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4 September 2009

Population growth, adherence to land distribution customs, and a small country are combining to make Swaziland a crowded place, rapidly running out of room to achieve food security.
The population has doubled to more than one million since independence from Britain in 1968, but according to custom each Swazi son is given a portion of land on the family farm, located on communal Swazi Nation Land administered by traditional chiefs, to build a home, cultivate maize and graze cattle.


28 August 2009

Two HIV positive primary school pupils from Hlane in the Lubombo region have regained hope of successfully continuing with their studies because of the food support they receive at their school.
The two pupils, *Jabulisile Nsoko and Mantfombi Vilane, who are in Grade Six and Seven, respectively, at a local school seem to have all odds stacked against them. They live in an area that experiences recurrent drought having received poor and erratic rainfall for over seven years now. The Lubombo region is also one of two regions that have the highest HIV prevalence rate among pregnant women receiving antenatal care.


18 August 2009

Observers are divided on the merits of cash crops in favour of subsistence food production, which are challenging long-held views about food security. "It is simplistic to say that cultivating export crops robs starving people of food here at home. In fact, that's wrong," Amos Ndwandwe, an agricultural extension officer in the eastern Lubombo region, told IRIN. This has been Swaziland's main cane-growing area for generations. Tammy Dlamini, a programme officer at the UN World Food Programme (WFP), which in recent years has provided food assistance to more than 60 percent of the country's roughly one million people, agreed. "For us, food security is not just production; our position is that people are going hungry - not because there isn't food production, but because they don't have enough money to purchase food."


23 July 2009

A Food-for-Work programme, which cleverly aims to combat both environmental degradation and food shortages, has come to a halt due to lack of long-term planning. (..) The project was initiated by the Swazi Department of Land Development in collaboration with the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP), which supplies the food aid, and non-governmental organisation (NGO) Conserve Swaziland, which provides environmental expertise. In addition, international NGO WorldVision is providing technical skills.


29 April 2009

The cook at Kambhoke, which gets support from the World Food Programme, is the grandmother of some of the pupils. The school meals are cooked fresh on the premises.


2 February 2009

Goods rain, after years of drought, promises a better harvest for Swaziland in the next few months, but right now urban Swazis are struggling with soaring food prices in the shops. "It's one step forward, but one step backward," said Amy Dlamini, a food aid worker at a briefing of humanitarian officials last week by the Swaziland Vulnerability Assessment Committee. [...] The price of the staple starch, maize-meal, rose 25 percent from the end of 2007 to the end of 2008, enough to push the borderline vulnerable into making hard choices. "They usually opt to do without a meal," said Abdoulaye Balde, country representative for the World Food Programme (WFP). "Families that used to have two meals a day are having one." WFP and the UN Children's Agency, UNICEF, have announced shifts in aid distribution to target not just vulnerable children, who for several years have been fed at schools and neighbourhood care points, but also their families: in the past they had not always qualified for food relief.