Africa has the means to feed itself but does it have the support – and the will?

Africa has a quarter of the world’s arable land but produces only a tenth of the world’s food. 265 million people are still chronically hungry, and Africa is estimated to hold 60% of the world’s remaining uncultivated farmland. In September, a UN summit discussed the upcoming five-year deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. It is important for Africa to create its own dialogue about the issues the continent is addressing and the potential solutions available. Read more here.

Kenyan maize poison means many face starvation

Despite a bumper harvest of maize just a few months ago, many residents in the eastern part of Kenya are facing hunger and starvation. While granaries in the region may be full, the grain cannot be freely sold. Aflatoxins, known in the region as ‘mbuka’, have affected nearly all the residents of Kenya’s Eastern Province. Aflatoxins are toxic, carcinogenic byproducts of fungi that colonise maize and groundnuts, among other crops. It is poisonous to humans and animals. Kenya’s government offered to purchase all the contaminated maize harvested from the region at less than half the market price, in order to destroy it. Read more here.

Assessing progress toward Millennium Development Goals

Scores of world leaders assembled in New York and vowed to accelerate progress on the eight Millennium Development Goals to ward off a looming failure to meet the targets by 2015. They adopted an extensive 31-page document that reaffirms their determination to reach the goals, such as reducing poverty and hunger, increasing access to education, boosting maternal health and combating disease. To keep the pressure on, the document asks for annual reports on where the goals stand, plus another special summit on the matter in 2013. Read more here.

UN Agency Opens up Access to Largest Database of hunger statistics

FAO announced comprehensive database on food, agriculture and hunger is now open to the public, free of charges. The database contains over one million data points covering more than 200 countries. FAOSTAT designed to support monitoring, analysis and informed, evidence-based policy-making specifically related to rural and agricultural development and hunger reduction. Read more here.

UN agency chief pledges support for Africa’s efforts to boost food security

The United Nations is committed to helping African nations combat hunger and malnutrition. This was addressed as the Executive Director of World Food Programme (WFP) of UN stressed the benefits offered by food-based social protection programmes for African leaders gathered in Uganda, for the African Union summit. Food-based social protection programmes, which are being implemented in 16 African countries, can be one of the largest and most reliable purchasers from smallholder farmers, and might help to create community infrastructure such as roads and irrigation. Read more here.

Africa and Brazil to collaborate on agricultural research

Brasilia: The Africa-Brazil Agricultural Innovation Marketplace — a collaboration initiative between the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the Brazilian Organisation for Agricultural Research (Embrapa) was launched on 10 May at Embrapa´s headquarter in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia. The launch was part of the Brazil-Africa Dialogue on Food Security, Combating Hunger, and Rural Development organised by the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations. Read more here.

International Food Policy Research Institute (Report on halving hunger- Meeting the First Millennium Development Goal through “Business as Unusual”)

In 2000, the world’s leaders set a target of halving the percentage of hungry people between 1990 and 2015. This rather modest target constitutes part of the first Millennium Development Goal, which also calls for halving the proportion of people living in poverty and achieving full employment. The goal of halving hunger by 2015 can still be achieved, but business as usual will not be enough. What is needed is “business as unusual”—a smarter, more innovative, better focused, and cost-effective approach to reducing hunger. Read more here.

WFP declares Africa Agricultural investment forum a turning point

WFP said the high-level gathering — part of the CAADP — was a sign of governments’ strong commitment, leadership and vision with regard to reducing hunger and poverty in the region, and was pleased that the investment plans presented at the forum prioritise nutrition and access to food for the most vulnerable. The agricultural investment plans presented during the forum covered a comprehensive range of actions designed to combat hunger and malnutrition. Read more here.

Women farmers can play big role in reducing world hunger

Investing in women smallholder farmers is the key to halving hunger in Africa and results in twice as much growth as investment in any other sector, a new ActionAid report reveals. Less than one per cent of the agriculture budget is targeted at women in the three countries researched by ActionAid – Malawi, Kenya and Uganda – despite women’s central contribution to the production of food. Read more here.

Making progress towards reducing hunger and poverty in Africa

In reviewing progress towards ensuring food security and reducing poverty on the African continent, recent trends across regions and individual countries showed that 10 countries had met the 6% agricultural growth rate in 2008. The decline in the average malnutrition rate was encouraging but was still high at 29%.
About 13 countries were making progress towards the hunger or poverty targets but only Ghana was on track to achieve both the targets by 2015. Estimates of the Global Hunger Index of The International Food Policy Research Institute showed that the majority of countries had managed to reduce hunger and poverty but Africa, as a whole, was not on track to achieve the primary Millennium Development Goal. This added to the sense of urgency for speedy and effective implementation of CAADP. Read more here.