“Arab countries need to invest some $144 billion in agriculture over the next 20 years to meet the food demands of the growing population, an Arab agricultural organization has said,” the Media Line/All Headline News reports in a piece that examines the contributing factors to gaps in food security in the region.
Environment and Climate Change
Country and donor under-investment in agriculture has hindered food security across Africa, Jacques Diouf, director-general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said on Thursday at the group’s 26th Regional Conference for Africa in Luanda, Angola, Reuters reports.
Opinions: Sanitation And Women, Child Health; GM In Global Food Security Bill; U.S. Malaria Strategy; GHI On NTDs; Haiti Recovery
Chronicle Herald Opinion Examines Connection Between Water, Sanitation And Women, Child Health “If Stephen Harper is serious about maternal health and child health [as suggested by his plans for the upcoming G8 and G20 summits], he needs to recognize that healthy mothers come from healthy communities,” Maude Barlow and Meera…
Also In Global Health News: HIV Prevention In Iran; Water Pricing; Malaria Control Challenges; Drought In Niger; MBAs
AP Examines Iran’s Efforts To CurbÂ Spread Of HIV/AIDS Among Drug Users The Associated Press reports that health experts participating at this week’s International Harm Reduction Association conference in Liverpool are looking to Iran’s methadone clinics and needle exchange programs as a possible model for other countries looking to stop HIV/AIDS…
Opinions: New U.S.-Backed Global Food, Agriculture Program; Foreign Aid To Africa; Medicines In Africa
Geithner, Gates Announce New Global Agriculture And Food Security Program In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner and Bill Gates,Â co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announce the launch of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, a fund “to help the…
A food crisis is developing across the Sahel region â€“ from Mauritania and Guinea to Nigeria and Sudan â€“ where “[m]illions” of people are facing hunger and malnutrition, aid groups say, afrol News reports.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced Tuesday that it plans to increase aid to Niger and Mali, “where several million people are suffering from serious food shortages triggered by drought,” SAPA/News24 reports. “The ICRC’s additional 23 million Swiss franc ($22m) programme nearly triples the Geneva-based agency’s existing 13 million franc relief aid earmarked for the two poverty-stricken countries this year,” according to the news service.
The aid will target 100,000 people in northern Mali and northwestern Niger “where food shortages are aggravated by sporadic communal violence, [ICRC] spokesperson Marcal Izard said” (4/6).
“The ICRC will distribute food rations over the next eight months, monthly food rations for about 85,000 people,” Izard said, VOA News reports. “Plus it will distribute seeds and tools and will also help with training for around 40,000 farmers,” he added. “Government statistics indicate more than 250,000 people in northern Mali are short of food. And, in Niger, the government estimates more than half of the entire country’s population, or eight million people, is suffering from moderate to severe food insecurity,” the news service writes (Schlein, 4/6).
Nicolai Panke, head of ICRC operations in Mali and Niger, said that rainfall last year was “irregular and approximately 70 percent below the annual average.” He said, “Because of the weather conditions and the difficulty of moving about amid the violence, the harvest was poor and people have been running out of food while cattle don’t have enough pasture.”
ICRC plans to provide food and farming supplies to address the situation. It will also buy “cattle at pre-crisis prices from 45,000 nomadic herders to cut down herds and distribute meat locally,” SAPA/News24 writes (4/6).
Meanwhile, Niger’s military government said that children have not been attending schools in the country’s southern Zinger region because families have had to go closer to the capital and search for food, VOA News reports in another story.
“Zinder is one of the areas hardest hit by poor rains in a country where more than half the families are food insecure,” writes the news service. “We have children in a bad situation living in bad conditions and lacking everything, meaning health care and food and attention and now education,” according to Anne Boher, who works for UNICEF in Niger. “Food insecurity at the moment is affecting one person out of two here in Niger. Twenty percent of the population are children under five, so you can imagine the impact on children.”
At least 200,000 children in Niger have severe acute malnutrition, which requires hospital treatment, according to UNICEF. “The government says more than 45,000 cases were recorded by the middle of last month. That is double last year’s figure.” Boher said, “The impact on children will be terrifying if we can not provide to these people the adequate food, but also treatment and health care” (Stearns, 4/6).
In light of the “first-ever summit of Mekong nations,” where participating countries hailed “China’s move to share data on reservoir levels,” Bloomberg/BusinessWeek examines the “severe drought” affecting more than 60 million people in countries along Asia’s Mekong river.
Nature News examines potential funding reforms for the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR), which are under discussion at a the Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD) in Montpellier, France. The CGIAR “supports thousands of scientists working on agriculture and food security in developing countries,” according to Nature News.
Also In Global Health News: Bird Flu; Burundi’s Global Fund Grant; Maternal Mortality In Ghana; Food Security In Africa; Messaging Strategy Of Charities
WHO Warns Bird Flu Continues To Pose Threat Despite a reduction in the number of cases of avian flu (H5N1) since its peak in 2006, the WHO said in a statement Wednesday that “the newly confirmed human and poultry cases of avian influenza this year are a reminder that the…