorological and hydrological services and improving climate early warning systems to promote efficient management and utilisation of natural resources, including protection of vulnerable ecosystems. Despite this, most of the countries don’t have long term responses to disasters...

...The Government of Uganda and the East African Community are called upon to urgently ensure that their early warning systems and disaster preparedness and management policies are effectively responsive to predict and manage disasters and increased vulnerability of their affected people.

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RWANDA | EAX-Rwanda urged to alert farmers on prices by phone

RWANDA | EAX-Rwanda urged to alert farmers on prices by phone | Food & Nutrition Security in East Africa |

EAX-Rwanda could leverage the high rate of mobile phone penetration to share market information with farmers and boost trade in produce through the exchange, Nigerian agriculture minister Akinwumi Adesina has said.


Adesina who on Wednesday visited EAX-Rwanda, the Rwanda chapter of East African Exchange (EAX), said that sometimes farmers get stuck with big volumes of produce because they lack market pricing information and end up making losses.


Rwanda has a mobile penetration rate of over 63 per cent, according to statistics from Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority. That means that 63 out of every 100 people use mobile phones. Farmers can use basic features of the phone, like short message solutions, to access relevant information sent to them.


We have more mobile phones today than television sets; so how we use the devices to let the farmers know where the markets and opportunities are and also where they can get subsidised inputs from is really vital," he said.


He added that enabling farmers to own phones and access good technologies would also prove vital in improving the value-addition chain of their produce. The minister said that continuous access to modern technology enables farmers increase output, sell more and also produce cost-effectively.


Paul Kukubo, the chief executive of EAX Rwanda, said that the exchange is looking at working with reputable actors to share market information with the farmers. He said the exchange will use a system similar to Kenya's mFarm, which gives farmers up-to-date market information and links them with buyers.


If implemented, this will complement the exchange's current Nasdaq electronic trading platform that can detect and link real-time global prices to ensure price transparency.


The EAX also acts as an electronic warehouse receipt system that collateralises produce and enables smallholder farmers to acquire credit from banks.

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Climate change 'already affecting food supply' [UN]

Climate change 'already affecting food supply' [UN] | Food & Nutrition Security in East Africa |


Climate change has already cut into the global food supply and is fuelling wars and natural disasters, but governments are unprepared to protect those most at risk, according to a report from the UN's climate science panel.


The report is the first update in seven years from the UN's international panel of experts, which is charged with producing the definitive account of climate change.


In that time, climate change has ceased to be a distant threat and made an impact much closer to home, the report's authors say. "It's about people now," said Virginia Burkett, the chief scientist for global change at the US geological survey and one of the report's authors. "It's more relevant to the man on the street. It's more relevant to communities because the impacts are directly affecting people – not just butterflies and sea ice."


The scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found evidence of climate change far beyond thawing Arctic permafrost and crumbling coral reefs – "on all continents and across the  oceans".

But it was the finding that climate change could threaten global food security that caught the attention of government officials from 115 countries who reviewed the report. "All aspects of food security are potentially affected by climate change," the report said...

..."The main way that most people will experience climate change is through the impact on food: the food they eat, the price they pay for it, and the availability and choice that they have," said Tim Gore, head of food policy and climate change for Oxfam...

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Meet Ertharin Cousin: the woman who feeds the world | WFP

Meet Ertharin Cousin: the woman who feeds the world | WFP | Food & Nutrition Security in East Africa |


Meet Ertharin Cousin: the woman who feeds the worldShe's friends with the Obamas. She rose from poverty to run the World Food Programme. And she plans to end global hunger in our lifetime...

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Food shortages caused by climate change to leave millions hungry

Food shortages caused by climate change to leave millions hungry | Food & Nutrition Security in East Africa |


Millions of people will go hungry due to climate change cutting food production worldwide by 2 per cent per decade even as the demand for food to supply a growing population is rising by 14 per cent per decade, according to the latest scientific report.


In the second instalment of its Fifth Assessment Report released this morning in Yokohama, Japan, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also warns that “human security will be progressively threatened” by global warming.


The report – which deals with climate risks, vulnerabilities and adaptation – says it will become harder for people to make a living and this will lead to mass migrations from poorer countries of “climate refugees” seeking a better life elsewhere.


The report, which contains 30 chapters, was compiled by 310 authors from 73 countries and draws on a growing volume of scientific research on climate change. Every line of its 29-page summary for policymakers had to be agreed by delegates in Yokohama...

‘High-risk impacts’

It spells out the likely impacts of different levels of warming in different parts of the world. Adaptation is a key element of the report, with tables showing that what are now classed as “high-risk impacts” could be reduced to low risk, if appropriate steps are taken.


But even with adaptation, it warns that global agricultural productivity could decline in all regions, with developing countries hit the hardest.

A net decline in ocean productivity due to warming and acidification will exacerbate this challenge, it says....even a 2-degree increase in average global surface temperatures would have a negative impact on crop yields...


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Next 3-D printer for small holder African farmers and agricultural development

Next 3-D printer for small holder African farmers and agricultural development | Food & Nutrition Security in East Africa |

A Program for labour saving agricultural technologies for smallholder women farmers


 The overall goal of the farmer participatory 3D4AgDev Program is to link the potential of User-Led Innovation with Rapid Prototyping (via 3D printing) to enable women smallholder farmers in Africa to design and develop their own labour-saving agricultural tools, tailor-made for their culture, soils and cropping systems. The 3D4AgDev Program has been kickstarted by a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Grand Challenges Exploration (GCE) Phase I grant to the Plant & AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) in the National University of Ireland Galway.


The 3D4AgDev Program is a research partnership program between the NUI Galway PABC and Concern Worldwide which aims to operate as an open-innovation research platform to harness advances in rapid prototyping so that improved labour-saving technologies can be more effectively developed for and by women smallholder farmers...


...User-led innovation refers to incorporating the opinions, knowledge, and circumstances of end users into the designs of products that those people will be using. Sounds like common sense, but traditional manufacturing often has difficulty applying special customizations since it focuses on mass production to keep cost effective. The plan is to start in Tanzania; women farmers will be involved in the design of the tools they need and prototypes will be printed. A very few tools could be functional in plastic format, like small shovels and germination equipment. Most of farming is a bit more intensive though, so the prototypes will be taken to local blacksmiths to copy, likely with casting...

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Women: Empowering Africa's agriculture backbone

Despite the role and impact of women in African agriculture, there's still an unsettling disparity in the support they receive compared to men. But what does the future hold for women farmers...


...While women farmers are essentially feeding the continent, they have remained largely in the background, calling little attention to themselves and receiving little help. But this situation is changing as they spearhead efforts to transform Africa's agricultural landscape...


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Online nutrition calculator aims to boost kids' health

Nestlé Kenya, through its MILO® brand, has unveiled a web based nutrition calculator to help foster healthy nutrition among kids at a time when health statistics indicate that obesity rate in both private and public schools may be as high as 50 percent amongst kids between ages 6 to 12.

Dubbed MILO® Nutrition Calculator, the tool is designed for parents of kids between ages 6 to 12 and allows them to track and monitor their nutrition intake in every day’s serving.

The web nutrition calculator enables parents to calculate the nutrition component of their kid’s meals, analyse their activeness, set up a balanced diet and schedule their kid’s sports activities by just a click of the mouse, on their web-enabled phones, tablet or ipad.

The application is currently available as a link on the website  and as a widget on

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SOUTH SUDAN | 430,000 children uprooted | WFP

SOUTH SUDAN | 430,000 children uprooted | WFP | Food & Nutrition Security in East Africa |

...Horrendous violence has turned the lives of millions upside down as their livelihoods have been broken, livestock scattered, households looted and markets destroyed. As a result, the youngest citizens of the world’s newest nation are on the verge of a nutrition crisis – 740,000 children under the age of five are at high risk of food insecurity. Many are already resorting to eating so-called “famine foods” – wild foods such as bulbs and grasses...

...The people of South Sudan strived and struggled for many years to control their own destiny; and yet now they suffer again. Peace remains elusive, yet essential for the children of this nascent republic.

It is within this context that the UN says almost one million people have been uprooted. The grisly numbers go on and on. Until one statistic makes even the hardest heart pause: 430,000 boys and girls have fled their homes, seeking to escape the violence in South Sudan...

...Now, in a race against time, the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Program (WFP) have set up emergency distribution points in previously inaccessible parts of the country.

The new strategy is a complex one. It’s difficult to deliver aid in times of conflict; all the more so in a country that in peacetime was critically short of infrastructure. A few UNICEF and WFP staff were flown to remote areas across South Sudan, myself included, carrying their own water, food and tents. They contend with insecurity, malaria and guinea worm (a parasite found in the water, which grows up to a metre in the body, before burrowing out of the skin, one year later).

Helicopters and cargo planes lead with air drops, in 50 degree (Celsius) temperatures. The food drop zones require four football fields of land to be cleared with matches and machetes; hundreds of tons of supplies that can’t be dropped from the air have had to be unloaded and distributed with no fuel for vehicles on the ground. But it is happening.

“Children and families in South Sudan are facing unprecedented suffering – with grave signs of worsening malnutrition and disease outbreaks,” said UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan, Jonathan Veitch. “With the rainy season looming we have to seize every opportunity to rapidly deploy teams and life-saving supplies to the hardest to reach. This is how we will avert a humanitarian catastrophe.”

Twenty-two such missions are planned over the next month, covering swathes of the country and seeking to support as many as a quarter of a million people. WFP drops food, whilst UNICEF distributes water and sanitation kits to families; delivers ready to use therapeutic foods and medicines, sets up temporary classrooms, and registers and supports separated children...

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African youth don't fancy unglamorous farming

African youth don't fancy unglamorous farming | Food & Nutrition Security in East Africa |

...poor financial returns and unglamorous prospects of Africa's rural economy are spurring young people to leave the fields and migrate to urban centres.

And concern is growing that not enough is being done to engage Africa's largest workforce – its youth – in food production, as they are key to safeguarding food security on the continent, eliminating hunger and accessing global food markets...

...The share of youth in Africa's labour force is the highest in the world, with approximately 35 percent in sub-Saharan Africa and 40 percent in North Africa, compared to 30 percent in India, 25 percent in China and 20 percent in Europe. World Bank projections indicate that 60 percent of the world's labour force growth will be in Africa between 2010 and 2050.

Economic growth on the continent, and the changing dietary trends of Africa's emerging middle class, are also providing attractive and lucrative value chains for young agricultural producers to participate in...

Increased electrification of rural Africa is also expected to help retain the youth population in the countryside and satisfy an aspiration for a modern lifestyle that features telecommunication and Internet connectivity. Currently, less than 10 percent of sub-Saharan Africa's rural households have access to electricity...

...Low investment is causing low productivity and thwarting Africa's agricultural sector, which employs close to 60 percent of Africa's labour force but accounts for only 25 percent of the continent's GDP....a lack of political willpower from African leaders is delaying agricultural expansion on the continent,

...The potential for the lucrative engagement of Africa's youth in agriculture should be within grasp. Africa boasts over 50 percent of the world's fertile and unused land, while foreign investment in African agriculture is expected to exceed 33 billion euros in 2020, according to World Bank statistics.

However, Africa's youth are yet to feel the pull of any new ‘agricultural renaissance’ on the continent.

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IFPRI 2020 | Building resilience for food and nutrition security

IFPRI 2020 | Building resilience for food and nutrition security | Food & Nutrition Security in East Africa |
IFPRI 2020 International Conference | May 15–17, 2014 | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Poor people and communities are being hit by shocks ranging from droughts, floods, and earthquakes to conflict and food price spikes, and these shocks are putting people’s food and nutrition security at risk. This brochure considers a number of issues related to the efforts to improve people’s resilience in ways that enhance their food and nutrition security. It reviews the concept of resilience, looks at shocks we can expect in the future, asks what has worked to improve resilience for food and nutrition security in the past, and identifies key knowledge gaps concerning resilience for food and nutrition security.

The themes addressed in this brochure will be explored in depth at the international conference “Building Resilience for Food and Nutrition Security,” organized by IFPRI and its 2020 Vision Initiative. For more information on the conference and its associated activities and products, go to

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RWANDA | Biofortified beans to fight 'hidden hunger'

RWANDA | Biofortified beans to fight 'hidden hunger' | Food & Nutrition Security in East Africa |

...Every second person in the world dies from malnutrition. In order to fight the so-called hidden hunger — a chronic lack of vitamins and minerals — biofortification aims to increase nutrition and yields simultaneously.

HarvestPlus is part of the CGIAR Consortium research programme on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), which helps realise the potential of agricultural development to deliver gender-equitable health and nutritional benefits to the poor.

The HarvestPlus programme is coordinated by the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture and the International Food Policy Research Institute. It has nine target countries: Nigeria, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Brazil has also begun introducing biofortified crops...

...Rwanda has ventured into a new agricultural era as it boosts its food production and enhances the nutrition level of the crops grown here.

In this Central African nation where 44 percent of the country’s 12 million people suffer from malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency, biofortified foods, like beans, are seen as a solution to reducing “hidden hunger” — a chronic lack of vitamins and minerals.


One in every three Rwandans is anaemic, and this percentage is higher in women and children. An estimated 38 percent of children under five and 17 percent of women suffer from iron deficiency here. This, according to Lister Tiwirai Katsvairo, the HarvestPlus country manager for the biofortification project, is high compared to other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.


Biofortified beans have high nutritional levels and provide up to 45 percent of daily iron needs, which is 14 percent more than commonly-grown bean varieties.


They also have an extra advantage as they have proved to produce high yields, are resistant to viruses, and are heat and drought tolerant.

Now, one third of Rwanda’s 1.9 million households grow and consume nutritious crops thanks to an initiative promoted by HarvestPlus in collaboration with the Rwandan government...

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UN Rome-based agencies reveal food security and nutrition targets for post-2015 agenda | WFP

UN Rome-based agencies reveal food security and nutrition targets for post-2015 agenda | WFP | Food & Nutrition Security in East Africa |


The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) unveiled today the results of their joint work to develop targets and indicators for a new global development paradigm for sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition...


...Representatives from the three agencies stressed the need to finish the job of the MDGs that expire in 2015, but also to broaden their scope to address deeper issues of universal relevance like malnutrition, sustainable and inclusive food systems, and their inter-linkages.


The three agencies identified a list of five targets:

--Access to adequate food all year round for all people.

--End malnutrition in all its forms with special attention to stunting.

--Make all food production systems more productive, sustainable, resilient and efficient.

--Secure access for all small food producers, especially women, to adequate inputs, knowledge, productive resources and services.

--More efficient post-production food systems that reduce the global rate of food loss and waste by 50 percent...


The UN Rome-based agencies emphasized that progress in these areas would have to come through innovative partnerships - among governments, with the private sector, with development institutions, and with all members of society, from producers to consumers. New governance mechanisms would also be needed to monitor impact, ensure accountability, and give different stakeholders a voice in decision-making. Attention was drawn to the important role in global food security of small-scale food producers, who need to be at the centre of new investments and new partnerships for a hunger-free world...


The new targets are in line with the UN Secretary-General’s Zero Hunger Challenge, which envisions a world where, within our lifetime, no-one experiences chronic hunger and malnutrition. The work of the three Rome-based agencies has been consistently inspired by this shared vision...


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Africa still most food insecure continent

Africa still most food insecure continent | Food & Nutrition Security in East Africa |


The Food and Agriculture Organisation  (FAO) has said that Africa remains the world’s most food insecure continent, with relatively low levels of agricultural productivity, low rural incomes, and high rates of malnutrition, despite important economic progress and agricultural successes.


At its  28th Regional Conference for Africa  in Tunis recently, FAO  called  on African ministers of agriculture for action in priority areas to accelerate increased investment and broad-based transformation in support of smallholder farmers, including rural youth and women.

Africa has recorded continuous economic growth since 1999, accompanied by improved governance and human development indicators...


...The Conference advocated for providing the enabling environment to end hunger in the continent by 2025. It primarily focused on sustainably increasing the potential of agriculture, fisheries, livestock and forestry as a source of employment and income for African youth, women and men who engage in these sectors for food and nutrition security as well as agri-business ventures aimed at increasing family incomes.

The status and trends of agriculture, food and nutrition in Africa

Trends in per capita food production have been generally positive over recent decades. On average, agricultural production in Africa has increased slightly less than 1 percent per year, compared with about 2 percent in developing countries...


...By 2012, Africa as a continent had made the least progress in reducing poverty. The 2012 United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Report states that Africa is 41 percent “off” the first MDG poverty target versus 25 percent in South Asia and 6.1 percent in Latin America.


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Hunger-Undernutrition Blog

Hunger-Undernutrition Blog | Food & Nutrition Security in East Africa |

It is a very exciting and important time in food, nutrition and health security. This blog aims to promote an informed dialogue, serve as a resource for those in the field and empower people at all levels to do what they can to make undernutrition and nutrition-related death and disease a thing of the past.


Bloggers come from a variety of diverse organizations and backgrounds, including:


Opportunity International, ActionAid, Bread for the World, Fulbright, ChildFund International, Church World Service, Food Bank NYC, Harvest Plus, Stop Hunger Now, Heifer International, CIMMYT, WhyHunger, Hunger Task Force, DSM Corporate Communications, Iowa National Guard, NASDA, Save the Children, The Mathile Institute for the Advancement of Human Nutrition, Good Shepherd Food Bank, UN Week NY, World Watch Institute, Planet Aid, InterAction, The Flour Fortification Initiative, Helen Keller International, John Snow, Inc., Feeding America, Global Health Action, FutureGenerations, IIMSAM, FINCA, Peace Corps, The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and many more organizations.

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How much worse is a 4 degrees world? - Responding to Climate Change

How much worse is a 4 degrees world? - Responding to Climate Change | Food & Nutrition Security in East Africa |

A world which is four degrees hotter will face much bigger threats than half that warming, in crop damage, species extinctions and vanishing natural systems such as Arctic sea ice and coral reefs, a UN report found on Monday.


The report by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was the second in a three-part series documenting evidence, impacts and steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions.


The IPCC’s summary report described climate risks by region, at 2 and 4 degrees warming above pre-industrial levels...


In Africa, the biggest risk was to crop production, risks described as “very high” with or without adaptation with 4 degrees warming, and “medium” for 2 degrees with adaptation. Adaptations included crop breeding and finance for smallholders to invest in fertilisers or irrigation.


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SOUTH SUDAN | WFP | Food & Nutrition Security in East Africa |

The rainy season in South Sudan prevents aid from moving by road. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) and other aid groups rush to place supplies into position before the rains come. However, the UN reported yesterday, "Lack of funding and pipeline pre-positioning have delayed implementation of some activities, including livelihoods support."...


...The outbreak of fighting between the government and opposition forces last year displaced hundreds of thousands. The UN and other aid groups have been trying to meet emergency needs. WFP, for instance, has been airlifting food to displaced populations in remote areas.


Also, WFP is concerned about 220,000 displaced persons who have fled to neighboring countries. The UN food agency needs funding to prevent malnutrition emerging in this population.


Valerie Guarnieri, WFP Regional Director for East & Central Africa, says, “We are concerned about reports of alarmingly high rates of malnutrition among children arriving at refugee camps in neighbouring countries, particularly Ethiopia. While we are working with partners to provide specialized nutritious foods for refugee children, the high levels of malnutrition are a sign that the humanitarian situation in inaccessible regions of South Sudan may be rapidly deteriorating.”

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RWANDA | Kigali hosts meeting on Getting Nutritious Food to People

RWANDA | Kigali hosts meeting on Getting Nutritious Food to People | Food & Nutrition Security in East Africa |

Over 275 high-level stakeholders representing the government, the business community and civil society will meet in Kigali, Rwanda, for a three-day consultation titled ‘Getting Nutritious Foods to People’, which is hosted by the government of the African nation and commences on March 31, 2014.

Nearly one in three people globally suffers from a lack of essential vitamins and minerals (such as vitamin A, zinc and iron) in the diet. This condition (known as hidden hunger) increases the risk of stunting, anaemia, blindness, infectious diseases and even death. Women and children are especially vulnerable...

...Keynote speakers include M S Swaminathan (father of India’s Green Revolution); Chris Elias, president, Global Development Programme, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Akinwumi Adesina, Nigeria’s minister of agriculture and rural development and Forbes Africa Person of the Year 2013.

Adesina serves on the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, a new expert group that advises on nutrition-enhancing agricultural and food policies and investments. The panel would convene a special session to explore how bio-fortification could help decision-makers in developing nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food policies...

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Sustainable rural development needs a roadmap

Sustainable rural development needs a roadmap | Food & Nutrition Security in East Africa |

As the United Nations' specialised agency for rural development, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) continuously faces the question of how best to "map" rural poverty and measure the impact of our work. To get a clearer picture, IFAD has developed the Multidimensional Poverty Assessment Tool (MPAT).


This tool is designed to help development practitioners understand some of the primary dimensions of rural poverty, which otherwise can be difficult to assess and measure. To do so, it uses a collection of 10 composite indices, each of which aggregates data from diverse indicators.


In more basic terms, MPAT takes a snapshot of rural poverty – at a specific place and point in time – by collecting people's perceptions and opinions about core issues, such as housing, food security and empowerment. The information is then summarised, using the MPAT indices, to produce a picture of the situation in a given household, village or project. This snapshot can then guide MPAT users in determining where to direct additional support...


...By pointing to areas where support is most needed, and by measuring the impact of initiatives undertaken to improve rural lives and livelihoods, MPAT can enhance development interventions. Its crosscutting methodology creates a sort of “rural poverty dashboard” covering food and nutrition security, domestic water supply, health and health care, sanitation and hygiene, housing, clothing and energy, education, farm assets and non-farm assets, exposure and resilience to shocks, and gender and social equality.


MPAT is based on a bottom-up, participatory approach reflecting the voices and perspectives of rural people themselves. The tool uses household and village-level surveys to collect data, averaging and organising the results in a clear, standardised fashion. In the process, it not only measures the various dimensions of rural poverty but also offers insight into its underlying causes....

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