You may have noticed that WFP has been using the phrase “Zero Hunger” a lot recently. That’s because WFP is part of the Secretary-General’s Zero Hunger Challenge to eliminate hunger in our lifetime.
Reaching “Zero Hunger” as outlined in the Zero Hunger Challenge focuses on five key goals: eliminating stunting in children under two; assuring adequate access to food for all; establishing sustainable food systems; increasing farmer productivity and income; and eliminating food waste.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the ways WFP is working towards each goal.
Zero Stunted Children
Preventing stunting in children is a priority for WFP because it has irreversible lifelong implications. Stunting, a condition caused by malnutrition, occurs when a child is of an abnormally small size for their age. Research has shown that good nutrition early in life is essential to physical and mental growth and development. WFP distributes several special nutrition products, like Plumpy Sup and Super Cereal Plus, to fight malnutrition in young children and help them to grow up strong and healthy. Learn more about how WFP is combating malnutrition here.
Adequate Access All Year
Much of WFP’s work is focused on improving access to food all over the world. Depending on the situation, this can mean direct distributions or work on projects to improve the mechanisms for access. Each situation is unique.
One example of WFP’s work providing access to food is with school meals programmes. WFP provides daily school meals to about 22 million children in the developing world, often in hard to reach and food-insecure areas. Take-home rations, like rice or cooking oil, also are often provided for students to bring to their families. These rations both improve access to food for entire families and encourage these families to continue sending their children to school.
Another way WFP improves access is with Food for Assets programmes. In these programmes, WFP provides food in exchange for work on a project in the community. By facilitating these projects, Food for Assets eliminates access barriers, like poor roads or water supply. In this programme in Mali, for example, local farmers helped construct a dam to control and conserve the water supply from the rainy season. With the ability to retain the water, the farmers can now diversify their crops and improve production overall.
Sustainable Food Systems
WFP’s work also focuses on creating stable and healthy food systems. Climate change, for example, can seriously threaten the resilience of a food system or the food security for a population. By helping governments and communities establish practices to manage climate-related risks, WFP is contributing to a more sustainable food system. Last year, WFP assisted millions of people in 56 countries in improving their resilience to climate-risks, primarily through food and cash-based programmes. These programmes help the communities invest in infrastructure, agriculture and other areas that help them better manage risks. Read more about WFP’s work addressing climate change here.
Greater Productivity and Income for Farmers
The primary focus of WFP’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) programme is to increase farmer productivity and income. By connecting farmers to markets, WFP is helping them boost sales and providing them with greater incentives to invest in their products. Farmers are trained by WFP and partners on agricultural techniques and business practices. WFP also becomes a reliable buyer for many.
A P4P project in West Africa is training farmers on cowpea, or black-eyed pea, production. This nutritious crop, often grown by women farmers, is prone to infestation without proper preservation, so high yields can be difficult. WFP, along with partners, is helping to overcome the potential production issues by supporting the farmers with trainings, improved agricultural inputs and with tools specifically used for the crop, including storage mechanisms to improve preservation. The project has been very successful. In Burkina Faso, for example, WFP is purchasing 920 metric tons of the crop, and some farmer organizations have sold the cowpeas in other markets.
Zero Food Waste
About one-third of all food produced for human consumption, 1.3 billion metric tons, is lost or wasted each year. That’s enough food to feed two billion hungry people. In December 2013, WFP joined with the UN’s other food agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, to target food losses. With funding from the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, the project focuses on reducing the loss of grains and pulses, which are staple foods in many developing countries. This project will assess losses in three pilot countries and identify solutions to things like harvesting issues and moisture control. Read more about this project here.
There are 842 million hungry people around the world, but there’s enough food to feed every man, woman and child. By implementing these programmes, WFP is working towards “Zero Hunger” by eliminating issues that stand between food and the people who need it.
Check out this video for more on how WFP is working each day to get to “Zero Hunger.”