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$70 Million Proposal for Food Security in UgandaIn an ambitious bid to invest in the roads, rice production, and village infrastructure necessary for future food security in Uganda, Parliament has requested over 70 million dollars from several African, Middle Eastern, and U.S. development banks. This money would go on to fund the Millennium Villages Project and the Masaka-Bukakata road project which will allow for better transportation of goods and supplies further bolstering commerce and economic opportunities.

Broken up into four separate requests which include $44 million from the IDB (Islamic Development Bank), $12 million from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (ABEDA), and $15 million from the OPEC Fund for International Development, the loans were laid out by the Minister for Finance to Parliament on February 12. Prior to moving forward with the loan requests, Members of Parliament expressed their desire for an official report on the performance of the current loans. Furthermore, the performance report must be presented to Parliament by Christmas as a prerequisite for any additional financing towards food security in Uganda.

If passed, these loans have the potential to increase both rice production and transportation and contribute greatly to overall development and food security in Uganda. Financial investments such as these are always good news, and serve as another step forward in the progressive march towards global food security.

– Brian Turner

Source: New Vision
Photo: AllAfrica

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Earlier this week, North Korea set off its latest nuclear test, defying United Nations resolutions in a move President Obama called “highly provocative” as he promised swift action from international allies and the U.N. Security Council. The latest nuclear test was the country’s most powerful to date and was North Korea’s response to “American hostility” which was quickly condemned by the international community, including the country’s only ally, China.

North Korea is one of the most poverty-stricken nations in the world, with ongoing drought and famine plaguing its population of nearly 24.5 million. The communist regime has continued to build up a large military and allocated resources to further its nuclear program, with attempts at showing military power including launching ballistic missiles, sending satellites into space and two prior nuclear tests. Marcus Noland, with the Peterson Institute for International Economics, concludes that “the development of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems is the central political goal of this regime.”

Famous for its secretive and oppressive government and numerous human rights offenses, it is estimated that nearly 2.5 million citizens have died since the continuous famine starting in the 1990s. Rural communities are still plagued by starvation and a serious food shortage – conditions that the government continually downplays to international agencies. Andrew Natsios, author of The Great North Korean Famine, states “the quid pro quo of food aid for scaling back the nuclear program has become a pattern in the authoritarian state, which then reneges on the deal.” Natsios also asserts that the current food shortage and severe poverty are affecting an entire generation of North Koreans, with no end in sight. Citing evidence of severe malnutrition, the average North Korean soldier is 10 inches shorter than his South Korean counterpart.

Despite the deplorable conditions, North Korea has continued to aggressively increase military and nuclear programs, having the “third-largest land army in Asia,” while an estimated 8.7 million people remain destitute and in need of food aid.

The United States and other international powers are encouraging new sanctions at the U.N. Security Council that will slow North Korea’s nuclear and long-range missile development, but the consequences of North Korea’s defiance of U.N. resolutions and defiance of its usual Chinese allies for much-needed food-aid are still unclear.

Christina Mattos Kindlon

Source: CBC News; US News

 

 

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According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), more than 870 million people throughout the world do not have access to food. Investment in farmers and agricultural programs in developing nations is heavily encouraged by the FAO in order to help alleviate the issue.

José Graziano da Silva, director-general of the FAO, stated that more agricultural investment needs to take place. Strategic investment has already proven to be one of the most effective means of combating global hunger. He asserted that not only is more investment needed but that investment needs to be “better.”

Graziano da Silva adds that national governments and the global community should be pushed to create a healthy economic environment where farmers have more access to investment, capital, and sustainable technology. He went on to praise Germany for its efforts since the country spends nearly 700 million euros annually on food security in developing countries.

Graziano da Silva’s remarks come just after the Institution of Mechanical Engineers announced that around 30-50 percent of all food produced globally is never eaten. His comments are also before the anticipated Agricultural Ministers’ Berlin Summit 2013, where greater food production efficiency and eradicating global hunger will be a frequent topic of discussion.

Christina Mattos Kindlon

Source: Blue & Green Tomorrow

 

 

 

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon with which you can change the world.” For those prepared and passionate to change the world with the key to success, at a time when it is increasingly harder to achieve credentials and training through limited courses and high student loans, websites such as ‘Coursera’ are becoming an effective means of sharing and teaching the information we need to know how to change the world.

For those who want to become involved in foreign policy and understand the interconnected economies of the global food system, Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health recently started a 6 week long free course entitled, “An Introduction to the U.S. Food System: Perspectives from Public Health”.

Taught by Robert S. Lawrence, M.D., this introductory course on food systems discusses “activities, people and resources involved in getting food from field to plate.” Food production in the United States deals with not only the agriculture sector but our country’s economy, the population’s general well being and health, and political issues impacting all corners of the world.

Dr. Lawrence has an extensive and highly respected background in public health. He is currently a Professor of Health Policy and International health and the Center for a Livable Future, an institution which he helped establish in 1996. He has sat on multiple committees and was the director of Health Sciences at the Rockefeller Foundation. Aside from himself, the course will also feature other faculty from the Center for a Livable Future as guest lecturers.

In order to create meaningful policy changes to reduce food insecurities and global poverty, courses such as this are extremely useful in introducing to the public the various connections that must be taken into consideration before embarking to ‘change the world’.

For someone with the desire to end world hunger, it is not enough to be equipped with a fire in their heart and a sociology degree in their hand.  By having widespread familiarity or in depth knowledge across multiple sectors, economics, diet and health, and global politics in this case, it will be easier to attack the problems we want to fix.

Deena Dulgerian

Source:coursera

Food Security in the Democratic Republic of CongoSometimes a little goes a long way. This principle guides the idea of investments when one hopes that an initial effort or resource will somehow profitably pay off at some point in the future. Institutionally and globally, this is how education has come to be understood. The power of education has recently begun to change the lives of farmers around the village of Buganda in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). There are programs that improve food security in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In a project facilitated through World View, 2,000 farmers had been brought into classes of 30 for a farmer field school meant to teach new and innovative agricultural techniques to farmers, including simple but extremely valuable practices such as drip irrigation and proper seed spacing. These techniques help to stretch valuable and limited resources and increase harvests to unprecedented yields.

The program also involves empowering women in their local communities, trying to make sure that equal and efficient work is understood by everyone and that no one is disadvantaged in the future.

The farmers in this project plan to form collectives and resource pools for the betterment of their community; after all, there is strength in numbers.

“Learning about improved techniques has enabled them to increase yields: where once they harvested two bags of cassava, now they get 15,” writes The Guardian.

The optimistic outlook for this project is that it will significantly help alleviate poverty for more subsistence farmers. As far as food security in the DRC goes, ongoing military conflict undermines the gains from improved methods because harvests and resources are taken by militias from both the DRC and Rwanda.

Thus, the prospects for food security in the DRC are uncertain. Societal innovation and destruction are continuously at odds but hopefully, when the violence ends, the farmers will be ready to produce sustainable quantities.

Nina Narang

Source: The Guardian
Photo: Catholic Relief Services