As UN announces evidence of rising global hunger, AfDB seeks partners to feed one billion hungry people

On September 11, 2018, the United Nations (UN) announced that new evidence in one of its reports is showing an increasing number of people in the world are hungry. According to the new UN report, The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2018 the number of people in the world who are hungry is reaching 821 million in 2017 or one in every nine people.

The report further indicates that limited progress is also being made in addressing the multiple forms of malnutrition, ranging from child stunting to adult obesity, putting the health of hundreds of millions of people at risk.

”Hunger has been on the rise over the past three years, returning to levels from a decade ago. This reversal in progress sends a clear warning that more must be done and urgently if the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger is to be achieved by 2030,” the report said.

It further notes that the situation is worsening in South America and most regions of Africa, while the decreasing trend in undernourishment that characterized Asia seems to be slowing down significantly.

The annual UN report found that climate variability affecting rainfall patterns and agricultural seasons, and climate extremes such as droughts and floods, are among the key drivers behind the rise in hunger, together with conflict and economic slowdowns.

Then last week, the African Development Bank, one of the leading multilateral organisations on the continent called on the rest of the world to join hands to feed the hungry.

The Bank on September 26, 2018, called on global partners to join hands to lift one billion people worldwide out of hunger, stating that it was leading the way by investing $24 billion in African agriculture over the next 10 years in the largest such effort ever.

“We are not winning the war against global hunger,” the Bank’s President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina told an agriculture conference at Purdue University in Indianapolis on Tuesday, 25 September.

According to Adesina, what was needed urgently was deployment of supportive policies to ensure technologies are cascaded down to millions of farmers in Africa.

“All Africa needs to do is to harness the available technologies with the right policies and rapidly raise agricultural productivity and incomes for farmers and assure lower food prices for consumers,” he said.

He noted that combining targeted subsidies for farmers with a market-based system for rapidly expanding access to financing for farmers and agricultural value chains is the fastest way to get many people out of poverty to a sustained pathway for economic growth.

The UN report calls for implementing and scaling up interventions aimed at guaranteeing access to nutritious foods and breaking the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition.

“Policies must pay special attention to groups who are the most vulnerable to the harmful consequences of poor food access: infants, children aged under five, school-aged children, adolescent girls, and women.

At the same time, a sustainable shift must be made towards nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems that can provide safe and high-quality food for all,” it said.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
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