To address hunger effectively, first check the weather, says new study
The study, to be published November 24 in Scientific Reports, is the first to analyze on a large scale the relationship between food insecurity among smallholder farms in Africa and Asia, rainfall patterns and a range of interventions — from agricultural inputs to agricultural practices to financial supports — designed address the issue.
Smallholder farms are small farms with limited resources that depend on the family for labor and on the operation’s crops for food or income. There are an estimated 460 to 500 million smallholder farms in the world, who grow 80 percent of the food consumed in low income countries.
The study examined the experiences of nearly 2,000 smallholder farms in 12 countries in West Africa, East Africa and Asia.
“The big picture is that one strategy is unlikely to work everywhere,” said Meredith Niles, a faculty member in the University of Vermont’s Department of Nutrition and Food Science and lead author of the study. “Understanding the climate context is important in determining what interventions may be most effective,” she said.
Photo courtesy of Jutta Benzenberg.