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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

‘One Billion Hungry’ Peak Missing From New FAO Numbers‘One Billion Hungry’ Peak Missing From New FAO Numbers

The article seems to point out that progress is probably being made in addressing world hunger, despite problems with reporting and statistical “number crunching”.  Still, hunger is directly related to government policies (as subsidizing export crops).

From the 10 October 2012 article at the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development

A revised estimate of the number of hungry people in the world was released yesterday, classifying 870 million as undernourished between 2010-12. Missing from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s figures was any reference to the one billion mark that the agency had claimed was reached in 2009 due to high food prices and the economic crisis. The new report cited a change in methodology and improved data as reasons for the shift…


Finding that there are 132 million fewer people hungry in 2010-12 than 1990-92, the report insists that the Millennium Development Goal of halving the prevalence of hunger in developing countries by 2015 is within reach if the trend continues.

The share of undernourished people in the developing world has fallen from 23.2 to 14.9 percent over the aforementioned 20 year period. Achieving the MDG would mean cutting that number to 11.6 percent, while current projections suggest that 12.5 percent is possible…


Those directing policy interventions, he argued, must know who the malnourished are, where they are located and when they are malnourished to be effective.

Gains made between 1990 and 2007 have since stalled due to the impact of the global economic slowdown. The report calls for safety nets for the most vulnerable, along with broad-based economic growth – particularly in agriculture – as a way of reducing the number of hungry.

SOFI cautions that growth in the agricultural sector, if policies fail to focus on crops grown widely by smallholders or those vulnerable to hunger, is not sufficient to improve food security. It cites Tanzania as a particular case where export-oriented cash crops, such as cotton and tobacco, received government research and extension support instead of assistance that is more directly tied to undernourishment – maize, root crops, pulses, and oilseeds…

The new SOFI paints a picture of global hunger that has gone from a worsening situation to a “steady improvement,” Svedberg observed in an exchange with Bridges. This has turned the “hunger problem” on its head, he added. Older estimates showed the hunger condition deteriorating, while the new numbers suggest that things are improving or stable…


Policy extends to a country’s infrastructure. For example, if roads are not in good condition, this leads to an increase in food prices.
I am a Facebook friend with a nurse in Liberia (met during a 2009 service project trip with the Friends of Liberia).  Recently he remarked on how much prices are increasing overall on consumer goods. This didn’t surprise me because of images I’ve seen within the past few months on Liberians roads, which are mostly dirt ..turning to almost unsurpassable mud during the 3 month rainy season.

While the UN commendably is working on improving road conditions, the problem remains for the present.
A few pics and images.
(Back when I was in Liberia as a Peace Corps volunteer in the early 80’s, I was only on the road once or twice in similar conditions.
Not sure why it is worse now, perhaps an increasing population and/or greater demand for goods).

This was taken about 15 miles from where I was stationed while in the Peace Corps. To be honest, I don’t remember ever being this bad.
Click here for related article.


“The road condition is causing serious shortages of basic goods around Tappita, Saclapea, Bahn as well as other towns and villages around Ganta,” said one of the local traders.

The bad road condition has caused transportation fares from Ganta to Tappita to go up to L$ 1200 from L$ 600 recently,” he added.

The bad road condition has also stalled movement from Ganta to Sanniquellie answer as far as the Loguatuo border in the Gbehlay Geh District


Harrison Wongbay, a store owner in Ganta and member of Ganta Trade Union proclaims, “Nimba County comes second in revenue collection in Liberia and in terms of food production again, Nimba is number one.  So [we don’t understand] why this piece of road between here and Gbarnga cannot be rehabilitated.”

“Because of this piece of road, he added, “truck owners are charging heavy fees to transport our goods to Nimba from Monrovia.”

If you search YouTube with the phrase Liberia roads, the results will include..


October 21, 2012 - Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. The battle against global hunger must include not only policy, but checks and balances that ensure the funds/aid given to poor nations are used appropriately… This is a big problem in some nations TY!

    Comment by eof737 | October 23, 2012 | Reply

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