climatic conditions, rising food prices and increasing population in Africa are
leaving more and more hungry…sometimes acutely hungry. A recent report says
world leaders have agreed to cut the number of hungry people in half by 2015.
The study was issued by the United Nations-backed Millennium Development Goals project .
are still six years to go, but observers say little has been done to achieve the
2015 goal. Close to 900 million people currently face acute hunger or
malnutrition in Africa alone. It's for this reason that the South Africa-based
New Partnership for Africa's Development, or NEPAD, is supporting enhanced food
production, the cultivation of nutrient-rich crops and the distribution of seed
packs to African communities.
Bibi Giyose is food and nutrition advisor to NEPAD. She believes that with the
right support, African farmers can grow enough food to feed the entire
continent, and reduce malnutrition and poverty.
NEPAD, we have the livestock and fisheries program, and already for fisheries
I'm happy to say that countries like Malawi, Zambia and Nigeria have really
caught on, and they are promoting aquaculture. And more families have access to
such resources to produce for themselves and to sell extra, to be able to
diversify their diets," she says.
explains that apart from livestock and fisheries, NEPAD is also promoting the
cultivation of nutritionally valuable crops such as orange-fleshed sweet
potatoes--very rich in vitamins.
says "We have the World Vegetable Center situated in Arusha, Tanzania, and also
the Global Horticulture Initiative, which is also housed in Tanzania. And we
had a project that was targeting households affected by HIV and AIDS and we
distributed what we called nutrition packs, whereby there were about 13
different kinds of crop seeds: tomatoes,
onions, traditional and indigenous vegetables, and those worked very well."
NEPAD is continuing to respond to the challenges of acute hunger and
malnutrition in Africa, another group is lobbying governments to subsidize
fertilizer, seed and other inputs used by farmers.
Adesina is the vice president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.
He says in Malawi, for example, subsidies have helped farmers increase food
production. Adesina says, "Farmers in Africa are no different from farmers in
Europe or the United States. All they need is actually access to seed and
fertilizers. If they do have access to those farm inputs they can double, they
can triple, or in some cases quadruple yields. And now other countries are
looking at that program, including Tanzania and Rwanda."
says greater political commitment is needed if Africa and indeed the rest of
the world are to meet the Millennium Development Goals of cutting hunger in half
over the next six years.