Broad Agricultural Strategies Aimed at World Hunger
By Joe DeCapua 12 November 2009
World Summit on Food Security is being held in Rome November 16-18 to address
immediate and long-term hunger issues.
To ensure food security, much attention is now being paid to improving
agriculture. As a result, a new book has been released on proven successes in
book, MillionsFed, is published by
the International Food Policy Research Institute, or IFPRI. It comes at the request of the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation, which says it wanted to know which programs, policies
and investments actually reduce widespread hunger.
The old and the new
research fellow David Spielman, one of the editors of MillionsFed, says, "Learning from past achievements in agricultural
development is now more urgent than ever because we're facing new and emerging
threats, as well as well as long-term threats to food security throughout the
world -- climate change, population growth, the degradation of natural
resources and lots of other important challenges."
says the book takes a fresh look at agriculture.
looking at things that have been proven to work, but we're looking at them from
a very different angle than what's been done in the past. We're seeing that a combination of
factors…need to be brought to bear on agriculture and agricultural development
combination of factors covers a broad area.
includes continued long-term, sustained investment in agricultural science and
technology, investing in complementary areas, such as rural roads, rural
irrigation schemes, rural education.... And we're also talking about
encouraging greater global and local collaboration and cooperation to solve
some of the major constraints facing agriculture," he says.
Back to basics
of the things proven to boost agriculture and reduce hunger is increasing the
productionof staple foods.
intensifying food staple production is all about increasing the yields and the
essential crops. Not only
rice, maize and wheat, but also some of the minor crops – millet, sorghum,
cassava, teff and lots of other crops that are very important to many, many
people living in Asia, in Africa and in Latin America," he says.
recommendation of MillionsFed is the
integration of people and the environment.
In the 1950s, Spielman says, the main focus on agriculture was to
produce more staple food. That changed
two decades later.
says, "It wasn't until about the 1970s when scholars, policymakers and many
others started recognizing that development, growth and food security can only
be achieved by taking a long-term perspective on the issues."
It's more than putting more
food on the plate
meant bringing people into the equation, bringing communities into the equation
and thinking about the long-term sustainability of how we manage natural
resources," he says.
success strategies include expanding the role of markets, economic reforms and
improving food quality and human nutrition.
MillionsFed, the International Food
Policy and Research Institute says success is not a substitute for
strategy. It describes success as a
process that is "recognizable and unambiguous."
says, "It's not good enough just to look back on history and say, well, we had
a good technology or we had a good policy idea.
Having a coherent long-term strategy at the country level, at the global
level, is how you combat hunger and food insecurity.... Having a coherent plan
of action, coherent ideas, integrated solutions to ending hunger and
malnutrition is essential to moving forward."
estimated more than one billion people go hungry every day.
says if agricultural success strategies are not implemented now, many dramatic,
long-term problems could result. It's
not just about hunger, he says, it's about poverty, as well as peace and
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