Thought-provoking articles that deal with hunger and the issues involved in meeting the hunger challenge.
The most exciting new idea for tackling poverty and feeding billions around the world has got nothing to do with hydroelectric dams or back-slapping summitry. Instead, this one begins with a story about kung-fu movies. In the mid-90s, Claire Melamed was working in a village in the far north of Mozambique. Nacuca had no electricity, nor running water, and precious few distractions. As the development economist recalls: "Villagers would ask, 'We have to live here, but how come you've chosen to stay?" Then one day visitors came, bearing entertainment.
The challenge before us was laid out in all its daunting intensity: Current levels of food production in the world will have to double by the year 2050 if we are to feed a growing population and a population that is growing more prosperous – along with eliminating the hunger that already plagues one billion people. We will have to do that with tight land and water constraints. With little land available for agriculture expansion without destroying the environment, yields of existing fields will necessarily need to double.
The number of people suffering from hunger has now topped 1 billion globally -- the highest since 1970, according to the United Nations. U.S. foreign-aid director Rajiv Shah, 37, recently presented the Obama administration's strategy to tackle the food crisis. "Feed the Future" will focus on improving the agricultural systems of at least 20 countries. It's part of an international effort that could benefit 40 million poor people over a decade, officials say.
For anyone who doesn’t “get” the moral and economic imperative of ending hunger through agriculture development, here’s another motivating imperative: security, both domestic and global.
The phrase “food security” and the mission of helping countries feed themselves are mentioned multiple times in the recently released National Security Strategy of the Obama administration. Its Feed the Future initiative is a key weapon in the deployment of American “soft power” around the world. And “development experts who can strengthen governance and support human dignity” are included with soldiers, diplomats, law enforcement officers and intelligence gatherers as defenders of the nation’s security.
Lynet Nalugo dug a cassava tuber out of her field and sliced it open. Inside its tan skin, the white flesh was riddled with necrotic brown lumps, as obviously diseased as any tuberculosis lung or cancerous breast. “Even the pigs refuse this,” she said. The plant was what she called a “2961,” meaning it was Variant No. 2961, the only local strain bred to resist cassava mosaic virus, a disease that caused a major African famine in the 1920s.