Where exactly is hunger falling?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Democratic Republic of Congo, a country accounting for half the hunger in Africa

The last post on our Seeds blog discussed the implications of the new United Nations report on how many hungry people there are globally.

Going deeper into the report, it is clear there are large regional differences. In short, just about everywhere outside of Africa has seen some reductions in hunger, even though places like India still have hundreds of millions of hungry people.

But even in Africa the situation varies widely.  One country, the conflict-ridden Democratic Republic of Congo, accounts for half the hunger in Africa.

At the other end of the scale, Ghana (formerly known as Gold Coast in West Africa) is reported to have less than 5% of the population undernourished—down from about 45% in 1990.  Ghana accomplished this through strong economic growth whose benefits, thanks to deliberate government policies, were widely shared across the population.

Some of those policies were directed towards assisting smallholder farmers, particularly those growing cocoa and fruits and vegetables, whose incomes are reported in this year’s SOFI to have increased greatly.  Canadian government and NGO aid also played a role.

For those committed to ending hunger, the conclusions from this year’s hunger report are heartening.  At a time when many global issues seem to be getting worse, here is an exception.  And the example of countries like Ghana holds out hope to other food insecure countries.

At the same time, the growing awareness of malnutrition is changing the way we think about hunger.  The Foodgrains Bank network has already begun to look for better ways to use its resources to improve the quality of the diets of those it assists.

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