Essay 4: Farmers: The Key to Ending Global Hunger
By Tom Bolton on August 11, 2013
Here are the key points, but please do read the whole paper at the link above:
Every year, U.S. humanitarian assistance, such as food aid, eases the hunger of millions of people who have fled natural disaster or conflict. These are clearly emergencies. But worldwide, most hungry people are hungry or malnourished as a fact of their everyday lives. Chronic hunger and malnutrition sap the strength of adults trying to earn a living and the potential of children trying to learn.
The 2012 Africa Human Development Report identifies two areas of bias as “principal factors in explaining Africa’s food insecurity”—a bias toward towns rather than rural areas and a bias toward men rather than women.
Local farmers, most with less than five acres of land and little or no animal or mechanical power, bear most of the responsibility for feeding people in developing countries. Enabling small-scale farmers to increase their productivity is essential to reducing
hunger or even maintaining recent progress. More than 75 percent of the world’s hungry people are smallscale farmers or landless laborers. Fortunately, growth in the
agriculture sector is very effective in reducing poverty. (My Grandpa Bolton knew this, but lived far off the farm–poor most of his life. Grandpa Neville died of exhaustion on someone’s farm, knowing this, I think.)
Gender bias is a principal cause of hunger since women produce well over half of the global food supply and are more likely to spend additional income on food.
Nonetheless, few female farmers own the land they work, have the authority to make decisions about crops and livestock, or control their own incomes. New tools such as the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index help track progress toward
“Fortunately, boosting agricultural productivity has proven to be one of the best ways of reducing global poverty. Feed the Future, the U.S. global hunger initiative, reports that growth in the agriculture sector is at least twice as effective in reducing poverty as growth in other sectors. In fact, improvements in agriculture deserve the credit for much of the recent significant progress against hunger—which was at 14.9 percent of the world population in 2010-2012, down from 23.2 percent in 1990-1992.”
The information in the Bread For the World paper is compelling and detailed. I urge you to read it. Digest it. Share it!