US and India Collaborate on Wheat ResearchThe United States and India have teamed up to develop new wheat varieties. This multimillion-dollar project aims to create new types of wheat that can live in high temperatures. In response to global warming, there is an overwhelming need for such wheat varieties since this plant does not easily adjust to changes in temperature. Given that wheat is a significant component of people’s diets around the world, scientists recognize the urgency behind this project.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the Directorate of Wheat Research (DWR) are funding the experiment. Although scientists from the US and India are involved, the project is led by an Indian American from Washington State University.

The new wheat varieties will help with the U.S. and Indian anti-hunger campaigns and the US’s Feed the Future food security program. Hopefully, we will begin to see the new wheat relatively soon. USAID has set a goal of developing the first set of “climate-resilient varieties” within five years.

As the planet continues to get warmer and the population increases, it is vital for global food security that the scientists are successful. The current wheat becomes less productive when temperatures are about 82 degrees Fahrenheit and lose four percent productivity with every few degrees of increase in temperature.

The method behind developing heat resistant wheat is complicated. “Researchers will combine conventional breeding and newly developed breeding tools to identify genes or sets of genes associated with heat tolerance, a rarely studied trait with outsized importance in yields,” writes Business Line.

Together, scientists from Washington State University, Kansas State University, and DuPont Pioneer, a seed manufacturer, along with India’s Directorate of Wheat Research and National Bureau of Plant Genetics Resources and four other Indian universities, are confident they can successfully develop the new wheat within five years.

– Mary Penn

Source: Business Line
Photo: Agriculture Corner

Canadian Research Fund Fights World HungerTechnology, science and research are integral tools in the fight against world hunger and poverty.  The Canadian government has taken important steps toward funding new efforts to fight global poverty and hunger. Last week the Canadian government announced its contribution to the second phase of the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund, also known as CIFSRF.  This fund is using science and technology partnerships to try to find new solutions to battle the global epidemic of hunger and poverty.

The Canadian government is committed to improving food security for those most in need around the globe. They are using collaborative efforts contributed by universities, businesses, and non-governmental organizations to bring new perspectives to the problem. The Canadian research fund is developing a strategy that many other countries could learn from- the United States included. Canada’s research fund is striving to work with developing country researchers to respond to not only the immediate food needs on the ground but also working towards providing long-term strategies to effectively combat long-lasting poverty problems.

The second phase of the CIFSRF is working towards connecting research results to public and private sector organizations for distribution on a larger scale. Additionally, this stage has called for greater participation by women, a vital step in the eradication of global poverty. A majority of the world’s poor are women, and increased participation in the labor force is an incredibly important step in helping women escape the cycle of poverty.

The ultimate goal of CIFSRF is to provide sustainable results that will create long-term solutions in developing nations. Along with economic benefits, the Canadian organization would like to help bring about positive social change. It is refreshing to see results and improvement. This program has already managed to use nanotechnology to create an innovative packaging system that was able to significantly reduce the post-harvest loss of mangoes for farmers in India and Sri Lanka. It will be exciting to see what the second phase of the program will be able to produce.

Caitlin Zusy
Source Nano Werk
Photo AP/Aijaz Rahi

When it comes to Global Poverty, there are more than a few questions that are consistently asked. How many people are living in poverty? What kind of progress has been made? How much does it cost to eliminate world Hunger? Is global hunger a solvable problem? While these questions seem difficult, their answers are relatively simple. The World Food Programme has complied a list of 10 things one should know about World Hunger in 2013 to help clarify the problem and launch the world into action to eliminate hunger across the globe.

1. Approximately 870 million people in the world do not eat enough to be healthy. That means that one in every eight people on Earth goes to bed hungry each night.

2. The number of people living with chronic hunger has declined by 130 million people over the past 20 years. For developing countries, the prevalence of undernourishment has fallen from 23.2 to 14.9 percent over the period 1990–2010.

3. Most of the progress against hunger was achieved before 2007/08. Since then, global progress in reducing hunger has slowed and leveled off.

4. Hunger is number one on the list of the world’s top 10 health risks. It kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

5. A third of all deaths in children under the age of five in developing countries is linked to under nutrition.

6. The first 1,000 days of a child’s life, from pregnancy through age two, are the critical window in which to tackle under nutrition. A proper diet in this period can protect children from the mental and physical stunting that can result from malnutrition.

7.  It costs just US $0.25 per day to provide a child with all of the vitamins and nutrients he or she needs to grow up healthy.

8.  If women in rural areas had the same access to land, technology, financial services, education and markets as men, the number of hungry people could be reduced by 100-150 million.

9. By 2050, climate change and erratic weather patterns could have pushed another 24 million children into hunger. Almost half of these children would be in sub-Saharan Africa.

10. Hunger is the single biggest solvable problem facing the world today.

-Kira Maixner
Source World Food Programme
Photo The Telegraph

Cody Belew of The Voice Fights World Hunger
Cody Belew of The Voice released his single “Say Love” on April 1. Proceeds from the song will benefit the non-profit anti-hunger organization Heifer International.

Cody Belew was raised on his family’s farm in Arkansas, near the Heifer International headquarters in Little Rock. As an adult he realized that Heifer had a tangible solution for ending world hunger, and decided to use his voice to support its goals.

“Say Love” is written as a call to action for everyone to become involved in the fight against hunger. Belew recently traveled to Ecuador to meet project families, and has also visited Heifer beneficiaries in his home state of Arkansas.

Heifer International fights poverty and hunger through sustainable contributions to struggling families and communities. Heifer International empowers families to become self-reliant by providing agricultural training and donations of livestock. In exchange for livestock and training, families who receive assistance from Heifer then pass on the animal’s offspring to another family in need. This strategy, known as Passing on the Gift, is at the heart of Heifer International’s mission to spread peace and security.

For information about how to help end world poverty and hunger through Heifer International, visit the organization’s Get Involved page. Click here to watch the video for “Say Love” by Cody Belew.

– Kat Henrichs

Source: Broadway World
Photo: Heifer International

Feeding the Hungry
Imagine living in a poverty stricken nation, where war is a continuous concern and where children are under-fed, sick, and hungry. Because of the situation, an aid worker has to choose between feeding the hungry and the hungriest. What would you do?

The unfortunate choice between choosing who to feed first will determine how many lives can be saved. As difficult as the decision is, feeding the hungriest child first is now recommended.

According to a new study by Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and the University of Bergen in Norway, aid and relief workers are recommended to provide as much emergency food to the starving as possible. These children should be at the greatest risk of dying and in need of food the most.The study says that giving an equal portion to every child will not satisfy or give them the right amount of nutritional value.

Lawrence Wein, author and Professor at Stanford said, “The goal is to minimize the number of disability-adjusted life years, most of which are due to childhood death.You do better by not doing blanket distribution. You take all the money that’s available and give out full doses, and that will perform better.”

The study included a focus on the “ready-for-use therapeutic foods” that they provide. Portable and easy to make, the food is filled with protein, vitamins, carbohydrates, and other nutrients.

The controversial study has outraged people because of its solution to feed only the hungriest  and not feed the less hungry. Wein continued to state his argument that the determination of choosing who to feed first is also based on emergency situations like disease and other metrics.

Jada Chin

Source: The Atlantic
Photo: Charity Connects

Upon winning an Oscar for her leading role in the film “Silver Linings Playbook”, Jennifer Lawrence fell as she ascended the stairs. While potentially embarrassing for anyone, Lawrence continued without a pause. Her charming demeanor and genuine personality were shining, so no one made any fuss about the incident. The actress’s charm is obviously authentic as Jennifer Lawrence has a proven history of charitable involvement for good causes.

While she was part of the cast in “The Hunger Games”, she and other co-stars partnered with the UN World Food Program (WFP) to raise money and awareness around the issues of global poverty and hunger. The movie itself deals with food scarcity and its subsequent social effects so the tie-in was natural.

“This partnership will help us spread the word that hunger is the world’s greatest solvable problem,” said Nancy Roman, Director of Communications of WFP. WFP is the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide.

Jennifer Lawrence also supports Feeding America and The Thirst Project, both non-profit organizations helping people overcome issues of poverty and food/water access.

Unlike Hunger Games, or global food shortages, the US does have enough food to feed everyone, it is just a matter of getting it to the millions of low-income people who need it. This is the concern of Feeding America.

– Mary Purcell

Video: Youtube

How Quinoa Can Lead to Nutritional SecurityFebruary 20th marked the beginning of the International Year of Quinoa, a project designed to raise awareness of the benefits of quinoa and its ability to bring nutritional security. The project was launched by the United Nations and the Andean Community of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru to help reach the Millenium Development Goal of reducing world hunger to a half by 2015.

Quinoa contains essential amino acids and vitamins, yet has no gluten. It is easy to grow because of its adaptability to different environments – thriving in below-freezing temperatures, as well as altitudes way above sea level. Thus, cultivating quinoa in areas with arid farming conditions and high malnutrition rates is both a possible and effective way to help combat global poverty and improve the standard of living in many countries. During the project’s launch, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon commented that the International Year of Quinoa will act as “a catalyst for learning about the potential of quinoa for food and nutrition security, for reducing poverty.”

Bringing awareness to the value of quinoa worldwide is beneficial not just to the fight against global hunger and poverty, but to quinoa farmers as well. As the price of quinoa rises due to its increased popularity with large companies, farmers that cultivate quinoa will experience higher incomes.

– Angela Hooks

Source: AllAfrica
Photo: NY Times

Gaming That Benefits the Global Poor

This is truly unique – a virtual trivia game that benefits the global poor. With every participant’s correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated to a collective pool of food aid. Five correct answers means that 50 grains are donated, and so on. The more you play, the more rice can be donated to help reduce global hunger. is a non-profit website that is owned and operated by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). All food aid resulting from the gaming is delivered through this UN agency. The entire project is made possible through sponsors who advertise on the site, and it is their money that is actually being used to buy the rice.

The mission of is two-fold:

  • Provide education to everyone for free
  • Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free

The questions themselves serve as the educational element of the site. Players can choose the category of questions they want from math, science, or even test preparation for the SATs. Questions get harder as as the game continues, forcing players to research the answers.

The website has tracked its progress, noted by grains of rice donated, since it started in 2007. 2008 was its first full year, and the site donated a total of 12,255,121,230 grains. To date, the total is 98,290,121,816 grains – feeding millions of people. WFP averages that about 400 grams of rice are needed to feed one person for a day (two meals). There are about 48 grains of rice in a gram, so by answering 40 questions correctly, a player can have the satisfaction of knowing that they have helped another person eat for a whole day.

As the game is played, and correct answers are given, a small bowel pictured on the screen fills with rice, which fills progressively to match the progress of the player. This serves to illustrate the importance of the project, and the player’s involvement in it. Best players and top group participation and impact are also posted on the site.

There is no register or sign-in for the game, and no need to do anything other than play the game with no strings attached. does have over a million registered gamers who are literally helping feed the world. Perhaps even greater than the immediate benefits of alleviating hunger is the residual impact of enabling people to fully function and be productive once their extreme hunger is no longer an issue.

– Mary Purcell




According to a campaign called Think.Eat.Save by the Save Food Initiative (a partnership between NEP, FAO and Messe Düsseldorf),  a third “of all food production world-wide gets lost or wasted in the food production and consumption systems. Almost half of this quantity is the result of retailers and consumers in industrialized regions who discard food that is fit for consumption.” This food is often discarded because it is considered unsellable by retailers or is bought and uneaten before reaching its expiration date. However, all of this food disposal adds up.

On a global scale, tackling food waste would save over $1 trillion dollars annually. Over 1.3 billion tons of food could be saved and used to help feed the approximately 900 million people that suffer from global hunger. According to the UK non-profit and food sustainability organization Waste & Resources Action, average savings are around $1,090 USD for individual families. Food waste is not just throwing away expired or funny shaped fruits and vegetables but also throwing away water, land, and agricultural efforts.

Think.Eat.Save is campaigning to make people more conscious shoppers, more aware of expiration dates, less likely to buy on impulse, and more accepting to funny shaped, yet edible, fruits and vegetables. Doing this, one can expect, will impact global hunger for the better, getting more edible food to those who need it and leading everyone to consume more carefully and consciously.

– Angela Hooks

Sources: NY Daily News, Think.Eat.Save
Photo Source: NY News Daily