With world hunger rates rising, President Biden announced Wednesday at the United Nations an additional $2.9 billion in U.S. humanitarian assistance, including funds to feed schoolchildren and expand food production. We’re “taking on the food crisis head-on,” said Biden in a speech that denounced Russia for invading Ukraine and called for action on global warming.
The harvest in Kenya is likely to coincide with the arrival of a new generation of desert locusts to attack the crops, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Locusts also are swarming in Ethiopia and Somalia, said the FAO.
Swarms of food-devouring desert locusts threaten food security for nearly 10 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, said the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group on Monday, describing the infestations as the worst in 25 years in Ethiopia and in 70 years in Kenya. The group, which focuses on central and eastern Africa, said the locust upsurge threatens the coming agricultural season.
One in nine of the earth's population is undernourished and the global hunger rate is creeping up from the low set in 2015, said five UN agencies in a report on Monday. Hunger is most prevalent in Africa, at nearly double the global level, but on every continent, women are more likely than men to go hungry.
High temperature and inadequate rainfall are adversely affecting crop development in southern Africa, says the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. They result may be poor yields and heavier than usual infestations of the fall armyworm, which spreads in dry weather. In a special alert, the FAO said small harvests are "foreseen to intensify food insecurity in 2018, increasing the number of people in need of assistance."
The food startup that began as Hampton Creek is now known as JUST, and its newest product is a nutrient-fortified cassava porridge named Power Gari that it says is the solution to malnutrition in western Africa, reports the Washington Post. "JUST believes that its product will increase Africans' intake of critical vitamins and minerals by including them in a product that tastes good and is sold at retail in slick branded bags, unlike the fortified foods currently offered by development organizations."
A simulation by Texas A&M scientists indicates that winter wheat is a feasible cover crop for cotton growers in the arid Plains, says one of the researchers.
An estimated 80 percent of Yemen's food supply arrives by boat, so the recent closure of its ports makes famine a likelihood across the country, says the Famine Early Warning Systems Network. Meanwhile, the UN says that warfare and climate change are driving up hunger rates in sub-Saharan Africa.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have discovered a gene that creates resistance to stem-rust — a fungus that threatens wheat crops in Africa and Asia and food security worldwide.
A third of the Earth’s land is severely degraded and 24 billion tons of fertile soil are disappearing each year, according to a new United Nations-backed study that puts the majority of the blame on intensive agriculture. “The Global Land Outlook is billed as the most comprehensive study of its type, mapping the interlinked impacts of urbanisation, climate change, erosion and forest loss," reports The Guardian. "But the biggest factor is the expansion of industrial farming.”
Drought in the Horn of Africa has killed the livestock of nomadic herders and forced thousands of pastoralists into refugee camps, dependent on food aid. Authorities in Ethiopia, while dealing with the crisis, are looking into longer-term adaptations, such as introducing irrigated agriculture and small farms in the country's Somali region, "a land long known for just herding animals," says the Washington Post.
The president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, is the 2017 winner of the $250,000 World Food Prize for his two decades of work expanding food production on the continent through policy reforms, financial innovation, and modern farming practices. The award is known as the Nobel Prize of food and agriculture.
Although global food supplies are robust, the world faces "an unprecedented situation" of four threats of famine in multiple countries simultaneously, says the assistant director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
President Trump would pay for his proposed $54-billion increase in military spending in fiscal 2018 by cutting domestic discretionary programs by 15 percent, said the think tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "The president's proposal would continue a severe, multi-year squeeze" on discretionary programs such as education, job training, clean water, and medical and scientific research, said the think tank.
Three U.N. agencies said war and a collapsing economy have put 100,000 people at risk of starvation in South Sudan. An additional 1 million are on the brink of starvation, said the agencies, which warned, "The total number of food insecure people is expected to rise to 5.5 million at the height of the lean season in July if nothing is done to curb the severity and spread of the food crisis."
Corn, sorghum and other cereal grains are selling at record prices in East Africa, where drought has shriveled crops, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. High food prices "are severely constraining food access for large numbers of households with alarming consequences for food insecurity," said an FAO official.
"Damages to crops appear to be irreversible and rangeland conditions remain generally poor" in east Africa, following scant rainfall during the October-December rainy season, says the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in a special alert that describes support for agriculture as an urgent need. "Food insecurity is expected to significantly deteriorate by early 2017."
Hunger experts at an FAO meeting in Rome said that if women farmers had the same access as men to land, tools, and credit, crop yields would rise by at least a third and there would be 150 million fewer hungry people in the world, Reuters reports.
After three years of drought and crop failures, nearly 850,000 people in Madagascar are experiencing alarming levels of hunger, with 330,000 of them on the brink of famine, says the Guardian. The outlet reported huge funding shortfalls for hunger relief work in seven countries across southern Africa.