10 Ways To Feed The World

WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran outlines a ten-point strategy for ending hunger at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Copyright: WFP/Jennifer Mizgata.

A week after progress on ending global hunger came under a spotlight at the Millennium Development Goal Summit, WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran reiterated that a world without hunger is within reach and mapped out 10 key strategies for achieving it.

WASHINGTON D.C. – Ending world hunger is an achievable goal within this generation if the right strategies are adopted, WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said on Wednesday as she mapped out 10 ways in which the world can achieve that goal.

“We can end hunger. Many hungry nations have defeated hunger. It doesn’t require some new scientific breakthrough. It’s not rocket science,” Sheeran told journalists at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Find out more

Leaders attending the Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York last week noted that the world is making headway on fighting hunger – the first Millennium Goal -- but not as fast as is needed. The proportion of hungry people in the world has in fact fallen from 20 percent in 1990 to about 16 percent today -- still short of the 10 percent target set for 2015.

Here are the 10 actions and ideas highlighted by Sheeran as critical for feeding the world:

1.Humanitarian action

Food assistance in crisis situations saves lives and is often the first step on the road to recovery. As well as safeguarding nutrition, food can also protect livelihoods and support education. In this way it is an investment in a country’s future.
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2.School meals

If you provide a cup of food to children in school, you provide a nutritional safety net that keeps kids, especially girls, in school so they get an education. This is an affordable approach and it has many positive knock-on effects.
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3. Safety nets

Some 80 percent of the world has no safety net. When there is a disaster, or a financial crisis, or a food crisis, there is no back-up plan. If you can set up a food safety net linked to schools and to local farmers, it means a population will cope much better with any shock. 

4. Connecting small farmers to markets

Farmers will produce more and better quality food if they have markets for it and if they have the tools and know-how to access those markets. Giving smallholder farmers these things will also improve their own lives by increasing their income.
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5. First 1,000 days

We now have irrefutable proof that inadequate nutrition during the first 1,000 days of life – from gestation through 24 months – causes irreversible damage to a child’s mind and body. Nourishing children with the right foods at the right time is an investment in the future. Learn more

6.Empowering women

When women are supported, whether as farmers or as food providers, families eat. Also, studies show that high rates of hunger are strongly linked to gender inequalities. The power of women must be unleashed if we are to feed the world.
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7.Technology revolution

Technology can revolutionize the face of hunger. Today, in Syria, the refugees from Iraq get a voucher on a cell phone to spend in a local store. The storekeepers love it. The farmers love it. It saves money.  There are many more possibilities.
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8.Building resiliency

The world’s poorest and hungriest people are also those that face the greatest risk from disasters.  It is essential to help build the resiliency of vulnerable communities so that when emergencies strike, they are strong enough to cope. Food assistance can help in this. Learn more

9.The power of the individual

There is tremendous power when individuals are activated to get involved. And this power is exponentially increased through the Internet and social media. We need to explore further the power of these new communications tools to build a global community of hunger-fighters. Learn more

10.Showing leadership

According to Sheeran, the single most critical factor in ending hunger is when a leader says, “Not on my watch.” To end world hunger will require leadership of the sort which allowed Brazil to make huge inroads into hunger in recent years. Hunger may be the most fundamental of human problems. But it can be solved. Learn more