News / Africa

Ending Hunger and Undernutrition

Waka, aged 2, a severely malnourished child sits on the floor at Bangui's pediatric center in Bangui, Central African Republic, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. According to UNICEF's doctor Celestin Traore, even though malnutrition is high in the country, the prob
Waka, aged 2, a severely malnourished child sits on the floor at Bangui's pediatric center in Bangui, Central African Republic, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. According to UNICEF's doctor Celestin Traore, even though malnutrition is high in the country, the prob

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to De Capua report on IFPRI's Global Food Policy

Joe DeCapua
A new report says ending persistent hunger and undernutrition should be top development priorities. The International Food Policy Research Institute, IFPRI, has released its annual Global Food Policy Report. 


IFPRI has set a goal of 2025 for ending hunger and undernutrition. The U.N. estimates more than 840-million people still go hungry every day, while over two-billion have a deficiency of essential micronutrients, such as iron, Vitamin A and zinc.

Although very high, those figures actually represent an improvement in recent years. But the progress has not been uniform. The report said there are still major hunger challenges in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan, said, “We have made tremendous progress in the last several decades. So poverty has come down – undernutrition has come down. However, we’re still facing some tremendous challenges.”

Fan said that solving hunger and undernutrition is a “moral issue.”


“We’ve got to work together to solve that problem. Secondly, it is also [an] economic issue. It makes a lot of economic sense by reducing hunger and malnutrition.”

He said there is a very large return for every dollar invested in reducing hunger. The IFPRI report listed Brazil, China, Thailand and Vietnam as having made dramatic progress --  with policies that emphasize improving agriculture, providing social safety nets and targeting nutrition programs at those most in need.

Fan said it requires cooperation among governments, the private sector, civil society, farmers and others.

“So you have different kinds of approaches that can reduce hunger, malnutrition in a short period of time. Let’s say in 20 years or even 10 years. Why I’m pushing for 2025 is because if we keep the current momentum – the momentum we have created in the last two or three years – put nutrition very high in the development agenda – I believe we can do it by 2025,” he said.

The report said, however, that the “development agenda should not pursue the achievement of environmental sustainability goals at the expense of food and nutritional security and the well-being of poor and hungry people.”

“Why we need a sustainable world is because we wanted to have a sustainable world for people. So it must be people focused. However, if we do not tackle some of the environmental issues, climate change issues, then obviously people will suffer. So, yes, in many areas there may be some trade offs. However, there are many synergies, as well. How can we produce enough nutritious food by using less water, less land, emit less carbon emission? So there are lots of synergies,” said Fan.

New priorities must be set, he said, as the Millennium Development Goals come due. The MDGs – which include reducing hunger – will expire at the end of next year. He said that so far there’s nothing official to replace them, but meetings are underway to do so.

“There are many, many different working groups led by [the] U.N., by high level panels, by civil societies, by many different groups. So, 2014 will be a critical year for different stakeholders to make their contribution to the debate. But finally it is the national governments, who have to own this strategy, who have to own the agenda. So unless they own it, I’m afraid the goals we set will not be achieved.”

The IFPRI director-general said it’s a matter of political will, accountability and adequate resources.  He added besides the current focus on staple crops -- maize, rice and wheat – emphasis must be placed on more nutritious foods, such as vegetables and fruits.

He also warned against the current trend in many developing countries of eating more processed foods containing large amounts of fat, sugar and salt.  He says this can lead to double dilemma of obesity and undernutrition.

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More