KPLU 88.5’s “Humanosphere” blog reports on the World Food Prize symposium and Borlaug Dialogue taking place in Iowa this week, where “about 1,000 people, including many former heads of state and top agricultural policy folk, are gathered together to talk about â€¦ how to feed the planet’s growing population.” The blog examines the debate around a “new proposed Green Revolution for Africa,” led by “the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), which was launched largely thanks to support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” and provides links to recent media coverage related to global food security and hunger (Paulson, 10/12).
Environment and Climate Change
DRC Worst Off Among 26 Countries Facing 'Alarming' Or 'Extremely Alarming' Hunger Levels, According To New Global Hunger Index
“Twenty-six countries have ‘alarming’ or ‘extremely alarming’ hunger levels, with the situation deteriorating particularly badly in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to this year’s Global Hunger Index,” AlertNet reports. The report (.pdf) was released by the International Food Policy Research Institute, Welthungerhilfe, and Concern Worldwide and “focuses on the impact of rising food prices on the world’s poorest people,” the news service writes. “DRC â€¦ has the highest proportion of undernourished people — about 70 percent of the population — and one of the highest child mortality rates,” AlertNet notes, adding that “the report does not reflect this year’s famine in the Horn of Africa, because of time lags in obtaining data” (Batha, 10/11).
The Guardian published a gallery of photographs taken in North Korea by Damir Sagolj, after “[a] harsh winter and widespread flooding have exacerbated the food shortage in [the country], leaving millions of people on a knife edge.” Sagolj traveled to North Korea with a group of journalists invited by the government “to see at firsthand how the situation has hit the country’s farm belt” in an effort to “highlight the humanitarian crisis” (10/11).
In this Guardian opinion piece, Lisa Shannon, founder of A Thousand Sisters, Run for Congo Women, and co-founder of Sister Somalia, examines how, in the context of famine, sexual violence in the Horn of Africa, and particularly in Somalia, “is being de-prioritized as primarily a psychosocial issue,” and asserts that grassroots international organizations offer a solution “outside the traditional big-aid model.”
“Food crises are jeopardizing efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by 2015, United Nations (U.N.) food experts warned” on Monday, according to the Guardian. “In an annual report on world hunger, U.N. food agencies said food price volatility is likely to continue and possibly increase, making poor farmers, consumers and countries more vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity,” the news service writes.
FAO Report Warns Increases In Cereal Production May Not Be Enough To Offset Global Economic Downturn
Worldwide cereal production is expected to increase in 2011-2012, but “there is uncertainty about the improvement’s impact on food security because of the global economic slump and increased risks for recession,” according to a U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report released on Thursday, the Associated Press/Washington Post reports.
“Footage of malnourished North Korean orphans and official warnings over failed harvests have given a rare glimpse at the scale of devastating food shortages in the country following a harsh winter and widespread flooding,” the Guardian reports. “The World Food Programme (WFP) … estimated in March that a quarter of the country’s 24 million inhabitants needed food aid and that a third of children were chronically malnourished” and “has warned it has only 30 percent of the funding it needs for its relief operation, which targets 3.5 million of North Korea’s most vulnerable citizens,” the newspaper writes.
During a visit to Ethiopia’s capital on Tuesday, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah announced new grant programs to help the nation address food insecurity, the Associated Press reports. Shah said the U.S. will provide $110 million to a food security program that will benefit 1.5 million people, $10 million for a nutrition program and $1.2 million for loans to farmers, the news agency notes (10/4).
“The U.N. on Wednesday said food assistance has reached nearly half the Somalis in need, [and] it warned cases of diarrhea and cholera could spike with the seasonal rains expected in October,” the Associated Press reports (9/28). “However, the report released Tuesday by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that four million Somalis remain in crisis nationwide, and that 750,000 people risk death in the Horn of Africa nation within the next four months,” according to VOA News.
U.N. agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), are warning that South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, “will face chronic food shortages next year due to internal and border insecurity, erratic rains and a huge influx of returnees from the North,” IRIN reports. “U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Lise Grande said more than three million people (36 percent of the population) in South Sudan were classed as moderately or severely food insecure in 2011, and the burden was increasing,” IRIN writes (9/27).