This past week, the Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) discussed Angolan anti-poverty goals. Specifically, Director General José Graziano de Silva stated that the Angolan government is prioritizing the reduction of the country’s poverty rate by one half.

The Brazilian diplomat went on to remind his audience of the extreme conflict situations that Angola has faced in the past. He stressed that the country had all of its farming fields contaminated by landmines, but ended on a positive note, stating that the country is now recovering extraordinarily.

He made it clear that he wants Angola to serve as an example for other countries. For African countries still facing similar conflicts, the FAO is doing all that it can to spread the word of Angola’s experience.

For Angola specifically, the FAO has pledged its willingness to provide help and cooperation in fields such as agriculture, rural development, forests, fisheries and all other necessary focus areas. The hope is that, with time, these types of assistance will be provided across the entire continent.

Deputy Permanent Representative of Angola to the U.N. Agencies in Rome, Carlos Amaral, echoed the FAO Director General’s enthusiasm and determination. When asked about the situation of poverty rates and hunger in Angola, he boasted of the country’s recent accomplishments.

Amaral revealed to his audience that, although in the past the country hosted 6.8 million undernourished people, current records show only 3.2 million people suffering from malnourishment. He stated, “There is still work to be done regarding poverty reduction, but anyways there are indications that Angola is on the right track.”

Along with Angola, African countries like Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda and Uganda have been making notable strides in poverty reduction. They all share the same strategy: making a commitment to their own agricultural development.

For low-income farmers, lack of access to the capital required to help adapt their outputs to market demands presents a major issue. The protection of certain resources, such as access to proper land, water and human resources, could potentially allow all of Africa to achieve a sustainable food security system.

Continued urbanization amidst a growing population will create continued agricultural growth in Africa. Between 2000 and 2010, Africa’s agricultural GDP grew 3.2% each year. This was an increase from the previous decade, in which it grew by only 3% annually.

This moderate growth in the agricultural sector has helped to greatly reduce poverty levels in many African countries. With the FAO’s pledge to increase efforts in providing access to agricultural resources, Africa can now look ahead to an even brighter future.

Existing programs that target the agricultural sector, such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme and the African Green Revolution, have already gotten the ball rolling.

With a continued broad emphasis on agricultural development and improved focus in areas like protecting resources, creating wealth, and defining strategy and investment, Africa could redefine itself as a continent. It could shift from a continent known for poverty and scarcity to one filled with abounding agricultural potential.

Sarah Bernard

Sources: All Africa 1, All Africa 2, Huffington Post
Photo: VOA

End Starvation
Nearly 25,000 people die every day from starvation. While in richer countries nutrition isn’t always a paramount problem, there are still 947 million people living in developing nations who are undernourished; we have the ability to help lower this number. Below are a list of ways you can help easily end starvation.

1. Raise Money

During the 2011 East African famine, relief organizations such as Save The Children and UNICEF launched campaigns to raise money for feeding starving children. By using clear and simple incentives (“just $10 can feed a child for seven days!”), smart organizations allowed even those halfway across the world to help those in need. Donating money is simple, easy and can usually be done online with just a click of a button.

2. Urge your Congressional Leaders to Support Crucial Legislation

Calling or emailing your congressional leaders is a simple and a sure way to increase their chances of supporting a bill which could save millions of lives. One such bill still waiting to be passed in the House of Representatives is the Global Food Security Act of 2013, which would improve nutrition and strengthen agriculture development in developing countries. Other similar legislation that could use your support includes the Food Aid Reform Act and Water for the World Act.

3. Limit Your Daily Intake

Over the past three decades, the average intake of dietary fats has dramatically increased in almost every country except Africa. With a recommended range from between 15 to 35 percent, we are seeing a stark contrast in dietary intake. In fact, many countries in North America and Western Europe exceeded this recommended daily intake, while countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia fell dramatically below.

Despite our growing intake, we are quickly running out of natural resources. In an overpopulated world, it is up to each of us to individually be cognizant of our daily intake. By limiting our intake in richer countries, we are ensuring that our world is capable of growing enough food in the first place for all of our global citizens.

By helping others who suffer from malnutrition, we are also helping ourselves in return. The most common causes of death around the world—including heart disease, obesity, cancer and chronic illness—can be a result of unhealthy eating habits.

By remaining aware that we have a much larger role in helping to end global hunger and poverty than we may believe, we can help put an end to millions of those going to sleep hungry at night.

– Nick Magnanti

Sources: CNN, Borgen Project, McCollum House, Food for the Poor, Green Facts, Green Facts 2
Photo: Action ContrelAfaim