Tuesday, October 27, 2009

US Goverment Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative

We keep seeing more signs that the Obama administration is prioritizing their food secutity strategy, making sure it incorporates the views of a diversed group of stakeholders. This strong, well-funded global food security strategy seems to be the bargaining chip Obama will bring to the table at UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in early December, given that a comprehensive climate bill is not likely to pass (maybe a water-down version).  Below some info and good resources from USAID's FBCI on the global hunger and food security strategy:
More than one billion people — one sixth of the world's population — suffer from chronic hunger. Without enough food, adults struggle to work and children struggle to learn. Global food supplies must increase by an estimated 50 percent to meet expected demand in the next 20 years. Advancing sustainable agricultural-led growth increases the availability of food, keeps food affordable, and raises the incomes of the poor.
The U.S. is committed to working as part of a collaborative global effort centered around country-led processes to improve food security. We are working with stakeholders to advance action that addresses the needs of small scale farmers and agri-businesses, and harnesses the power of women to drive economic growth. We will increase our investment in agriculture development while maintaining our support for humanitarian food assistance.
Principles for Advancing Global Food Security
1.       Comprehensively address the underlying causes of hunger and under-nutrition
2.       Invest in country-led plans
3.       Strengthen strategic coordination
4.       Leverage the benefits of multilateral institutions
5.       Make sustained and accountable commitments

Key Documents and Websites:
From the NGO Community:

Friday, October 23, 2009

IFPRI Report: Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development

Check out this recent report published by IFPRI on Ag Development: Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development. The timing could be better. Just a couple weeks ago FAO announced that food production will have to increase 70% by 2050.

The report identifies about 20 successes across the developing world, spanning from interventions enhancing productivity to combating diseases and pests, conserving natural resources, expanding market opportunities, improving human nutrition, and improving the policy environment.  A common thread running through many of these successes is the confluence of science, policy, and leadership. Hope those making key decisions get to read it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Washingtonians: IFPRI-Oxfam America Panel Discussion -- "The Other Green Revolution"

For those in the DC area, check out the presentation below:
IFPRI and Oxfam America are pleased to invite you to the following
Panel Discussion, which will be held in IFPRI's fourth floor
conference facility located at 2033 K Street, NW (entrance to building
on 21st street between K & L streets). Please feel free to share this
announcement with your colleagues.  Kindly RSVP to Simone Hill-Lee
(Tel: 202.862.8107; s.hill-lee@cgiar.org).


Farmer-led Change in the Sahel 1980-2010

A successful example of achieving food security while adapting to
climate change, catalyzed by farmers and scaled-up by effective aid.

Panelists: Mr. Yacouba Sawadogo; Dr. Chris Reij; Dr. Edwige Botoni;
Ms. Sakina Mati
Chair: Rajul Pandya-Lorch

Friday, 30 October 2009
11:45-1:30 p.m.
A light lunch will be provided.


After the devastating droughts of the 1970s and 1980s, African farmers
in the Sahel region mobilized to reclaim their land from the
encroaching desert. 30 years later, their work has secured 13 million
acres of farmland, fed three million people, recharged village wells,
and supplied useful and valuable tree products. Despite growing
populations and the threats of climate change, food security has
improved in the Sahel region.

Mr. Yacouba Sawadogo is a lead farmer and natural resource innovator,
in the Yatenga province, Burkina Faso. Dr. Chris Reij is a Natural
Resource Management Specialist, with the Center for International
Cooperation. Dr. Edwige Botoni is a Senior Coordinator, "Sahel Study,"
Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel. Ms. Sakina Mati is the
Director, village agro-forestry committee, in Maradi, Niger.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Crop Profile: Maya Nut (Ojoche) Local Solutions to Hunger

Hola reader,
I'm finally back from a short trip to Nicaragua and after catching up with the usual work that piles up while abroad, I wanted to blog about some exciting things happening in agriculture and the food security debate, foreign aid, and my garden.

But first, I wanted to tell you about Ramon, or Ojoche as he likes to be called in Nicaragua. Ojoche is a tropical tree endemic to most areas in Meso America. The nut of this tree was used by the Mayas as a source of food rich in protein, fiber and vitamins. Today, organization such as The Equilibrium Fund are promoting the use of Ojoche -Maya Nut- as a local, sustainable solution to chronic malnutrition so prevalent in the many areas Central American Altiplano and as a economic alternative in underserved rural communities.

Maya nut or Ojoche

Ojoche has many benefits. First, the trees already grow naturally in most Central American countries and its nut is consumed by some individuals. For those areas where there aren't any trees, seedlings can grow fairly quickly. Second, the nut can be grounded and its flour used to make bread, tortillas, cookies, and many more recipes. As mentioned above, Ojoche's nutritional content is quite high, serving as a viable solution to the food needs of families leaving in these communities. Finally, the nut is part of forest, protecting water basins, feeding wildlife, and supporting an endangered biodiversity.

In addition to these benefits, the nut can be sold in the form of flour, generating much needed income in communities left behind in the road to progress. I hope we can start promoting the use of the nut in the areas where Fabretto, the organization i work for, runs its programs. I envision a local women coop that collects and process the nuts and then sells it to the local school for its lunch program. In this model, one addresses some of the immediate food needs and perhaps more importantly, generates local revenue sources. This new income has the potential to fundamentally change the economic structure of these communities by generating revenue for poor families who often time have little money to meet their most basic necessities.

Anyway, i could keep going on about how this is the type of development approach that must complement, if not replace, the effort of those in power calling the foreign aid shots in Washington. By the way, If your are going to be in DC in November, make sure you stop by the World Bank's Development Marketplace awards to see the Equilibrium Fund showcase its support of grassroots organizations promoting the use of Ojoche Nicaragua.

Finally, for those Hispanoparlantes, below you will find a great video about the use of Ojoche in Guatemala

Episodio 45 from Caminos del Asombro on Vimeo.