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).
Food Security and Nutrition
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).
India’s Hindustan Times reports on “a striking contrast between rising economic prosperity and stagnating rates of malnutrition” in Mumbai, where “80,000 children … are malnourished, according to government data, a statistic that makes Mumbai the most malnourished city in India.” The newspaper writes, “Malnourishment in Mumbai could actually be worse than India believes,” because estimates are based “on data provided by Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), a government child-care program that reaches only a quarter of children in the city’s slums.”
“The U.N. World Food Programme [WFP] said Wednesday that more Yemenis were going hungry because of rising food prices and severe fuel shortages brought about by months of political unrest,” Agence France-Presse reports. “The months of violence and instability have pushed the already stressed Yemeni economy to the brink of collapse and forced millions of families further into poverty,” the news service writes, noting that “WFP â€¦ is expanding its services to help feed some 3.5 million of the most vulnerable people in Yemen” (10/12).
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).
CNN/Global Health Frontline News examines how “ready-to-use therapeutic foods” are being used in Haiti to help children with severe malnutrition. U.S. nonprofit organization Meds and Food for Kids makes “Medika Mamba, which means ‘peanut butter medicine’ in Creole. It’s a ready-to-eat paste packed with nutritious ingredients that — over a period of weeks — gives a jolt to the system and puts children back on track,” the news agency writes. The organization partners with local farmers to manufacture the product in Haiti and plans “to produce a new version of its product … which meets the requirements of major agencies such as the World Food Programme and UNICEF” in coming years, according to the news agency (Strieker, 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.”
“Working with a local telecommunications company, the World Food Programme (WFP) has developed a program in the Ivory Coast to facilitate cash transfers that can be used by thousands of Ivorians to buy food despite a climate of political violence,” according to a Foreign Policy Association blog post. WFP provides a monthly sum of money to Ivorian households, “[h]owever, people have had trouble accessing the money because of unrest plaguing [the] Ivory Coast since the contested 2010 presidential election,” the blog states (Lucivero, 10/10). Residents will receive a text message when funds are available, “alerting them to the transaction and allowing them to withdraw money from local cash points,” AlertNet reports (Fominyen, 10/4).
The U.S. has pledged a record $56 million donation from PEPFAR to the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) aimed to “dramatically increase resources for programs in Ethiopia providing vital nutrition assistance to people living with HIV (PLHIV),” according to a WFP press release. With the donation, “WFP will work in Ethiopia’s least developed regions … to improve the nutritional status, treatment success and quality of life of PLHIV,” the press release states (10/11).
“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.