Cutting World Hunger in Half
Pedro A. Sanchez and M. S. Swaminathan*
There are 854 million people in the world (about 14% of our population) who are chronically or acutely malnourished. [HN4] Most are in
Roughly 50% of the hungry are in smallholder farming households; 20% are the landless rural; 10% are pastoralists, fishers, and forest dwellers; and 20% are the urban hungry [HN8]. The Task Force has identified hunger hot spots, defined as the subnational units where the prevalence of underweight children (4) less than 5 years of age is at least 20%. The 313 hunger hot spots identified (see the figure below) indicate priority regions, as they cover 79% of the hungry.
Agricultural research has been a major driver of hunger reduction. The Task Force recommends doubling investments in national research to at least 2% of agricultural GDP by 2010. It also recommends that donors increase funding to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research to US$1 billion by 2010.
The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research is an alliance of countries, international and regional organizations, and private foundations supporting 15 international agricultural centers that has as its mission to contribute to sustainable improvements in the productivity of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries in developing countries in ways that enhance nutrition and well-being, especially for low-income people. IFPRI makes available an October 2003 discussion paper by R. Meinzen-Dick, M. Adato, L. Haddad, and P. Hazell titled "Impacts of agricultural research on poverty: Findings of an integrated economic and social analysis." The World Bank's Agriculture and Rural Development Department provides a resource page on agricultural research.
Increase agricultural productivity of food-insecure farmers. Small-scale farming families represent about half the hungry worldwide and probably three-quarters of the hungry in
Restoring soil health and other measures to increase agricultural productivity. ITDG (Intermediate Technology Development Group) offers a presentation on food production. The 5 July 2004 seminar titled "Innovative approaches to meeting the hunger MDG in
Improve nutrition for chronically hungry and vulnerable groups. Adequate nutrition lies at the heart of the fight against hunger.SNIPThe Task Force recommends that, where possible, locally produced foods be used, rather than imported food aid.