We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.

The full article is available here as HTML.

Press Ctrl-C to copy

Building sustainable food security, rather than concentrating on food aid, is a better way to help the people most vulnerable to food crises, says Josette Sheeran, head of the UN World Food Programme (UNWFP).

"Food aid has saved millions of lives, but it cannot, by itself, solve hunger," she says. The UNWFP is shifting its focus towards building local capacity to deal with future crises compounded by ongoing food price volatility, climatic changes and conflict.

Sheeran points to programmes underway in several countries that aim to "transform the fight against hunger" by developing and scaling up innovative ideas and tools at the grassroots level.

For example, in Cameroon — where 2.8 million people are food insecure — the UNWFP makes a one-time donation of ten tonnes of cereal to each community granary but also trains farmers in management and financial aspects of food storage. Community members can withdraw stocks with little interest and replenish them from their own crops, while funds from the interest and sales help with buying more stock.

In Pakistan, food technologists have created a chickpea paste fortified with micronutrients, which requires no water or cooking — helping to guard children from irreversible damage caused by malnutrition. And in Palestinian territories, 'digital food vouchers' delivered to mobile phones have helped increase local dairy production by 30 per cent, as well as helping people to buy nutritious food.

"Ending hunger does not require major scientific breakthrough," says Sheeran. "For the first time in history we have the scientific knowledge, programmes, tools and policies to defeat hunger but we need global political will".

Link to full article in Nature


Nature doi:10.1038/479469a (2011)