Investing in Agriculture Growth to Alleviate Global Hunger and Poverty

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Speaking in Manila, Philippines, Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), emphasized the importance of agriculture growth to combat global hunger earlier this week. With food prices continue to increase worldwide—the FAO projects that they will grow by as much as 40 percent in the next ten years, Mr. Diouf emphasized the importance of increased agriculture funding for the Asia-Pacific area, home to two third of the world’s 1 billion people who are hungry.

In sub-Saharan Africa, countries like Liberia—where over 70 percent of the population depends on agriculture for food and income—have demonstrated how investing more in agriculture is already improving food security and economic independence. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

In 2009, the number of hungry people in the Asia Pacific region grew by over 60 million to more than 640 million, said Mr. Diouf. Agriculture accounts for more than half of total employment in the region and 11 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

“The sheer magnitude of food insecurity is the result of the low priority that has been given to agriculture in economic development policies,” said Mr. Diouf. But, citing the recent G8 Summit commitment to increase resources for food security and agriculture worldwide, Mr. Diouf said, “in view of the critical dependence of this region’s people on agriculture for their food security, it is encouraging to note that the long-standing neglect of agriculture is finally being reversed.”

In sub-Saharan Africa,  countries like Liberia—where over 70 percent of the population depends on agriculture for food and income—have demonstrated how investing more in agriculture is already improving food security and economic independence. And, to further this goal, State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet will highlight some of the agriculture innovations taking place on the ground now, throughout sub-Saharan Africa, which could potentially—with additional resources and financial support—help to alleviate hunger and poverty worldwide.

To read about funding for agriculture and how it can alleviate global hunger and poverty see: Tackling the Global Food Crisis, Successes in African Agriculture, Women Farmers: An ‘Untapped’ Resource, and  An Agricultural Success Story.

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