Hunger in the news

30 July 2009

The Obama administration’s decision to stop eradicating drug crops in Afghanistan and increase funding for agricultural development is the “most well-received change of American policy” in the region, a U.S. special envoy said. (..) In a separate roundtable yesterday, Josette Sheeran, executive director of the Rome-based UN World Food Program, said improved distribution techniques in Afghanistan have helped spur demand for wheat to the point where it’s becoming competitive with the price of poppies.

14 July 2009

Armoured vehicles, armed escorts, blast-resistant walls and other security measures have made humanitarian work in Afghanistan more expensive and risky than ever before, say analysts. (..) “Due to insecurity in some regions of the country, WFP [the UN World Food Programme] has had to take extra measures to ensure the safety of its staff, as well as the safe delivery of its food, and these have related costs,” Susannah Nicol, WFP’s information officer in Kabul, told IRIN.

12 July 2009

Annual funding for the McGovern-Dole initiative that funds school lunch programs overseas is roughly $100 million. Just as a comparison, the Carnegie Endowment estimates the U.S. spent $52 billion last year on nuclear weapons programs. In Iraq the UN World Food Programme recently announced a school lunch program in eight districts. Will the international community provide the funding, not to mention expand it to reach more children? In Afghanistan how can we expect a stable and peaceful democracy to survive if children are malnourished and cannot attend school?

23 June 2009

Three staff members of a UNHCR partner organization, the Development and Humanitarian Services for Afghanistan (DHSA), were killed in northern Afghanistan's Jowzjan province on Tuesday when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device. (..) In the first incident, which took place Monday afternoon on the road from Lagham to Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, vehicles carrying three UNHCR staff and one employee of the World Food Programme were overtaking a military convoy when one of the military vehicles exploded.

11 June 2009

An expected bumper wheat harvest should reduce widespread food insecurity and bring down food prices in Afghanistan, according to officials.
Over eight million people across the country are believed to be food insecure and in need of food assistance.
“We are optimistic this year’s grain production will reduce food insecurity considerably,” Saaduddin Safi, a food security expert in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), told IRIN.

4 June 2009

Russia plans to deliver Kamaz trucks and Mi-8 helicopters this summer as part of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, a Russian Emergency Situations Ministry official said on Wednesday. "In July-August we plan to dispatch to Afghanistan 50 Kamaz trucks which will be used to deliver humanitarian aid to the country," said Yury Brazhnikov, who heads the ministry's international cooperation department. The ministry will also send two Mi-8 helicopters fitted out with medical equipment, the official said. Among other humanitarian aid, Afghanistan is also to receive 7,500 tons of flour. Russia delivered some 18,000 tons of flour to the country in January-April. The flour is being delivered within the framework of UN World Food Program aid commitments.

3 June 2009

Afghanistan is projected this year to collect its biggest wheat harvest in 32 years, taking the impoverished country to near self-sufficiency in the staple crop, the agriculture minister said Tuesday. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) expects a bumper harvest that is 63 percent higher than that of last year, mainly because of good rains, Agriculture Minister Asif Rahimi told reporters.

25 May 2009

- United Nations officials in Afghanistan are attempting to create a "flood of drugs" in the country intended to destroy the value of opium and force poppy farmers to switch to legal crops such as wheat. (..) Costa said his request that the World Food Programme buy only Afghan wheat had been rejected by "free market ayatollahs who think political stability is less important than free market principles".

21 May 2009

Wheat prices in Afghanistan in April were 65 percent higher than international prices, 56 percent higher than in India and 18 percent higher than in neighbouring Pakistan, according to a WFP survey.

19 May 2009

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has assisted more than one million six hundred thousand people across the country with nearly 19,000 tons of food in the month of April alone. More than 500,000 Afghans received nearly 9,000 tons of food through WFP's food for work projects. These include irrigation of canals, ponds, water channels and feeder roads.