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

Arab League Delays Forming Joint Force

Delay grows out of one of original obstacles facing pan-Arab force, analysts say: 'They may agree on the principle, but they continue to argue about how to implement the project' More

Pakistan Demands Afghanistan Protect Its Kabul Mission, Staff

Officials in Islamabad say Afghan agents are harassing Pakistani embassy personnel, particularly those living outside of mission’s compound More

US Survey: Trump Lead Grows in Republican Presidential Contest

Quinnipiac University poll shows brash billionaire real estate mogul with 28 percent support among Republican voters More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs