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September 20th, 2018 / B4FA.org

A recently released report titled State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has provided a current snapshot of the state of global food security. For the third year in a row, the report states, there has been a rise in world hunger with the number of people facing chronic food deprivation increasing to nearly 821 million in 2017, up from 804 million in 2016.

“The share of undernourished people in the world population – the prevalence of undernourishment, or PoU – may have reached 10.9 percent in 2017,” says the FAO. “Persistent instability in conflict-ridden regions, adverse climate events in many regions of the world and economic slowdowns that have affected more peaceful regions and worsened the food security, all help to explain this deteriorating situation.”

Africa is the hardest hit with a PoU of almost 21 percent of the population, or around 256 million people, and the situation is getting worse, says the report. Besides conflict-caused food insecurity, the FAO points to climate variability and extremes as a key driver of the rise in food crises and global hunger. “Food security and nutrition indicators can clearly be associated with an extreme climate event, such as a severe drought, that critically challenges agriculture and food production,” says the report. “Out of 27 countries with increasing change points in the prevalence of undernourishment occurring under severe drought stress conditions, most (19 countries) are in Africa, with the remaining four in Asia, three in Latin America and the Caribbean, and one in Eastern Europe.”

To help cope with these changing conditions,  farmers in Zimbabwe are being encouraged to grow small grains such as finger millet, oats, barley and sorghum to improve the country’s food resilience as such grains are nutrient rich as well as more drought resistant than the staple crop, maize. While maize fetches a higher price, small grains are less vulnerable to low rainfall, and production is up as maize production goes down. Agriculture experts and nutritionists are now training farmers to start growing small grains. Meanwhile, in semi-arid eastern Kenya, green grams are reported to be playing a similar role as increased cultivation and good harvests have improved livelihoods. In recent years, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) implemented a three-year program in this region to teach farmers to cultivate the leguminous drought-tolerant crop, giving maize farmers a more climate-resilient alternative. Profits from a bumper crop this year has allowed farmers to reinvest in their farms and send their children to school, says the report.

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Headlines

State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World
FAO

World hunger is on the rise for the third year in a row
Smithsonian

Global hunger continues to rise with Africa worst hit – UN report
AllAfrica

Small grains hold promise for alleviating food insecurity in Zimbabwe
Global Press Journal

Kenya’s arid regions food secure as cultivation of green grams gain traction
XinHuaNet

AgBio news

Ghana: SARI introduces new technology to boost yam production
Graphic Online

Researchers to improve iron toxicity tolerance and yield of rice in Africa
ISAAA

Tanzania: Foundation receives Sh4 billion grant to promote maize hybrids
The Citizen

Burkina Faso farmers call for return of Bt cotton
ISAAA

Methane-cutting GMO ‘super-grass’ could start new biotech crop debate in New Zealand
Genetic Literacy Project

Demystifying the science behind biotechnology
Alliance for Science

What’s the real story on glyphosate? New data reveals herbicide’s positive impact on agriculture
Genetic Literacy Project

Best practices

With ‘worm juice’, Kenya’s farmers boost their soil – and harvests
AllAfrica

Uganda: How to make your own quality feeds
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru

Biodiversity

ICARDA is regenerating massive amounts of crop wild relatives in their place of origin – the Fertile Crescent
Crop Trust

New global study reveals the ‘staggering’ loss of forests caused by industrial agriculture
Science

Why keep Africa’s dryland forests alive?
Mongabay

Climate change and environment

Kenya: Climate shocks to blame for food crisis
The Star

Development

Zimbabwe: Political will can spur agricultural research
Chronicle

Agriculture and poverty reduction in Ghana
Gates Foundation

SADC yet to meet target on agriculture
Southern Times Africa

Sharing China’s agricultural experience to help solve Africa’s development challenges
China

Tanzania: Cassava promotion yields positive results in China
AllAfrica

How the political economy of agriculture holds Africa back
The East African

Uganda: Why extension service is key to farmers
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali

Rwanda’s farming revolution
Daily Nation

Fostering public-private partnership to enhance small holder resilience in sub-Sahara Africa
ReliefWeb

Tanzanian journalist wins OFAB 2018 Journalist of the year award
Ghana News Agency

An expert shares the simple reasons why young people are not interested in agriculture and how to change that
Business Insider

Cash transfer programming across Africa help communities take charge of their own recovery
ReliefWeb

Tanzania: Indian investor to process cassava into animal feeds
AllAfrica

LIberia: Kokarleh cassava processing hub in Todee District promotes farmers’ income
AllAfrica

Do African leaders listen at all?
Modern Ghana

Rwanda: As long as there are people, there will be money in agriculture
New Times

Opinion: Africa Rising
AgriPulse

Global ag view: Africa important market to UK farmers
Farmers Guardian

How to integrate African smallholder farmers into supply chain
African Business

Powell: ‘Growing our food—where do we go from here?’ – thinking about African-Americans in agriculture
The Atlanta Voice

Energy and innovation

Planting the seed of agricultural innovation in Africa
Reuters

New technologies key to reforming Africa’s agriculture sector
Africa Times

Purdue Improved Crop Storage: How a technology scaled up to reach millions
Purdue Agriculture

Food security

Towards food security in Nigeria
Stears

Nigeria: In pursuit of food security
This Day

Pests and diseases

Bt and other biopesticides might stop fall armyworm advance across India
Genetic Literacy Project

Meet one of the Feed the Future Fall armyworm tech prize finalists
Feed the Future

Policy

John Innes Centre leads group’s call for clarity after EU ruling on gene-edited crops
ISAAA

UK to consider relaxing gene editing ban post Brexit
Food Navigator

The GM debate

Kenyan scientists concerned perceptions on GMOs may slow down GM crops commercialization
ISAAA

GMOs: Scarecrow or heaven-sent dove?
Modern Ghana

Australia: Former activist and scholars drive rethink on genetically modified crops
ABC

Opportunities and resources

E-conference: Responding to Fall Armyworm in Africa,  Oct 22, 2018 – Oct 26, Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)

Webinar on Postharvest Management: 25th September 2018, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), South Africa

AgriLinks Announcing the Young Scholars Food Security Blog Contest! Submissions due: 10/10. Winners to be featured on Agrilinks’ newsletter & social media and in Feed the Future on World Food Day