Hunger in the news

A daily selection of news reports from the world's media dealing with hunger and responses to it.
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Hunger in the news
14 April 2009

Islamic Bank to Aid Cameroon

The Islamic Development Bank, owned by states including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, will spend 8 billion CFA francs ($16 million) improving cereal production and storage in northern Cameroon, said Gourlemond Gilbert, General Manager of the National Cereal Office. [...] About 41 percent of Cameroon’s 16 million people live below the poverty line of $1 per day, according to the World Food Programme.
Bloomberg
Hunger in the news
14 April 2009

Having Scaled Down Food Aid to Zimbabwe, UN Agency Eyes 2009-2010 Season

Though the United Nations World Food Program has scaled down distributions of food aid to Zimbabweans with the arrival of the annual maize harvest, a spokesman for the agency said it anticipates mounting another large-scale feeding operation in the 1009-2010 season. WFP Southern African Spokesman Richard Lee said a survey to assess food availability will be conducted in June, but added that the harvest now beginning has clearly been diminished by widespread shortages of agricultural inputs such as seed and fertilizer. He told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the WFP meanwhile is continuing to provide rations to about 600,000 particularly vulnerable people, including those battling HIV/AIDS and households headed by minors.
Voice of America News
Hunger in the news
14 April 2009

Salt of this earth

[...] Iraq’s agriculture sector – which currently employs about 40 per cent of working Iraqis with jobs – is in serious trouble. Droughts have rendered much formerly lush land salty and useless. Wheat production has dropped by over 50 per cent. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the country is losing five per cent of its farmable land each year, and 2008 was the first year in modern Iraqi history that the country was a net food importer. Oxfam and the World Food Program have noted nationwide malnutrition problems.
Reuters AlertNet / IRIN
14 April 2009

Somalian Pirates of the Gulf

[...] The political and economic situation in Somalia is anything but stable. Since 1991 a civil war has been raging as different warlord factions attempt to take control of the country. What’s more, a number of states within Somalia have self-declared themselves as autonomous, yet not independent. [...] It is no wonder, then, that as many as 1,000 men now run in pirate gangs along the coast. Somalia is situated on the Horn of Africa, making it a prime area to attack passing ships. At first the intent was to deter fishing boats from poaching in Somali waters, but as time progressed it became its own lucrative business. It does, however, threaten the stream of humanitarian aid into the region, with as much as 90% of the World Food Programme’s deliveries are moved via ship, which now require a costly military escort. This rise in cost of transporting the food means that there is less to spend on the food itself.
Politonomist
Hunger in the news
14 April 2009

Why the Somali pirates are winning

[...] Piracy is apparently Somalia's biggest industry – and individual pirates are among the troubled country's wealthiest men. [...] It's hard to quantify pirates' effect on the regional and global economies, but anecdotal evidence abounds. [...] In December, Khalid Shapi, director of a tourism firm in Mombasa, in southern Kenya, warned that cruise ships were beginning to avoid East Africa owing to piracy, rendering jobless thousands of Kenyan tourism workers. Jemma Lembere, a logistics manager for the UN World Food Programme in Mombasa, said that ship owners have been reluctant to take on UN contracts hauling the food aid that feeds half of Somalia's 8 million people. Only with the $10m deployment of a European Union naval force, in December, were ship's crews willing to make the dangerous aid run into Mogadishu.
The Guardian
Hunger in the news
14 April 2009

Win-win situation for farmers, aid group

"Now that I have a secure buyer, I will grow a lot more beans," says one farmer who is benefiting from the World Food Programme's innovative Purchase for Progress (P4P) program. Alfredo Muarapaz did not expect the windfall he received a few months ago. But he made good use of it. "I used the money to buy school things for my children, dishes and clothes for my family and even some tools to improve my house," said Muarapaz, a poor, semi-subsistence farmer, who pocketed around $50 (all figures U.S.) from the sale of his small chickpea surplus to the World Food Programme (WFP). It may not sound like much, but Muarapaz lives in Mozambique – a country where over a third of the population survives on less than one dollar per day. And it is certainly enough of an incentive for him to grow a larger surplus next year. "I will plant two hectares and hope to grow 800 kilograms of beans," said Muarapaz, who sold just 150 kilograms this year. "I have not grown many beans until now because I didn't have a buyer, but now that there is a secure buyer, I will produce a lot more." This optimistic production plan is exactly the response that WFP is hoping to foster among smallholder farmers with Purchase for Progress. By providing a reliable market for smallholder farmers, local cooperatives and small traders, WFP is hoping to put more money into the pockets of poorer farmers and to provide them with a powerful incentive to invest and increase production. The idea is that with more produce to sell and more experience as market players, the farmers will connect to other clients besides WFP.
Toronto Star Online
Hunger in the news
13 April 2009

Snipers kill three Somali pirates in captain rescue

US Navy snipers have dramatically ended a high-seas standoff with Somali pirates, rescuing a US captain held hostage on a lifeboat for five days, killing three of his four captors. [...] Phillips had been held aboard the lifeboat since the pirates attacked his cargo ship, the US-flagged Maersk Alabama, on Wednesday. The unarmed American crew managed to regain control of the ship, but the pirates captured Phillips and bundled him into the lifeboat as they escaped. The 20-crew ship had been bound for Mombasa, Kenya, carrying provisions for the UN World Food Program, including 4097 tonnes of soya and maize and 990 tonnes of cooking oil for vulnerable populations in Somalia, Uganda and Kenya. It docked safely in the port Saturday and its crew remain onboard while the FBI investigates Wednesday's attack.
The Australian / AFP
Hunger in the news
13 April 2009

The scourge of hunger

An emerging superpower, India paradoxically tops the global hunger chart with 230 million undernourished people comprising more than 27 per cent of the world’s undernourished population. Indicating that food insecurity is a reality in India a new report, State of Food Insecurity in Rural India, jointly released by the UN World Food Programme and MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, reveals that while every third adult (aged 15 to 49 years) has a low BMI at less than 18.5, as many as 43 per cent children aged below five are underweight. India fares no better vis-à-vis its emerging peers on the food security front as the vast majority of the world’s undernourished people — 907 million — live in developing countries, according to the 2007 data reported by the State of Food Insecurity in the World. Of these, 65 per cent live in seven countries: India, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Ethiopia. On a comparative note, some countries in South-East Asia, like Thailand and Vietnam, have made good progress towards achieving the World Food Security target; others in South Asia and Central Asia have suffered setbacks in hunger reduction.
The Pioneer
Hunger in the news
12 April 2009

Darfur rebels make their stand above the fray

[...] Most of western Sudan is flat, dry and almost bare of plant life. Here suddenly are pastures, streams, even forests. Past mango and orange groves lie dozens of small, quiet villages where people go about ordinary, self-sufficient lives in what some call the Switzerland of Sudan. They live in scattered huts with plenty of land. They grow crops on terraced plots carved into the mountain. The World Food Program says the region hasn't needed regular aid distributions since 2006. The people here have rejected overcrowded displacement camps, dependence on foreign aid and the daily threat of banditry and government harassment in favor of a somewhat normal, if isolated and fragile, existence behind "enemy" lines. It's a reminder of what Darfur must have been like before the 6-year-old insurgency engulfed it.
Los Angeles Times
Hunger in the news
12 April 2009

Uganda: WFP to Spend $100 Million More in Karamoja

The World Food Programme is to spend an additional $100m to feed the [Uganda] Karimojong over the next nine months. The country director, Stanlake Samkange, while meeting Moroto district local government officials at the district chamber hall on Tuesday said: "We decided to increase the food ratio by 20% so that the people can have enough food as they prepare their gardens." He said each resident would be given nine kilogrammes of maize and three kilogrammes of other items. "Let us work as a team to solve the interests of the people," he said
All Africa / New Vision

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