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WFP to boost food security

WFP to boost food security

Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
The World Food Programme (WFP) in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has started rolling out a $22 million Lean Season Assistance programme for the 2018 /19 season that is aimed at supporting over 430 000 food insecure Zimbabweans.

In a statement recently, WFP country director Mr Eddie Rowe said the programme started in October.

“This contribution is supporting the most vulnerable people in food insecure areas in Zimbabwe over six months to get through what is for many, the most difficult time of the year,” he said.

Mr Rowe said the USAID was providing support to the LSA programme through its Office of Food for Peace.

He said they (USAID) had helped them with food assistance for cash-based transfers and purchase of local and regional commodities such as sorghum, as well as an additional contribution of in-kind commodities sourced from the US for the beneficiaries.

“WFP’s ability to respond to escalating needs in the country hinges on timely and sustained financial contributions from donor nations,” said Mr Rowe.

“The US government has provided more than US$77 million in 2017 alone to emergency food support, nutritional assistance, and other programmes.

“In addition, WFP is currently scaling up to provide life-saving food assistance to more than 1,1 million people per month in Zimbabwe  an effort that will require at least US$73,5 million in additional funding through April 2019.”

According to the findings of the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZIMVAC) more than 2,4 million people in the rural areas will face acute food insecurity at the peak of the lean season (January  March 2019).

Speaking during the just ended 20th Global Child Nutrition Forum held in Tunisia, Mr Rowe said they were working in partnership with the Government to support the re-establishment of a national school feeding programme that would link to local agricultural production.

He said the programme was being implemented under the country’s strategic plan for 2017-2021.

“Under its Country Strategic Plan 2017-2021, WFP Zimbabwe is working in partnership with the Government of Zimbabwe to support the re-establishment of a national school feeding programme that would link to local agricultural production,” said Mr Rowe.

“We have already embarked on a water source development programme, drilling boreholes at 22 primary schools, ensuring access to clean and safe water-pumped using renewable solar energy  which also supports on-site nutritional gardens.”

Mr Rowe said school feeding in Zimbabwe is an essential piece of the social safety net.

Environment-friendly hybrid seeds will boost food security, says biotechnologist

Environment-friendly hybrid seeds will boost food security, says biotechnologist

A biotechnology expert, Mrs Eniyekpemi Ebimoboere, has said that development of environment-friendly hybrid seeds will boost production of local vegetables and food security in the country.

Ebimoboere, the CEO of Afritropic Farming and Agric Services, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an interview on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 in Lagos.

She said the availability and development of the hybrid seeds would help tackle malnutrition and health challenges among Nigerians.

“The development of hybrid seeds plays a major role in boosting food security in the country.

“Hybrid seeds also help in the fight against malnutrition because it is very important to have vegetables to support our highly carbohydrate-based diet.

“This is possible when individuals purchase these hybrid seeds and cultivate these vegetables around their homes.

“With this hybrid seed technology Nigerians can eat healthy with the availability and accessibility of highly nutritious vegetables. We can tackle food insecurity across the country,” she said.

She harped on the necessity of developing the seeds and how compliant they were to the soil in any environmental location.

“Most conventional vegetable crops like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and onions may not thrive in the South-West or South-South as much as they will in the northern region of the country.

“That is why we have worked on these hybrid vegetal seeds to improve seeds so that they can stand the environmental and climate conditions in all parts of the country.

“They are hybrid seeds and not Genetically Modified seeds (GMOs), they are conventionally processed. These seeds are bred to suit the environment,’’ she said.

She added that they had low health risks, more qualitative, affordable and nutritious among other advantages.

“We develop these hybrid seeds to ensure the presence of nutritious vegetable in local meals across the country.

“We like seeing quality produce and that is why we organise trainings and seminars on the benefits of these hybrid seeds.

“Hybrid seeds have varieties and the number one benefit is that their yield is far higher than what the conventional seeds would produce.

“Hybrid seeds also have shorter duration in crop production than regular seeds.

“For example, our hybrid cucumber seedlings when planted can be harvested within forty-five days, it is healthy, and the yields are high in quality,” she said.

By Mercy Omoike

APDA urges FG to upscale food security issues

The All Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA) has called on the Federal Government to upscale the issue of food security to make it more meaningful to Nigerians. Alhaji Shitu Mohammed, presidential candidate of APDA, made this known on Sunday while speaking to newsmen in Minna.

He said that this would require improvement in the nutrient value of the food for Nigerians instead of only making it available.

Shitu said that the present administration has put in place strong measures to make Nigerians feed themselves with what they grow but more is needed to sustain it.

‘’It is a fact that the federal government has to a large extent put to practice the campaign to make Nigerians consume what they grow. And a lot of farmers and Nigerians have also benefited and were empowered by this programme.

‘’However, our party feels that Nigerians deserve more than just food. Apart from the raw food other ingredients must be made available to complement it. This is an all encompassing issue.

‘’The government need to give priority to other aspects like in the areas of tomatoes, onions, fish, pepper among others. These things may sound trivial to elite, but these are things that affect the common Nigerian.

‘’As a national democratic party, APDA urge all parties to ensure that the small and big issues affecting every Nigerian are looked at holistically towards giving citizens a new lease of life,’’ he said.

Mohammed said that making this food issue a priority would further open new horizon of economic diversification as well as a new export opportunity for the ordinary Nigerians.

He added that a new thread of thought was necessary to get Nigerian out of the wood of economic challenges in spite of its vast resources.

“Nigeria has been identified as the giant of Africa. To maintain this we need to open new ideas for the continent. Agriculture is a sure bet to do this with our vast land mass.

‘’It will be an advantage for the Federal Government to take a more serious decision on the issue of importation of food items that we produce locally.

‘’It will be wise to place complete ban on the importation of items such as rice, tomato of all types, chicken, maize, groundnut, wheat. We can sustain this for three years at first instance.

‘’When we do this other African countries will copy our style and achieve the revolution of food sufficiency for the whole of the African peoples,’’ Mohammed said.

He added that micro ideas rather than big ones would take the country out of its doldrums of copying foreign policies to policies that are Nigerian and for Nigerians.

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Gulf of Guinea Strategic to Food Security – Peterside — Economic Confidential

Gulf of Guinea Strategic to Food Security – Peterside — Economic Confidential

HomeBusinessGulf of Guinea Strategic to Food Security – Peterside

Gulf of Guinea Strategic to Food Security – Peterside

The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside has stressed the importance of the Gulf of Guinea to food security to the West and Central African sub-region stating that the region must be properly secured to avert illegal activities that may hamper food supply in the African region.
The Director General stated this at the seminar on the State of Food Security Assured by the Seas of West and Central Africa and The Perspectives on The Blue Economy in Member States of the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) organised by NIMASA in conjunction with the GGC in Lagos.
Dr. Dakuku who was represented at the event by the Agency’s Executive Director Finance and Administration Mr Bashir Jamoh said that the Gulf of Guinea which is a major shipping route must be properly guarded if the countries of the region are to properly harness the blue economy for economic growth.
According to him, “the Gulf of Guinea, aside being a major shipping route, is also home for many aquatic species and so the countries of the region must do everything to safeguard the region from illegal fishing, piracy and other activities that may affect the food chain”
Speaking further, the NIMASA DG said that NIMASA knows the importance of the region to the African continent and that is the major reason the Agency has continuously championed collaborations amongst member states in order to develop the continent’s blue economy through sustainable shipping.
He said that this seminar will also assist participating countries to better understand the blue economy and how to properly harness the inherent potentials of the African maritime sector.
Also speaking at the event, the Executive Secretary of the Gulf of Guinea Commission, Ambassador Florentina Adenike Ukonga commended the leadership of NIMASA for the role the Agency is playing in ensuring safety of lives and property in the region.
She said the Commission decided to have a seminar on the blue economy to promote sustainable shipping in the region.
It would be recalled that the Gulf of Guinea Commission was established by the treaty signed in Libreville, Gabon on July 3, 2001 by Nigeria, Angola, Gabon as well as Sao Tome and Principe. The seminar was the second in the series organised by the Commission to enlighten member states on the advantages of sustainable shipping.

Al-Sumait Prize for African Development in Food Security 2019 ($1,000,000 USD prize)

Al-Sumait Prize for African Development in Food Security 2019 ($1,000,000 USD prize)

Al-Sumait Prize for African Development in Food Security 2019 ($1,000,000 USD prize)

Applications are open for the Al-Sumait Prize for African Development 2019. The prize is to be awarded to individuals or institutions who through their research projects or initiatives have made significant advancement to economic and social development in Africa.

The subject for the 2019 prize is Food Security. Research projects or initiatives must have made significant advancement within one or more of the following areas of Food Security on the African Continent:

  • Developing new varieties of seeds, crops or livestock which can improve the food security of the poor population in Africa by increasing the calorific and nutritional value of food produced and consumed domestically
  • Provision of medical staff for the national health care systems (physicians, paramedics and nursing), medicine, pharmaceutical and medical equipment
  • Improving farmers’ access to agricultural inputs, techniques, technologies and markets so as to increase the availability of staple products which form a core part of the diet of the poorest people in Africa
  • Improving farmers’ resilience to climate change and extreme weather conditions
  • Improving marketing and adopting modern business strategies
  • Addressing issues relevant to gender equity in the field of the Prize
  • The prize has a value of $1,000,000 USD.
  • The nominated candidates’ research work or projects and initiatives must be innovative and must have achieved high-impact in line with international standards for the prize;
  • The submitted work must be of paramount importance in promoting significant economic, social, human resources and infrastructure development in the African continent within the announced field of the prize;
  • Submitted research work of a nominated candidate should be composed of studies and applied research, published in referred journals and recognized at a global level within the announced field. The research outcomes need to have been applied after publication in African countries within the past ten Adequate supporting evidence needs to be provided;
  • Nominations are to be accepted from institutions and scientific centers (universities, institutes and centers of scientific research) as well as from competent regional or international and UN organizations and awards and former winners in the field of the prize or former evaluation members Nominations will only be accepted through institutions or other possible nominators mentioned above;
  • All submissions must be submitted in English. If the work is carried out in other working UN languages, a comprehensive summary of the nominated work in English must be submitted.

Fill in the prize nomination form and send it along with the scientific production works electronically in PDF format via CD, DVD, Flash Memory or via the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) Prizes Office email [email protected]

About Jude Ogar

Jude Ogar

Jude is an educator and youth development practitioner. He is very passionate about the growth and development of young people, especially those in Africa. You can connect with him on Facebook (Jude D’genius Ogar) or Twitter @dgeniusjude

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World

Food Security & Nutrition around the World

Hunger is on the rise

For the third year in a row, there has been a rise in world hunger. The absolute number of undernourished people, i.e. those facing chronic food deprivation, has increased to nearly 821 million in 2017, from around 804 million in 2016. These are levels from almost a decade ago.

The number of hungry people is on the rise. 821 million people do not get enough food to eat.

FIGURE 1

The number of undernourished people in the world has been on the rise since 2014, reaching an estimated 821 million in 2017

  • Prevalence (percentage)
  • Number (millions)

*Projected values, illustrated by dotted lines and empty circles.
Source: FAO

The share of undernourished people in the world population – the prevalence of undernourishment, or PoU – may have reached 10.9 percent in 2017. Persistent instability in conflict-ridden regions, adverse climate events in many regions of the world and economic slowdowns that have affected more peaceful regions and worsened the food security, all help to explain this deteriorating situation.

The situation is worsening in South America and most regions of Africa (Table 1). Africa remains the continent with the highest PoU, affecting almost 21 percent of the population (more than 256 million people). The situation is also deteriorating in South America, where the PoU has increased from 4.7 percent in 2014 to a projected 5.0 percent in 2017. Asia’s decreasing trend in undernourishment seems to be slowing down significantly. The projected PoU for Asia in 2017 is 11.4 percent, which represents more than 515 million people. Without increased efforts, the world will fall far short of achieving the SDG target of eradicating hunger by 2030.

TABLE 1

Prevalence of undernourishment in the world, 2005 – 2017

Prevalence of undernourishment (%)
2005 2010 2012 2014 2016 20171
World 14.5 11.8 11.3 10.7 10.8 10.9
Africa 21.2 19.1 18.6 18.3 19.7 20.4
Northern Africa 6.2 5.0 8.3 8.1 8.5 8.5
Sub-Saharan Africa 24.3 21.7 21.0 20.7 22.3 23.2
Eastern Africa 34.3 31.3 30.9 30.2 31.6 31.4
Middle Africa 32.4 27.8 26.0 24.2 25.7 26.1
Southern Africa 6.5 7.1 6.9 7.4 8.2 8.4
Western Africa 12.3 10.4 10.4 10.7 12.8 15.1
Asia 17.3 13.6 12.9 12.0 11.5 11.4
Central Asia 11.1 7.3 6.2 5.9 6.0 6.2
South-eastern Asia 18.1 12.3 10.6 9.7 9.9 9.8
Southern Asia 21.5 17.2 17.1 16.1 15.1 14.8
Western Asia 9.4 8.6 9.5 10.4 11.1 11.3
Central Asia and Southern Asia 21.1 16.8 16.7 15.7 14.7 14.5
Eastern Asia and South-eastern Asia 15.2 11.5 10.1 9.0 8.9 8.9
Western Asia and Northern Africa 8.0 7.1 8.9 9.3 9.9 10.0
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN 9.1 6.8 6.4 6.2 6.1 6.1
Caribbean 23.3 19.8 19.3 18.5 17.1 16.5
Latin America 8.1 5.9 5.4 5.3 5.3 5.4
Central America 8.4 7.2 7.2 6.8 6.3 6.2
South America 7.9 5.3 4.7 4.7 4.9 5.0
OCEANIA 5.5 5.2 5.4 5.9 6.6 7.0
NORTHERN AMERICA AND EUROPE < 2.5 < 2.5 < 2.5 < 2.5 < 2.5 < 2.5

1Projected values
Source: FAO

Progress towards improving nutrition

Progress in child stunting and exclusive breastfeeding but not in anaemia

Overall, there has been some progress regarding stunting and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. The number of stunted children has decreased from 165.2 million in 2012 to 150.8 million in 2017, a 9 percent decline. Yet, the number is still unacceptably high and the road to reaching the 2030 target is still long.

In 2017, 40.7 percent of infants below six months of age were exclusively breastfed, up from 36.9 percent in 2012. Rates of exclusive breastfeeding in Africa and Asia are 1.5 times those in Northern America where only 26.4 percent of infants under six months receive breastmilk exclusively.

Conversely, anaemia among women of reproductive age is not improving. The prevalence of anaemia among women of reproductive age has risen incrementally from 30.3 percent in 2012 to 32.8 percent in 2016 with no region showing a decline. Shamefully, one in three women of reproductive age globally is still affected by anaemia, with significant health and development consequences for both women and their children.

FIGURE 6

There is still a long road ahead to achieve the 2025 and 2030 targets for stunting, wasting, overweight, exclusive breastfeeding, anaemia in women and adult obesity

Anaemia

(women of reproductive age)

Wasting

In 2017, 7.5 percent of children under five – 50.5 million – were affected by wasting (low weight for height) consequently putting them at a higher risk of mortality. An analysis from 2013 indicated that 875 000 deaths (or 12.6 percent of all deaths) among children under five years of age were related to wasting, of which 516 000 deaths (7.4 percent of all deaths among under-fives) were related to severe wasting.

Child overweight and adult obesity

Since 2012, the global proportion of overweight children remains relatively stagnant, with 5.4 percent in 2012 and 5.6 percent (or 38.3 million) in 2017. Of these 38.3 million overweight children, 25 percent live in Africa and 46 percent live in Asia.

Adult obesity, on the other hand, is worsening. Adult obesity rates continue to rise each year, from 11.7 percent in 2012 to 13.2 percent in 2016. This means that in 2017 more than one in eight adults, or more than 672 million, in the world is obese.

The prevalence of obesity among adults in the world has been increasing steadily between 1975 and 2016 – and at an accelerated pace over the past decade. Adult obesity is highest in Northern America and the rate of increase in adult obesity is also the highest there. While Africa and Asia continue to have the lowest rates of obesity, an increasing trend can also be observed.

The multiple burden of malnutrition

As mentioned before, levels of childhood stunting and wasting persist across regions and countries; yet, simultaneously, there has been an increase in overweight and obesity, often in the same countries and communities with relatively high levels of child stunting. This coexistence of undernutrition with overweight and obesity is commonly referred to as the “double burden” of malnutrition. A large proportion of the world population is also affected by micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) deficiencies, often called “hidden hunger” because there may be no visible signs. Iron deficiency anaemia in women of reproductive age is one form of micronutrient deficiency.

A large proportion of the world population is also affected by micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) deficiencies. This often called “hidden hunger” because there may be no visible signs.

Many countries have a high prevalence of more than one form of malnutrition. This multiple burden of malnutrition is more prevalent in low-, lower-middle and middle-income countries and concentrated among the poor. Obesity in high-income countries is similarly concentrated among the poor. The coexistence of multiple forms of malnutrition can occur not only within countries and communities, but also within households – and can even affect the same person over their lifetime.

Pathways from food insecurity to malnutrition

Poor access to food and particularly healthy food contributes to undernutrition as well as overweight and obesity. It increases the risk of low birthweight, childhood stunting and anaemia in women of reproductive age, and it is linked to overweight in school-age girls and obesity among women, particularly in upper-middle- and high-income countries. There are several pathways from inadequate food access to multiple forms of malnutrition. Figure 14 illustrates two pathways: one leading from food insecurity to undernutrition and another leading to overweight and obesity.

FIGURE 14

Pathways from inadequate food access to multiple forms of malnutrition

  • Undernutrition pathway
  • Obesogenic pathway

Source: Created by FAO Statistic Division for this report

Food insecurity (unreliable access to food) can contribute to child wasting, stunting and micronutrient deficiencies by negatively affecting the adequacy of food consumption. A diet characterized by insufficient intake of calories, protein, vitamins and minerals will impede foetal, infant and child growth and development. Such diets contribute to maternal undernutrition and consequently to higher risk of low birthweight, which in turn are both risk factors for child stunting. The stress of living with food insecurity can also have a negative effect on the nutrition of infants by compromising breastfeeding.

Undernutrition and obesity coexist in many countries.

Although it may appear to be a paradox, food insecurity can also contribute to overweight and obesity. Nutritious, fresh foods often tend to be expensive. Thus, when household resources for food become scarce, people choose less expensive foods that are often high in calories and low in nutrients. This is particularly true in urban settings and upper-middle and high-income countries, although the negative effect of food insecurity on diet quality has been documented in low-, middle- and high-income countries alike.

There are also psychosocial factors that link food insecurity to obesity. The experience of not having certain or adequate access to food often causes feelings of anxiety, stress and depression, which in turn can lead to behaviours that increase the risk of overweight and obesity. These include patterns of binging or overeating when food is available (and continued availability uncertain), or choosing low-cost, energy-dense “comfort foods” rich in fat, sugar and salt. Such foods have been found to have physiological effects that reduce stress in the short term.

Disordered eating patterns and food deprivation are another component linking food insecurity to malnutrition. “Feast-and-famine” cycles cause metabolic changes that have been associated with an increase in body fat, decrease in lean muscle mass, and more rapid weight gain when food becomes plentiful.

In addition, maternal and infant/child food deprivation can result in foetal and early childhood “metabolic imprinting”, which increases the risk of obesity and diet-related on-communicable chronic diseases later in life. Maternal undernutrition – as well as overweight– caused by lack of stable access to adequate diets can cause metabolic, physiological and neuroendocrine changes in children, fueling intergenerational cycle of malnutrition.

The coexistence of multiple forms of malnutrition means that the two pathways described above do not work in isolation but rather impact each other. In this way, the undernutrition linked with food security might at the same time be linked with overweight and obesity. As described, food insecurity is associated with low birthweight in infants. Low birthweight is a risk factor for child stunting, which in turn is associated with overweight and obesity later in life. According to WHO, “Children who have suffered from undernutrition and were born with low birthweight or are short for-age (stunted) are at far greater risk of developing overweight and obesity when faced with energy-dense diets and a sedentary lifestyle later in life.” It is also worth noting that children who are stunted have a higher risk of being simultaneously overweight.

What can be done?

There is a need to implement and scale up interventions aimed at guaranteeing access to nutritious foods and breaking the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition. The 1 000 days between conception and a child’s second birthday is a window of unsurpassed opportunity to both prevent child stunting and overweight and promote child nutrition, growth and development with lasting effects over the child’s life. Exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months and adequate complementary foods and feeding practices up to two years of age are key to ensuring normal child growth and development during this crucial window of opportunity.

Access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food must be framed as a human right, with priority given to the most vulnerable. Policies must pay special attention to the food security and nutrition of children under five, school-age children, adolescent girls and women in order to halt the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition. A shift is needed towards nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems that provide safe and high quality food, promoting healthy diets for all.

Impact of Climate on Food Security & Nutrition

Last year SOFI pinpointed conflict and violence in several parts of the world as one of the main drivers of hunger and food insecurity, suggesting that efforts to fight hunger must go hand-in-hand with those to sustain peace. New evidence in this year’s report highlights that beside conflicts, climate variability and extremes are also a key force behind the recent rise in global hunger. They are also one of the leading causes of severe food crises.

The number of extreme climate-related disasters, including extreme heat, droughts, floods and storms, has doubled since the early 1990s.

The number of extreme climate-related disasters, including extreme heat, droughts, floods and storms, has doubled since the early 1990s, with an average of 213 of these events occurring every year during the period of 1990–2016. These harm agricultural productivity contributing to shortfalls in food availability, with knock-on effects causing food price hikes and income losses that reduce people’s access to food.

FIGURE 15

Increasing number of extreme climate-related disasters, 1990–2016

  • Total Events
  • Flood
  • Storm
  • Drought
  • Extreme temperature

Note: Total number of natural disasters that occurred in low- and middle-income countries by region and during the period 1990–2016. Disasters are defined as medium and large scale disasters that exceed the thresholds set for registration on the EM-DAT international disaster database.
See Annex 2, for the full definition of EM-DAT disasters.
Source: FAO elaboration based on data from Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT). 2009. EM-DAT [online] Brussels. www.emdat.be

Climate variability and extremes are already negatively undermining production of major crops in tropical regions and, without adaptation, this is expected to worsen as temperatures increase and become more extreme.

In many areas, climate extremes have increased in number and intensity, particularly where average temperatures are shifting upwards: very hot days are becoming more frequent and the hottest days are becoming hotter. Extreme heat is associated with increased mortality, lower labour capacity, lower crop yields and other consequences that undermine food security and nutrition.

In addition to increasing temperatures and changes in rainfall, the nature of rainy seasons is also changing, specifically the timing of seasonal climate events.

Within-season changes may not register as extreme climate events (droughts, floods or storms) but rather are aspects of climate variability that affect the growth of crops and the availability of pasture for livestock, with potentially significant implications for food security and nutrition.

Several countries – notably in Africa, Central America and Southeast Asia – experienced drought, not only through abnormally low total accumulated rainfall, but also through lower rainfall intensities and fewer days of rainfall.

Drought’s direct connection to hunger

Food security and nutrition indicators can clearly be associated with an extreme climate event, such as a severe drought, that critically challenges agriculture and food production.

Of all natural hazards, floods, droughts and tropical storms affect food production the most. Drought, in particular, causes more than 80 percent of the total damage and losses in agriculture, especially for the livestock and crop production subsectors. In relation to extreme events, the fisheries subsector is most affected by tsunamis and storms, while most of the economic impact on forestry is caused by floods and storms. If a drought is severe and widespread enough, it can potentially affect national food availability and access, as well as nutrition, thus magnifying the prevalence of undernourishment (PoU) nationally.

Severe droughts are worsening global hunger and reversing progress already made.

Hunger is significantly worse in countries with agricultural systems that are highly sensitive to rainfall and temperature variability and severe drought, where the livelihood of a high proportion of the population depends on agriculture and where the country does not have in place sufficient support measures to counter the fallout. In other words, for almost 36 percent of the countries that experienced a rise in undernourishment since 2005, this coincided with the occurrence of severe agricultural drought.

Out of 27 countries with increasing change points in the prevalence of undernourishment occurring under severe drought stress conditions, most (19 countries) are in Africa, with the remaining four in Asia, three in Latin America and the Caribbean, and one in Eastern Europe.

A closer review reveals that many countries have witnessed periods of increased undernourishment over the past years; however, during the period of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event of 2015–2016 this change across so many countries contributed to a reversal of the PoU trend at the global level.

in focus

The case of El Nino

The temperature anomalies associated with El Niño show that climate variability and extremes affect agriculture. If we look at increasing change points in the PoU time series we see that many correspond to occurrences of severe drought. For example, for almost 36 percent of the countries that experienced a rise in undernourishment since 2005, this coincided with the occurrence of severe drought.

Most striking is the significant increase in the number of change points related to severe drought conditions in 2014–2015 in which nearly two-thirds of the change points occurred. In these cases,the PoU increased from 2015 onwards, and this can be linked to severe droughts driven by El Niño in 2015–2016. A closer review reveals that many countries have witnessed periods of increased undernourishment over the past years; however, during the period of the ENSO event of 2015–2016 this change across so many countries contributed to a reversal of the PoU trend at the global level.

This association is further corroborated by a number of studies that show a strong link between drought and stunting in children. For example, drought events in Bangladesh are associated with a higher stunting rate around five and nine months after the beginning of the drought event. In rural Zimbabwe, one- to two-year olds exposed to drought face significantly lower growth velocity compared to children of the same age living in areas with average rainfall. In sub-Saharan Africa, warmer and drier climates are related to declining food availability and increased prevalence estimates of childhood stunting

Climate variability and extremes are among the key drivers behind the rise in hunger.

Increased exposure to climate variability and extremes

Exposure of countries to climate variability and extremes is also a rising trend. In 2017, the average of the PoU in countries with high exposure to climate shocks was 3.2 percentage points above that of countries with low or no exposure. Even more striking is that countries with high exposure have more than doubled the number of undernourished people as those without high exposure.

FIGURE 25

Higher prevalence and number of undernourished people in countries with high exposure to climate extremes

  • Number of undernourished 2017 (millions)
  • Prevalence of undernourishment 2017

NOTES: Prevalence (unweighted) and number of undernourished people in low- and middle-income countries with high and low exposure to climate extremes during the period of 2011–2016. Countries with high exposure are defined as being exposed to climate extremes (heat, drought, floods and storms) for more than 66 percent of the time, i.e. for more than three years in the period 2011–2016; low exposure is three years or less. See Annex 2 for the list of countries with high exposure to climate extremes and methodology.
See Annex 2, for the full definition of EM-DAT disasters.
SOURCE: C. Holleman, F. Rembold and O. Crespo (forthcoming). The impact of climate variability and extremes on agriculture and food security: an analysis of the evidence and case studies. FAO Agricultural Development Economics Technical Study 4. Rome, FAO, for classification of countries with high and low exposure to climate extremes; FAO for data on prevalence of undernourishment.

A high dependence on agriculture, as measured by the number of people employed in the sector, leaves the PoU 9.6 percentage points higher (25 percent). For low-income countries, the increase is equal to 13.6 percentage points (29 percent).

The finding is different for middle-income countries where the rise in PoU is less pronounced and occurs later (from 2015–2016). This tends to indicate that middle-income countries were able to absorb the impacts of increased exposure to climate extremes, but may not have been able to cope as well in the 2015–2016 period, possibly due to the severity of exposure to El Niño.

Other factors may have also come into play during this period, for example the economic slowdowns that many Latin American countries experienced, which reduced the fiscal environment to implement social programmes and thus diminished these countries’ capacity to cope with the aftermath of extreme climate events.

Extreme events & food crises

While hunger is on the rise, it is equally alarming that the number of people facing crisis-level food insecurity continues to increase.

In 2017, almost 124 million people across 51 countries and territories faced “crisis” levels of acute food insecurity or worse, requiring immediate emergency action to safeguard their lives and preserve their livelihoods. This represents an increase compared to 2015 and 2016, when 80 and 108 million people, respectively, faced crisis levels.

Climate related disasters account now for more than 80 percent of all major internationally reported disasters.

In 34 of these 51 countries, more than 76 percent of the total populations facing crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse – nearly 95 million people – were also affected by climate shocks and extremes. Where conflict and climate shocks occur together, the impact on acute food insecurity is more severe. In 2017, 14 out of the 34 food-crisis countries experienced the double impact of both conflict and climate shocks, which led to significant increases in the severity of acute food insecurity.

Floods cause more climate-related disasters globally than any other extreme climate event, with flood-related disasters seeing the highest increase – 65 percent – in occurrence over the last 25 years. The frequency of storms is not increasing as much as that of floods, but storms are the second most frequent driver of climate-related disasters.

Climate variability impact on all dimensions of Food Security

The majority of people most vulnerable to climate shocks and natural hazards are the world’s 2.5 billion small-scale farmers, herders, fishers and forest-dependent communities, who derive their food and income from renewable natural resources.

In 2015-2016, the drought caused by El Niño resulted in losses of 50-90 percent of the crop harvest in the dry corridor, especially in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Climate variability and extremes have the strongest direct impact on food availability, given the sensitivity of agriculture to climate and the primary role of the sector as a source of food and livelihoods for the rural poor. However, the overall fallout is far more complex and greater than the impacts on agricultural productivity alone.

Climate variability and extremes are undermining all dimensions of food security: food availability (with losses in productivity that undermine food production and increase food imports); food access (causing spikes in food prices and volatility, especially following climate extremes, income loss for those who depend on agriculture); food utilization and food safety (worsened or reduced dietary consumption, reduced quality and safety of food because of crop contamination, outbreaks of pests and diseases because of rainfall intensity or changes in temperature.

Climate variability puts all aspects of food security at risk: the amount of food produced, people’s access to it, people’s ability to absorb nutrients and the safety of the food itself.

Direct and indirect climate-driven impacts have a cumulative effect, leading to a downward spiral of increased food insecurity and malnutrition.

As mentioned, an obvious impact is that climate variability and extremes negatively affect agricultural productivity, in terms of changes in crop yields (the amount of agricultural production harvested per unit of land area), cropping areas (area planted or harvested), or cropping intensity (number of crops grown within a year).

FIGURE 30

Crop and livestock sub-sectors incur the highest damages and losses in agriculture due to climate-related disasters, of which drought is the most destructive, 2006–2016

A) Damage and loss in agriculture as share of total damage and loss across all sectors by type of hazard

B) Damage and loss in agriculture by agricultural sub-sector, percentage share of total

NOTES: FAO, based on Post Disaster Needs Assessments (PDNA), 2006–2016. The sectors of fisheries, aquaculture and forestry often are under-reported. Impact of disasters on forestry is generally acknowledged in assessments, although rarely quantified in monetary terms.
See Annex 2, for the full definition of EM-DAT disasters.
SOURCE: FAO. 2018. The impact of disasters and crises on agriculture and food security 2017. Rome.

In addition, climate variability and extremes also affect food imports as countries try to compensate for domestic production losses. The impacts on production will inevitably translate into loss of income for people whose livelihoods depend on agriculture and natural resources, reducing their ability to access food.

Another factor is spikes in food prices and volatility follow climate extremes. Climate anomalies, and in particular extreme events, alter agricultural yields, production and stocks. Episodes of high food price volatility pose a major threat to food access, especially in low- and middle-income countries and among poorer groups in high-income countries. The impact of price spikes and volatility not only falls heaviest on the urban poor, but also of small-scale food producers, agriculture labourers and the rural poor who are net food buyers.

Climate variability and extremes also lead to income loss for those whose livelihoods depend on agriculture and natural resources, which then negatively impact food access as households have less resources to purchase food. Household studies provide evidence that access to food and income of small family agriculture households is negatively impacted by climate variability and extremes. There is also evidence that climate shocks not only affect the level of income, but affect also the variability of incomes.

The impact of price volatility falls heaviest on net food buyers, which are not only the urban poor, but also small-scale food producers, agriculture labourers and the rural poor.

Changes in climate also heavily impact nutrition through impaired nutrient quality and dietary diversity of foods produced and consumed; impacts on water and sanitation, with their implications for patterns of health risks and disease; and changes in maternal and child care and breastfeeding.

Households adopt coping strategies in response to food and income reductions and increased prices following climate shocks. Coping strategies, including eating fewer meals per day and less at each meal, skipping meals and eating less nutrient-dense foods and/or more calorie-dense foods high in fat, sugars and salt, compromise dietary diversity and quality.

More erratic rainfall and higher temperatures along with other extreme events affect the quality and safety of food. Changing climate conditions and extremes such as temperature and humidity can lead to increased contamination of water and food. Even increased contamination of water used for irrigation can affect the safety of crops and animals that consume them, as well as the resulting food output. Unsafe water and food create a vicious cycle of diarrhoea and malnutrition, threatening the nutritional status of the most vulnerable.

Studies have linked El Niño events with increased incidence of disease in human populations. In East Africa, over half of El Niño occurrences have been accompanied by corresponding Rift Valley Fever outbreaks.

Furthermore, climate extremes often directly affect human health through changes in temperature and precipitation and natural hazards. These increase the risk of disease, which further compromises food security and nutrition. Disease interferes with the body´s ability to absorb nutrients, which can negatively affect the nutritional status of adults and children.

Climate-related disasters create and sustain poverty, contributing to increased food insecurity and malnutrition as well as current and future vulnerability to climate extremes. They also have impacts on livelihoods and livelihoods assets – especially of the poor – contributing to greater risk of food insecurity and malnutrition. Prolonged or recurrent climate extremes lead to diminished coping capacity, loss of livelihoods, distress migration and destitution.

Climate resilience is one solution. It is important to strengthen food systems and people’s livelihoods to anticipate and adapt to the effects of climate variability and extremes.

Climate Resilience

Addressing climate variability and extremes and their impact on food security and nutrition requires a focus on resilience. Context-specific interventions aimed at anticipating, limiting, and adapting to the effects of climate variability and extremes and building the resilience of livelihoods, food systems and nutrition to climatic shocks and stresses.

Scaled-up actions across sectors are urgently needed to strengthen the resilience of livelihoods and food systems to climate variability and extremes. Such actions should take place through integrated disaster risk reduction and management and climate change adaptation policies, programmes and practices with short-, medium- and long-term vision

Implementation of climate resilience policies and programmes means adopting and refitting tools and interventions such as: risk monitoring and early warning systems; emergency preparedness and response; vulnerability reduction measures; shock-responsive social protection, risk transfers and forecast-based financing; and strong risk governance structures in the environment–food–health system nexus.

Solutions require increased partnerships, enhanced risk management capacities and multi-year, predictable large-scale funding of disaster risk reduction and management and climate change adaption policies, programmes and practices.

Source

http://www.fao.org/state-of-food-security-nutrition/en/

World Food Day: How IITA is addressing food security in Africa, by IITA Boss

World Food Day: How IITA is addressing food security in Africa, by IITA Boss

GODWIN ATSER, Ibadan

Research outputs by Africa Food Prize winner, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and its national partners are helping farmers to come out of poverty, creating jobs and demonstrating the possibility of having a prosperous African continent, says the Director-General of IITA, Dr Nteranya Sanginga today.

Addressing stakeholders at the Food Security Future Summit held at the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, on Wednesday, Dr Sanginga said: “what is needed in Africa is the political and collective will to act.”

He noted that Africa could achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (especially goal number 2 also known as Zero Hunger)  by 2030 if governments on the Continent  made a departure from mere rhetoric to taking action.

Looking at global trends, the IITA boss said that by 2050, Africa’s population will double.

“What that means is that we will have to feed more people. We will need more jobs for our youths. We will need more land, water, etc to produce food.

“Clearly, if we continue with a business as usual approach, we will be in trouble,” he added.

The director general also spoke on the disturbing trends of youth unemployment in Africa, citing that in Nigeria, between 2001 and 2010; 22 million young people entered the labour market in search for jobs.

“Some of these young people end up without decent jobs. In spite of our arable land, majority of African farmers are poor—most of them living on less than two dollars a day. Again malnutrition is widespread. So, we need to act and change this narrative!” Dr Sanginga who was represented by Godwin Atser, IITA Communication & Knowledge Exchange Expert said.

Dr Sanginga, however, said that there was a ray of hope for the continent and he cited some of the achievements made by IITA which culminated in the winning of the Africa Food Prize as a centre for research excellence.

He said the youth program at IITA, that is providing decent jobs for young people in agriculture, was a model that African nations could embrace and replicate to solve youth unemployment on the continent.

He also noted that some of the breakthroughs if scaled out could lift Africa out of poverty and bring the continent on the path of prosperity. These include IITA improved varieties of cassava, maize, soybean, yam, banana/plantain, and cowpea that are resistant to pest and diseases, and high yielding.

“Besides, we also have several other initiatives/projects that have demonstrated how countries can transform agriculture. For instance, the IITA Cassava Weed Management Project clearly demonstrates the possibility of doubling cassava yield from the current national average of 10 tons/ha to more than 20 tons per ha,” he added.

The summit, which had the theme: The Role of Stakeholders in Harnessing Nigeria’s Agricultural Potential for Food Security, Nutrition and Sustainable Development,was organised by the Community Action on Food Security Initiative—a non-governmental organisation as part of activities to mark the World Food Day.

The Convener of the Summit, Azeez Akanni Salawu said the objective of the summit was to spark critical discussions, inspire, engage, network, connect and form a formidable partnership that will be based on investing in food security and rural development leading to the achievement of the SDGs.

Celebrating a Renewed Commitment to U.S. Leadership in Global Food Security

Celebrating a Renewed Commitment to U.S. Leadership in Global Food Security

Celebrating a Renewed Commitment to U.S. Leadership in Global Food Security

We sincerely applaud bipartisan congressional leaders for the recent enactment of the Global Food Security Act (GFSA). At the height of particular partisan rancor, this broadly supported bipartisan legislation passed with overwhelming support in the United States House of Representatives and Senate this month. We thank the bipartisan lead sponsors: Senators Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA); Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ); Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN); Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), who is chairman of the respective committees of jurisdiction; and Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA) as well as the nearly 150 House and Senate cosponsors for their continued leadership in food security as an enduring priority in U.S. international development work. Senators Richard G. Lugar (R-IN) and Casey (D-PA) laid the foundation for this important legislation a decade ago.

Food security’s place at the global development table is now cemented with this five-year reauthorization. The law supports the federal government’s leadership already underway to implement a comprehensive strategy for U.S. foreign assistance to reduce global poverty and hunger. Originally enacted in 2016, the GFSA may now continue to sustain adequate investment, attention, and coordination around global agricultural development, food security, and poverty alleviation.

The GFSA will help future administrations maintain a mechanism to bring together the resources, programs, and policy expertise of multiple agencies of the federal government and important nongovernmental participants to address food security in developing countries. It brings together a multifaceted approach, including research, to ensure the thriving of the right seeds in challenging environments, support for the creation of new market value chains, and better opportunities for smallholder income.

Further, with the law’s five-year reauthorization, we see great opportunity to better align U.S. policy in this space and strengthen programs with private sector and civil society investment. This alignment will bolster country-led efforts, strengthen local capacity, and make the critically important connection among agricultural development, nutrition, and health. We look with enthusiasm for long-term results in continuing the downward trend in child stunting that now affects more than 150 million children under the age of five and increasing economic growth by raising individual and family income.

Our vision is of a world where safe, affordable, and nutritious food is produced in every country in ways that are socially inclusive and environmentally responsible and that the global food system is more diverse, secure, and sustainable. Working together across the globe on this goal means fewer people go hungry. It also means producers of all sizes are able to sustain the health of their families, land, and animals, contribute to the economic growth of their communities, and benefit from high-quality education, health care, and career opportunities.

At a time of great division in American politics, it is heartening to see an example of how we can work together to address hunger and poverty, thus building a safer, more stable and prosperous world. Congratulations to all who worked to secure passage of this important law.

Connie Veillette, PhD, is a senior fellow at the Lugar Center and was a senior professional staff member at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under the leadership of top-ranking Republican Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana during the time that he introduced the first Global Food Security Act legislation. She has also worked in the House of Representatives and the Congressional Research Service.

Deborah Atwood is board chair of ACDI/VOCA, executive director of AGree, and a senior fellow at Meridian Institute. She has over 35 years of policy and legislative experience in food, agriculture, environmental and international development.

CAS Ababu Urges FAO to Support Counties in Food Security Drive

CAS Ababu Urges FAO to Support Counties in Food Security Drive

CAS with FAO Deputy Director General Mr Daniel Gustafson.

Foreign Affairs CAS Hon Ababu Namwamba today paid a courtesy visit to Mr. Daniel Gustafson, Deputy Director General of Programs at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters in Rome, Italy.

Hon Ababu thanked FAO for their work in Kenya and their global contribution towards eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. He assured the Director General of the Government’s commitment to FAO and in particular operations of the Country Office in Kenya. He delivered appreciation of the Kenya government for the support FAO has extended to the forthcoming Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi. FAO has made a donation to the conference budget, and DDG Gustafson confirmed to CAS Ababu that the organisation would send a high level delegation to the conference.

Hon Ababu urged FAO to align its programs and cooperation to the government’s big four agenda championed by President Uhuru Kenyatta that focuses attention on food and nutrition and security, manufacturing including agro-processing, universal health care and affordable housing. He further briefed DDG Gustafson on devolution and asked that FAO initiates programs to directly and actively support counties. “Devolution has transformed the development model in Kenya. Counties and the emerging regional blocks are swiftly becoming exciting magnets for investment and epicenters of growth and prosperity. I invite FAO to take advantage of this and tailor programs to work with counties especially in the areas of food and nutritional security, value chain enhancement and agri-processing”, CAS Ababu told Mr. Gustafson.

FAO was established in 1945 as a specialized agency of the United Nations with focus on agriculture, nutrition and food security. It has a network of sub-offices throughout Kenya in Coast and Eastern region as well as West Pokot.

2019 Kuwait Foundation Al-Sumait Africa Prize 2019 for food security

2019 Kuwait Foundation Al-Sumait Africa Prize 2019 for food security

Application Deadline: April 30th 2019

His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Amir of the State of Kuwait, presented an initiative to the third African Arab Summit hosted by the State of Kuwait in November 2013 in support of the development of African Nations. The initiative establishes an annual award named after the late Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sumait, a Kuwaiti medical doctor who dedicated his life to raising funds to support humanitarian and charity work for health, education and food projects for the less fortunate in African Nations.

The award title is ‘Al-Sumait prize’ for advances in the fields of Food Security, Health and Education in the African continent. The prize is to be awarded annually to individuals or institutions within one of these fields and has a value of $1,000,000 (One million US dollars).

The objective of the prize

The objective of the prize is the recognition and appreciation of the best studies, scientific projects, applied research and innovation that have made a significant and lasting influence in advancing progress to economic and social development on the continent of Africa. The awarded projects should help African nations overcome poverty, hunger, lack of potable water, injustice or to improve health care, literacy and the allocation of economic resources. The prize should also highlight successes within the following areas: Food Security, Health and Education.

Prize:

A cash sum of $1,000,000 (one million US dollars) is awarded annually to an individual or organization within one of the three fields mentioned above along with a gold medal and certificate of recognition. The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) and the Board of Trustees for the prize will oversee the prize.

KFAS will provide administrative and logistic support and cover their costs. The announcement of the prize and an invitation for submission of nominations will be advertised annually in one of the areas of the prize, via social media and on the KFAS and Al-Sumait prize websites as well as by invitation email and advertisements.

Requirements:

  1. The nominated candidates’ research work or projects and initiatives must be innovative and must have achieved high-impact in line with international standards for the prize.
  2. The submitted work must be of paramount importance in promoting significant economic, social, human resources and infrastructure development in the African continent within the announced field of the prize.
  3. Submitted research work of a nominated candidate should be composed of studies and applied research, published in referred journals and recognized at a global level within the announced field. The research outcomes need to have been applied after publication in African countries within the past ten Adequate supporting evidence needs to be provided.
  4. Nominations are to be accepted from institutions and scientific centers (universities, institutes and centers of scientific research) as well as from competent regional or international and UN organizations and awards and former winners in the field of the prize or former evaluation members Nominations will only be accepted through institutions or other possible nominators mentioned above.
  5. All submissions must be submitted in English. If the work is carried out in other working UN languages, a comprehensive summary of the nominated work in English must be submitted.
  6. The nomination form and submitted works must be received before 30/04/2019

Visit the Official Webpage of the 2019 Kuwait Foundation Al-Sumait Africa Prize 2019