There is Enough Food in the World, But the Hungry Can’t Get to It

More than three decades ago, the United Nations named October 16 World Food Day in honor of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on that day in 1945.  World Food Day provides a spotlight on the global problem of hunger, which is not a problem of too little food in the world, but of poverty and lack of access to food.  In 2012 that light is shining on Sub Saharan Africa, where, according to FAO, there are 64 million more chronically undernourished people today than there were 20 years ago.

As expected, the reasons for this increase are complex and include politics, economics and injustice. But through research, there is a better understanding of underlying evidence about how we might be able to start to reduce hunger in the countries of Africa.

More than half of the poor in Sub Saharan Africa live in rural areas and rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.  A recent report by the International Food Policy Research Institute finds that while improving overall economic growth is important to reducing poverty in African countries, improving agriculture has the largest impact on reducing poverty rates, particularly when the focus is on staple crops like maize, wheat and cassava.  Since agriculture is the economic driver in rural areas, improving agriculture not only reduces hunger, it reduces poverty.

A number of Aid for Africa members focus on agricultural development in the region, including EcoAgricuture Partners, which is working in East Africa to identify strategies for landscapes that produce food and support livelihoods while protecting environmental diversity, and ICIPE, based in Kenya, which works to improve agriculture and the environment throughout Africa through the study of the benefits and harms of insects.

Rural farmers are using small irrigation pumps developed by KickStart International to produce crops year-round, and the Earth Institute works throughout Africa to ensure the sustainability of agriculture, clean water access, and nutrition. Finally, the vast majority of microfinance projects funded by Aid for Africa organizations in rural areas are for sustainable agriculture. We have learned that through agriculture, there is great leverage to improve the lives of  those living in the region.

As part of our commitment to African agriculture, Aid for Africa has created the Aid for Africa Endowment for Food and Sustainable Agriculture at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition in Boston, Massachusetts. The Endowment supports graduate research on food security and poverty reduction in Sub Saharan Africa. Through the Endowment, Aid for Africa is strengthening its focus on expanding sustainable agriculture, building capacity to solve agricultural problems in Sub Saharan Africa, and supporting our outreach on African issues.

Related Stories:

Dispatches from Ethiopia

How Superhero Kids Could Ease Troubles in Kenya

Literacy Libraries Change Lives in Africa


Fiona T.
Fi T.3 years ago

This is the matter of uneven distribution of resources

Stelios A.
Stelios A.3 years ago

thanks for this article

Colleen Prinssen
Colleen Prinssen3 years ago

don't forget population growth. and the fact some places will have what is called a grey tsunami. where the elderly population will heavy outweigh others.

Gysele van Santen

thank you for sharing.

Debbie L.
Debbie Lim4 years ago

Microfinancing is such a great idea. It gives people the chance to grow and to start a business. They should also give a lot of workshops to help them learn different things to sustain themselves. I think permaculture should be taught to everyone.

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen4 years ago

Thank you

Liliana G.
Liliana Garcia4 years ago

"and supporting our outreach on African issues" What African issues? No offense but I shiver at the thought of what USA ruling elite might define as "African issues", even more so, knowing the grip Big Money (and the Defense Department) has over universities.

Ros G.
Ros G.4 years ago

William S. Perhaps on some continents the population is shrinking - if this is the case then it's through peoples' choices where they are available. Abortion is at the end of the spectrum not the beginning - there are many forms of birth control. That being said each and every person living on this planet deserves enough nutrious food on their table each day and every day. We can help by supporting these agencies - if you can't give them food - or you can't donate money - you can use your clink-to-donate button or your butterfly credits to give a helping hand.

Desiree Ponton
Desiree P.4 years ago

Kindness in action is so beautiful. Thanks for the article.

Cheryl I.
Past Member 4 years ago

Thank you.