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

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs