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
19 February 2009

UN envoy in SLanka expresses fears for civilians

The United Nations humanitarian chief John Holmes held talks with leaders in Sri Lanka on Thursday and said he was gravely concerned for thousands of civilians trapped in the island's war zone. Holmes met Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama after the Tamil Tiger rebels suffered a series of defeats that have left their decades-long campaign for an independent Tamil homeland in tatters. [...] The government estimates 42,000 people have sought safety in areas under their control, while about 70,000 civilians remain inside the conflict zone. The UN also launched an appeal on Thursday to raise 155 million dollars to fund aid projects in the regions of Sri Lanka devastated by the fighting.
Agence France Presse (AFP)
Hunger in the news
18 February 2009

In the Wheat Fields of Kenya, a Budding Epidemic

A virulent new version of a deadly fungus is ravaging wheat in Kenya's most fertile fields and spreading beyond Africa to threaten one of the world's principal food crops, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization. Stem rust, a killer that farmers thought they had defeated 50 years ago, surfaced here in 1999, jumped the Red Sea to Yemen in 2006 and turned up in Iran last year. Crop scientists say they are powerless to stop its spread and increasingly frustrated in their efforts to find resistant plants. [...] Coming on the heels of grain scarcity and food riots last year, the budding epidemic exposes the fragility of the food supply in poor countries. It is also a reminder of how vulnerable the ever-growing global population is to the pathogens that inevitably surface somewhere on the planet.
Washington Post
Hunger in the news
18 February 2009

Tamils in US to protest Lanka 'genocide'

Tamils in the US will hold a demonstration in front of the state department and the White House here on Friday protesting against the "genocide" against their community in Sri Lanka. Tamils Against Genocide', a pro-Tamils organisation, will organise a rally and hunger strike to urge US President Barack Obama to bring an end to the "genocide" in northern Sri Lanka, where the Army and LTTE are engaged in a war. [...] Tamil Americans and their friends would descend on Washington to fast in solidarity with Tamils in Sri Lanka, who are experiencing a food crisis according to the World Food Programme, [the group said in a statement].
Times of India
Hunger in the news
18 February 2009

Modern Technology to Improve Farmers' Yields

[…] For more than 25 years, Everest Kambuda a resident of Ruhiira Village, Kabuyanda had never realised bumper harvest from his maize gardens because of lack of information on how to increase crop yield production. But having heeded the advice and adaptation of modern farming methods, things have taken a new twist. […] Kambuda is not alone, very many farmers have taken up maize and bean growing in the sub county. This has increased the yields that call for intervention of strategic marketing so that farmers can benefit from their produce without being cheated by middlemen. [Science project coordinator David Siriri] says: “Arrangements are being made with Uganda Commodities Exchange and World Food Programme to see how the farmers can benefit from good prices."
Daily Monitor
18 February 2009

Arrested Development

USAID has become ineffective because it is underfunded, understaffed, and losing influence. The next president should revive it by either making it autonomous or elevating it to a cabinet-level department.
Foreign Affairs
Hunger in the news
18 February 2009

Green growth is essential to any stimulus

Economic stimulus is the order of the day. This is as it must be, as governments around the world struggle to jump-start the global economy. But even as leaders address the immediate need to stimulate the economy, so too must they act jointly to ensure that the new de facto economic model being developed is sustainable for the planet and our future on it. [...] Last year, food riots and unrest swept more than 30 countries. Ominously, this was even before September’s financial implosion, which sparked the global recession that has driven a further 100m people deeper into poverty. We must act now to prevent further suffering and potential widespread political instability. This means increasing overseas development assistance this year. It means strengthening social safety nets. It means investing in agriculture in developing countries by getting seeds, tools, sustainable agricultural practices and credit to smallholder farmers so they can produce more food and get it to local and regional markets.
Financial Times
Hunger in the news
18 February 2009

No one will die of hunger, says Kibaki

The Government will disburse adequate relief food to districts facing famine to ensure no one starves, President Kibaki has said. Kibaki said by declaring famine a national disaster, the Government had shown its commitment to provide food to those affected. [...] The World Food Programme (WFP) WFP announced it might need to almost triple the number of people it feeds from 1.2 million to 3.2 million. It is estimated that 10 million Kenyans are facing starvation. [...] WFP said it currently feeds 763,000 children at school, and is preparing to increase that number by an additional 850,000 children. "School feeding helps keep children in school during times of crisis because parents know at least they will be fed," WFP added.
The Standard
Hunger in the news
18 February 2009

Rice Growers Seek to Halt Falling Prices

A delegation from Thailand, the world's biggest rice exporter, is asking Vietnam to help it stabilize the tumbling price of rice -- the latest indication of how agricultural markets have changed in the months since riots over food costs gripped parts of the developing world. Industry experts aren't expecting any major price-fixing accords between the two countries, which together control about 45% of global rice exports. A Thai participant in this week's meetings in Vietnam, held with representatives of its rice industry, emphasized that the two countries are speaking only in general terms about how to keep prices from falling from current levels.
Wall street Journal
Dossier: Food out of reach
17 February 2009

U.N. says food production may fall 25 pct by 2050

Up to a quarter of global food production could be lost by 2050 due to the combined impact of climate change, land degradation and loss, water scarcity and species infestation, the United Nations said on Tuesday. The fall-off will strike just as 2 billion more people are added to the world's population, according to the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP), which says cereal yields have stagnated worldwide and fish catches are declining. In a new report, it said a 100-year trend of falling food costs could be at an end and that last year's sharp price rises had driven 110 million people into poverty. Prices may have eased from those peaks in many areas, but experts say volatility -- combined with the impact of the global economic downturn -- has meant little respite for the poor.
Reuters
Hunger in the news
17 February 2009

Business big shot: Peter Bakker, Chief executive, TNT

Peter Bakker, the chief executive of the TNT postal group, issued a bleak forecast for his industry yesterday, warning, effectively, that things may never be the same again. “I do not look at this economic crisis as a temporary blip,” Mr Bakker, 47, said, as he announced a 37 per cent fall in fourth-quarter profits and declined to give an outlook for the year. [...] Mr Bakker joined the group in 1991, when it was called PTT Post, and was promoted to finance director of its parcels unit in 1993. He also served a stint as group finance director before being promoted to the top job in November 2001. He famously rubbed shoulders with Bono, whom he persuaded to address his colleagues in 2004, after striking a deal with the World Food Programme, in which TNT delivered food donations to starving people for free.
The Times (UK)

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