Jan 10, 2013, 9:10 AM
Worldwatch Institute yesterday released its report State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, which spotlights successful agricultural innovations and unearths major successes in preventing food waste, building resilience to climate change, and strengthening farming in cities.
The report provides a roadmap for increased agricultural investment and more-efficient ways to alleviate global hunger and poverty. Drawing from the world's leading agricultural experts and from hundreds of innovations that are already working on the ground, the report outlines 15 proven, environmentally sustainable prescriptions.
"The progress showcased through this report will inform governments, policymakers, NGOs, and donors that seek to curb hunger and poverty, providing a clear roadmap for expanding or replicating these successes elsewhere," said Worldwatch Institute President Christopher Flavin. "We need the world's influencers of agricultural development to commit to longstanding support for farmers, who make up 80 percent of the population in
State of the World 2011 comes at a time when many global hunger and food security initiatives-such as the Obama administration's Feed the Future program, the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP)-can benefit from new insight into environmentally sustainable projects that are already working to alleviate hunger and poverty.
Nearly a half-century after the Green Revolution, a large share of the human family is still chronically hungry. While investment in agricultural development by governments, international lenders and foundations has escalated in recent years, it is still nowhere near what's needed to help the 925 million people who are undernourished. Since the mid 1980s when agricultural funding was at its height, the share of global development aid has fallen from over 16 percent to just 4 percent today.
In 2008, $1.7 billion dollars in official development assistance was provided to support agricultural projects in
"The international community has been neglecting entire segments of the food system in its efforts to reduce hunger and poverty," said Danielle Nierenberg, co-director of Worldwatch's Nourishing the Planet project. "The solutions won't necessarily come from producing more food, but from changing what children eat in schools, how foods are processed and marketed, and what sorts of food businesses we are investing in."
Serving locally raised crops to school children, for example, has proven to be an effective hunger - and poverty-reducing strategy in many African nations, and has strong parallels to successful farm-to-cafeteria programs in the
State of the World 2011 draws from hundreds of case studies and first-person examples to offer solutions to reducing hunger and poverty. These include:
- In 2007, some 6,000 women in The Gambia organized into the TRY Women's Oyster Harvesting producer association, creating a sustainable co-management plan for the local oyster fishery to prevent overharvesting and exploitation. Oysters and fish are an important, low-cost source of protein for the population, but current production levels have led to environmental degradation and to changes in land use over the last 30 years. The government is working with groups like TRY to promote less-destructive methods and to expand credit facilities to low-income producers to stimulate investment in more-sustainable production.
- In Kibera,
- Pastoralists in
- The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) is using interactive community plays to engage women farmers, community leaders, and policymakers in an open dialogue about gender equity, food security, land tenure, and access to resources. Women in sub-Saharan
- Uganda's Developing Innovations in School Cultivation (DISC) program is integrating indigenous vegetable gardens, nutrition information, and food preparation into school curriculums to teach children how to grow local crop varieties that will help combat food shortages and revitalize the country's culinary traditions. An estimated 33 percent of African children currently face hunger and malnutrition, which could affect some 42 million children by 2025. School nutrition programs that don’t simply feed children, but also inspire and teach them to become the farmers of the future, are a huge step toward improving food security.
The State of the World 2011 report is accompanied by other informational materials including briefing documents, summaries, an innovations database, videos, and podcasts.
The project's findings are being disseminated to a wide range of agricultural stakeholders, including government ministries, agricultural policymakers, farmer and community networks, and the increasingly influential non-governmental environmental and development communities.In conducting this research, Worldwatch’s Nourishing the Planet project received unprecedented access to major international research institutions, including those in the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) system. The team also interacted extensively with farmers and farmers' unions as well as with the banking and investment communities.