Sunday, July 05, 2009

Smallholder Farmers Can Boost Global Economy

Due to the global economic crises that has lowered incomes and increased unemployment, world hunger is projected to reach a record high in 2009 with 1.02 billion people being hungry on the daily, as their access to food is reduced, according to new estimates published by FAO on Tuesday.

"A dangerous mix of the global economic slowdown combined with stubbornly high food prices in many countries has pushed some 100 million more people than last year into chronic hunger and poverty," said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf. "The silent hunger crisis - affecting one sixth of all of humanity - poses a serious risk for world peace and security. We urgently need to forge a broad consensus on the total and rapid eradication of hunger in the world and to take the necessary actions."

Almost all of the world’s hungry reside in developing nations. In Asia and the Pacific, approximately 642 million people are chronically hungry; in Sub-Saharan Africa 265 million; in Latin America and the Caribbean 53 million; in the Near East and North Africa 42 million; and in developed countries 15 million in total.

Poor countries, Diouf said, require development, economic and policy tools needed to increase their agricultural production and productivity.

Smallholder farmers in developing countries make up much of the world’s poor. But, if helped, farmers not only have the potential to meet their own needs, said Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), but they can boost food security and stimulate overall economic growth. Providing smallholder farmers with access to not only seeds and fertilizers but tailored technologies, infrastructure, rural finance, and markets is vital.

"For most developing countries there is little doubt that investing in smallholder agriculture is the most sustainable safety net, particularly during a time of global economic crisis," Nwanze said.

Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme wholeheartedly agreed.

“The world must pull together to ensure emergency needs are met as long term solutions are advanced," Sheeran added.

-- Jaimie Hwang

Read more about the "grip of the crisis" here.

Source: Cattle Network