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

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid