Scaling up the fight against poverty and hunger in Africa

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Agriculture is a powerful tool for reducing poverty and hunger. Events of recent years – such as food price increases, droughts, growing climate change impacts and other emergencies – have put agriculture high on the international agenda.

We should be clear that agriculture is the solution. Economic growth generated by agriculture is more than twice as effective in reducing poverty as growth in other sectors. Agricultural development is also an effective means of assisting developing countries in building capacity and infrastructure as well as introducing innovation and technology.

Future food and nutrition security and the eradication of poverty will be profoundly influenced by the steps we take today to support the 2 billion people in developing countries who depend on small-scale farms, herding, fishing and other forms of agriculture.

The past year has seen a food security crisis in the Horn of Africa and a developing emergency in the Sahel region of West Africa, where we are just entering the peak hunger season. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme have responded in a variety of ways, from immediate humanitarian relief to building the capacity of smallholders to grow more food, increase their livelihoods and feed their families and communities.