Jumpstarting the global discussion about agricultural solutions to hunger


Source: Worldwatch Institute

Considerable progress has been made in reducing hunger and boosting food security, yet more people are hungry today than were even alive a century ago. Meanwhile, today's broad-scale hunger alleviation goals and those proposed in the 1970s are strikingly similar. On the international, national, and community level, effective efforts are still needed to feed the estimated 1.02 billion people worldwide who are classified as undernourished.
Fortunately, innovation is taking place in the farm fields of Africa and across the world. Technical and institutional innovations to boost smallholder productivity, gain market access, and restore natural resources are transforming agriculture in ways that can ensure food security, mitigate climate change, and conserve critical ecosystem services. Such innovations are often hidden, however, as entrepreneurial farmers get overlooked by national and international government leaders and funders.

'Success' stories that have been identified, meanwhile, are too often not scaled up (or out) sufficiently to eliminate hunger and food insecurity. 'Scaling up' has too often been approached by increasing the number of people involved, rather than by mobilizing similar successful, smaller-scale initiatives more broadly.

Worldwatch Institute's State of the World 2011 report on 'Innovations that Nourish the Planet,' to be released in January, highlights innovations that can reduce hunger, improve environmental and agricultural sustainability, improve the lives of women and girls, and be both economically feasible and scalable for farmers and the donor/investment community.

Dozens of authors-including farmers, activists, academics, and journalists-are contributing to State of the World 2011, collectively challenging the global food community to identify win-win-win solutions that can better feed sub-Saharan Africa. As the report takes shape, check out the guidance for our authors written by contributors Sara Scherr, Courtney Wallace, and Louise Buck.

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