Stories tagged: food crisis

World Food Programme Unable to Satisfy Food Aid Demands

Picture 2The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) has been reducing or even shutting down some of its operations due to a lack of funds from donor countries, according to a recent Financial Times article.

Recent increases in food prices for key commodity crops have exacerbated the increased need for aid and the reduced donor funding as a result of the economic crisis.

The WFP’s Director of Public Policy said:

They [the donors] have primarily urged us to consider the ways in which we will address hunger if faced with fewer funds.  We are in continual discussions with donors about how best to reach assessed needs.

With food prices estimated to continue increasing, the need for a new global agricultural model is clear.  Enabling smallholder farmers to gain access to resources and markets are key principles underpinning such a model.

‘Put Farming First’, Urges IFAD President

KANAYO F.NWANZEKanayo Nwanze, the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), has urged a meeting of African finance ministers to “nourish their agriculture sectors” if they hope to mitigate the impacts of a global economic downturn.

Nwanze said:

Resuming economic growth, resolving the food crisis and tackling the challenge of poverty must necessarily be based on creating a dynamic smallholder agriculture sector.  Investing in smallholder agriculture is the most sustainable safety net for societies.

40 per cent of the labour force in sub-Saharan Africa works in agriculture and tehy produce 30 per cent of the export earnings in the region.  Keeping these farmers afloat is vital for these countries to manage their way through an economic downturn.

To help with this, IFAD is working in several African countries to boost production (and meet the food needs of a growing population) through the supply of quality inputs, like seeds, fertilisers and other tools.

UK Environment Secretary Declares, “We Face a Crisis of Sustainability”

35601Hilary Benn, the UK Environment Secretary, visited the US for meetings with Ban Ki-Moon and US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. According to a DEFRA statement, They discussed the topics of climate change adaptation, food security, and the green economy.

He said:

These threats are real, they are immediate, and they will affect us all. Environmental degradation is putting an increasing strain on our natural resources, and it is both a cause and an effect of climate change.

To solve these global challenges, Benn highlighted the need for a more sustainable and productive model for agriculture, as well as more sustianable building practices, transport, and energy production.

The goal of reinvigorating the agricultural sector, he continued, would have to be accomplished through increased  collaboration and commitment from around the world:

We need the world to come together to deal with water scarcity, the damaging loss of biodiversity, and the challenge of producing enough food. The World Food Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and others, need to respond to crises and support the investment that will secure supplies in the long-term.

Highlights from the Opening of the High Level Segment of the CSD-17

Presented 13 May 2009, New York

Sylvie Lucas, Permanent Representative of Luxembourg to the UN, Pdt of ECOSOC:

We know that 75% of the world’s poor live in rural areas and most of them depend directly on agriculture. The poor were the first to be affected by the food crisis, which added 115million people to the ranks of hunger in 2007 and 2008. Early indications are that the economic and financial crisis could bring the total number of hungry past one billion.

First, current agricultural practices will not allow us to meet the food needs and consumption patterns of a growing and developing world population, let alone in a sustainable way. Investments in new technologies are needed to support a shift toward a more sustainable agricultural and food production system.

Multidimensional challenges require an integrated approach, combining economic, social and environmental solutions. We see that the Commission on Sustainable Development is uniquely placed to take on this challenge, as the very aim of sustainable development is to apply this integrated approach.

It provides an effective platform to bring together and foster dialogue between Governments, the UN systems, the policy research community and Major Groups. I trust that this session will produce clear deliverables and concrete actions to learn lessons from the global food crisis and tackle the hunger and malnutrition challenge, within the sustainable development framework.

(emphasis added)

Farming First Speaks to the Farmers Guardian on Small-Scale Farming and Development

LindiweThe Farmers Guardian has written an article about how small-scale farmers can contribute to the fight against a future food crisis.

Farming First’s Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda spoke the growing importance which agriculture is seen to have in global policymaking recently:

The signs are encouraging but we need to make sure the money is invested in long term sustainable projects based on our framework principles.

The article discusses recent funding increases from the World Bank and the US administration under President Obama.  These measures are aimed to secure a food supply, build infrastructure, and avert the civil strife which emerged during the 20o7 food price increases.