Olivier De Schutter, the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food, writes in a Guardian opinion piece, “In order to support investment in agriculture, governments have … come to rely on private sector investment and development aid — and increasingly a partnership of the two,” and he notes “[t]he New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, proposed by [U.S. President] Barack Obama and the U.S. Agency for International Development and launched in May 2012, will draw more than $3 billion of private sector investment into food security plans in Africa.” He continues, “One potential danger of development aid, and particularly of private-led projects, is that the goals of poverty reduction and rural development can be relegated below the goal of raising food production.”
Food Security and Nutrition
IRIN summarizes a discussion among “[a]griculturalists, scientists, businessmen, lobbyists, and policymakers convened in London’s Chatham House this week to debate how to feed the planet’s growing population without degrading the earth’s resources — if such a thing is even possible.” According to the news service, “Some attendees argued that current levels of food production — if better managed — could accommodate everyone,” some said “people could just eat less meat,” and others “want to tackle the problem through the application of science — for example, by breeding livestock that are more efficient at converting resources into meat or dairy.” IRIN writes, “The overall message was that … it will take a mix of ideas — some traditional, some futuristic, some large-scale, some small-scale — as well as research, the dissemination of knowledge, and the development of the supply chains and financing institutions to allow all farmers to run their businesses as profitably and productively as possible” (12/12).
“Each year, the United States spends more than $1.5 billion feeding starving people overseas,” columnist Farah Stockman writes in a Boston Globe opinion piece. “But our charity comes with a catch: The food has to be bought in America, and much of it must be shipped on American ships,” she continues, adding, “Researchers estimate that buying food closer to where needy people are costs about half as much.” She continues, “We are the last donor country in the world to have these rules,” and writes, “At a time of budget cuts, you would think that one thing Republicans and Democrats could agree on would be making sure every tax dollar stretches as far as it can.” Stockman asks, “Why don’t we just change it?”
“Top United Nations officials [on Monday] called on the Security Council and the wider international community to support efforts to develop an integrated strategy to tackle the complex and multifaceted crisis facing the Sahel region of West Africa,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “‘The warning lights for the Sahel region continue to flash,’ Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Council, as it met to discuss the situation in a region that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, and includes Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and parts of Sudan, Cameroon and Nigeria,” the news service writes. “In addition to political instability in Mali, the region — particularly in its west — suffers from extreme poverty, with human development levels among the lowest in the world, porous borders that present significant security challenges, as well as human rights problems,” according to the news service.
“Excessive corruption, poor infrastructure and scarce government resources were deterring investment in agriculture and contributing to high levels of malnourishment around the world,” Xinhua writes, noting the release on Thursday of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) annual report. “A new investment strategy is needed that puts agricultural producers at its center,” FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva said, Xinhua notes. According to the report, farmers in low- and middle-income countries invest more than $170 billion annually in their farms, which is “three times as much as all other sources of investment combined, four times more than contributions by the public sector, and over 50 times more than official development assistance to these countries,” Xinhua reports (12/7).
Also In Global Health News: Malaria Vaccine; Brazil’s Progress Toward MDGs; Malnutrition In Guatemala; Treatments For Kala-Azar
PATH, Merck, NYU To Work Together On Development Of Vaccine To Keep Malaria Parasite From Entering Liver The PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), pharmaceutical company Merck and New York University’s Langone Medical Center on Tuesday announced they were collaborating “to develop a vaccine capable of preventing the malaria parasite from…
The 26th Annual Meeting of the Food Crisis Prevention Network , “which serves as the platform for deliberation on food production and food security in Africa,” opened on Tuesday in Accra, Ghana, the Ghana News Agency reports. The three-day forum will examine “the agricultural and food situation for the 2010/2011 cropping season and come out with measures on tackling food crises,” according to the news service. Food security officials from the Sahel and West Africa are attending the forum, in addition to representatives from international groups, including the Economic Community Of West African States, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, Oxfam, UNICEF and the World Food Program.
The World Program Program (WFP), with the support of UNAIDS, is planning to launch “a new policy to make food and nutritional support more available to people living with HIV,” VOA News reports. The agency “says the aim of [the] program is to help patients stick to their treatment, while protecting their households from further vulnerability,” the news service adds.
Also In Global Health News: Cholera In Haiti; Food In Ghana; Health Care Access In Afghanistan; Violence Against Women In Somalia; Male Circumcision Study
CDC Report Documents Cholera’s Spread In Haiti Haiti’s cholera outbreak has spread across the country and infected more than 91,000 people, while more than 2,000 people have died as a result, the CDC said in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which was published on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times…
The New York Times examines the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges in Global Health program, which gave a total of $450 million to 43 research projects over five years. “On drawing attention to ways that lives might be saved through scientific advances, I’d give us an A,” Bill Gates, co-founder of the foundation, said of the program in an interview with the newspaper. “But I thought some would be saving lives by now, and it’ll be more like in 10 years from now,” Gates said.