News / Africa

FAO Aims to Quickly Measure World Hunger

FAO launches new project to better measure hunger through individual surveys. FAO launches new project to better measure hunger through individual surveys.
x
FAO launches new project to better measure hunger through individual surveys.
FAO launches new project to better measure hunger through individual surveys.

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
Measuring the scope of world hunger is a long and complicated process. Often officials and policymakers don’t have the most up-to-date information. Now, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the FAO, hopes to change that with a new project called Voices of the Hungry.


The U.N. agency wants to hear from the people themselves and not just evaluate various data, studies and reports. FAO senior statistician Carlo Cafiero said that the current system of measuring food supplies and hunger, while important, is subject to long delays.

“From the moment in which this data is collected to the moment in which it’s cleared, processed [and] sent to us, there may be two or three years delay. And this is if we have current information because consumption surveys are not regular features done annually – not even in the developed countries,” he said.

Food consumption surveys are generally conducted every five years.

“We don’t have a pulse of the current situation. And this became very apparent during the food price crisis,” he said.

In 2007 many predicted a global economic recession and food prices began to rise. Cafiero says that led to – what he calls – a very pessimistic scenario about food consumption.

“Only a few years later, we have discovered, for example, that China and India and many other developing countries did not slow down in their economic growth. The pessimistic scenario did not really materialize in each and every country. And that is where the model based prediction to make an estimate of the current situation proved mistaken.”

The new Voices of the Hungry project is described as fast and more precise. It will use surveys of individuals to gather information on the extent and severity of hunger. The surveys will be done annually in collaboration with survey giant Gallup.

The project will be tested in the coming months in Angola, Ethiopia, Malawi and Niger.

“These are individual surveys in which people are contacted either by phone or in person. So, there will be a national representative sample of individuals, who are asked questions about there experiences. And from the answers to these questions, we can estimate the severity of food insecurity that has affected them and their families,” said Cafiero.

The survey asks individuals about their experiences over the past 12 months, such as were they worried they would run out of food? Or, did they skip meals or go without eating for an entire day? There are eight questions in all.

The FAO statistician said that the survey is not subjective and the information will be evaluated by experts. It takes only three months from the time a survey is taken to the time FAO officials receive the information.

Voices of the Hungry surveys will eventually be expanded to 160,000 respondents in 150 countries. The five-year project will lead to a new FAO standard for food security.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid