Developing a New Global Approach to Ending Hunger

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
June 12, 2009

Today, Secretary Clinton spoke at the 2009 World Food Prize announcement ceremony and posted a blog entry about chronic hunger and food security.

Today, Secretary Clinton spoke about the Obama Administration's commitment to providing leadership in developing a new global approach to ending hunger. The issue of chronic hunger and food security is at the top of the agenda at the State Department. Secretary Clinton said, "For too long, our primary response has been to send emergency aid when the crisis is at its worst. This saves lives, but it doesn't address hunger’s root causes. It is, at best, a short-term fix."

Secretary Clinton reminded us, "This morning, one billion people around the world woke up hungry. Tonight, they will go to sleep hungry. Today, in a village in Niger, a woman will walk for miles in search of water to irrigate crops that are parched by drought. Today, in Haiti, a farmer’s surplus fruit will go to waste because he has no way to store it or to bring it to market. Today, in Congo, a family will flee a conflict that has left their farms and fields fallow. And today, in a schoolhouse in Bangladesh, children will struggle to learn because their bodies are struggling to survive on insufficient nutrition. The effects of chronic hunger cannot be overstated. Hunger is not only a physical condition, it is a drain on economic development, a threat to global security, a barrier to health and education, and a trap for the millions of people worldwide who work from sunup to sundown every single day but can barely produce enough food to sustain their lives and the lives of their families.

Most of all, hunger belies our planet’s bounty. It challenges our common humanity and resolve. We do have the resources to give every person in the world the tools they need to feed themselves and their children. So the question is not whether we can end hunger, it’s whether we will."

In her remarks, Secretary Clinton highlighted the efforts of 2009 World Food Prize Laureate Gebisa Ejeta to advance food security.

"Dr. Ejeta began his journey in a hut in Ethiopia, where he was born to a mother who was passionately committed to his education. He walked 20 kilometers every Sunday to attend school. He boarded in town for the week, and then he walked home to his family every Friday. Eventually, he made it to college, where he planned to study engineering, but his mother convinced him he’d do more good for the world if he studied agriculture.

After completing his Ph.D. at Purdue...he has gone to work focusing on sorghum, a staple crop in parts of Africa, Central America, and South Asia. He helped develop Africa’s first commercial hybrid strain, which needed less water and actually yielded more grain. Then he developed another variety, resistant to Striga weed, which had regularly wiped out a significant portion of Africa’s cereal crops.

Even while he was making breakthroughs in the lab, he took his work to the field. He knew that for improved seeds to make a difference in people’s lives, farmers would have to know how to use them, which meant they would need access to a seed market and the credit to buy supplies. ...Now, he reminds us that a system of agriculture that nourishes all humankind requires more than a single breakthrough or advances in a single field. It requires a sustained and comprehensive approach. We need to create a global supply chain for food. Today, that chain is broken, and we need to repair it and make it stronger."

Secretary Clinton identified seven principles that support sustainable systems of agriculture in rural areas worldwide.

"First, we will seek to increase agricultural productivity by expanding access to quality seeds, fertilizers, irrigation tools, and the credit to purchase them and the training to use them.

Second, we will work to stimulate the private sector by improving the storage and processing of foods and improving rural roads and transportation so small farmers can sell their fruit, the fruits of their labor, at local markets.

Third, we are committed to maintaining natural resources so that land can be farmed by future generations and that it help – that includes helping countries adapt to climate change.

Fourth, we will expand knowledge and training by supporting R&D and cultivating the next generation of plant scientists.

Fifth, we will seek to increase trade so small-scale farmers can sell their crops far and wide.

Sixth, we will support policy reform and good governance. We need clear and predictable policy and regulatory environments for agriculture to flourish.

And seventh, we will support women and families. Seventy percent of the world’s farmers are women, but most programs that offer farmers credit and training target men. This is both unfair and impractical. An effective agricultural system – (applause) – an effective agricultural system must have incentives for those who do the work, and it must take into account the particular needs of children.

So these are the seven principles that will guide us in the coming weeks, as we scale up our work and help us set benchmarks to measure our efforts. We are committed to collecting data and assessing our progress, and when necessary, correcting our course. Now for us, sustainable agriculture won’t be a side project. It is a central element of our foreign policy."

Read the Secretary's full remarks from today's ceremony or her Huffington Post blog entry on "Attacking Hunger at Its Roots."

Comments

Comments

palgye
|
South Korea
June 12, 2009

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Hi,,,

i just ,, think, it`s good plan..

(if, i have a chance to jion in this and other opportunity i`m very glad and will divide the delight, my whole world members.)

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 12, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

On the new global approach to ending hunger:

"Some op-ed the other day was asking whether Russia was on the road to "Superpower" status....

I'd say you can be the big kid on the block, but if you feed the neighborhood,..that's being a hero. Does tend to make nations popular, as well."

http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/entires/q_promote_democracy/

Considering the vitrol and disrespect I recieved for calling it as I saw it on the thread linked above, it's nice to know the entire Dept. of State and the Whitehouse has my back on this....(chuckle).

Our Russian friends know a thing or two about farming, and they can anticipate miracles if they tap into this diplomatc resource.

Congrats to Dr. Ejeta, as a case in point, for becoming a hero.

lisa
|
Kentucky, USA
June 12, 2009

Lisa in Kentucky writes:

I would be willing to use my land to grow anything to help someone else to eat. I would like to be a part of feeding the world.

Abraham
|
Idaho, USA
June 12, 2009

Abraham in Idaho writes:

No matter how poor a country is, it seems there will always be enough for a dictator to live a luxurious lifestyle with all his cronies. On the other hand, no matter how much aid is pumped into a country, no matter how much progress it makes, there will never be enough to satisfy that dictator's taste for luxurious lifestyle; which, by the way, always comes first before his people. That is why neither sanctions nor increased economic aid solve problems.

Solve the dictator problem and you solve the hunger problem. The people are capable of feeding themselves if they are allowed.

Zharkov
|
United States
June 13, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Allowing genetically-modified food to escape the laboratory was a horrible disaster for the third world, and it is irrational to continue to market it to people who need real food to survive. The source of this nutty idea should be ashamed of themselves, and they would be -- if they were normal.

Starving people don't need "modified food product", they need food, real food, the kind with seeds that can be replanted to make more food. GMO seeds are designed to be worthless and sterile after one crop, so that new seeds have to be purchased every year.

It seems odd that the FDA which allows GMO crops to legally be grown and be marketed to lesser developed countries, would result in the State Department to wonder why people in other nations are starving.

Is there no research done by the State Department into GMO crop failures?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 13, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

That urban myth was busted here:

http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/entries/food_for_thought/

Zharkov
|
United States
June 14, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

The "GMO is safe" myth was busted in Europe years ago.

The variety of corn, called "MON 810" and sold under its trade name "Yield Guard," has been altered on a genetic level, making it resistant to the corn borer, a moth larva that consumes the plant and kills it.

MON 810 is grown extensively around the world. According to Agbios, an online database on genetically modified crops, more than 32 million acres in the United States has been planted with this type of GM corn.

Germany is following in the footsteps of several other EU countries - Austria, Hungary, Greece, France and Luxembourg - which have already banned it in spite of threats of sanctions from globalist groups.

Citing a move in Luxembourg in early April to ban the cultivation of MON 810, German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner announced that the German government was taking steps to prohibit farmers from planting the corn.

The two governments based their mandates on European studies that suggest a particular toxin, called Bt, added to the corn on a genetic level may be fatal to "non-target organisms," such as ladybugs. Ladybugs and other predator bugs eat pests such as moths and beetles.

A symptom of modern agriculture, the heavy use of pesticides has resulted in a never-ending cycle, where good and bad insects are indiscriminately killed and the natural cycle is thrown out of balance.

Worse still, German officials cited research showing that pollen from corn spreads much farther than previously thought. Since corn is pollinated by wind-borne pollen, the concern is that neighboring non-GM corn could become contaminated by genetic material from the Frankenfoods, which blow for miles in the wind.

This is substantiated by many organic growers, who contend that it is becoming more and more difficult to find truly heirloom, organic seeds that have not been tainted by genetically modified crops.

"I have come to the conclusion there are just reasons to assume that the genetically modified [corn] MON 810 represents a danger for the environment," Ms. Aigner, a member of the conservative Bavaria-based Christian Social Union, told reporters. "Therefore, the cultivation of MON 810 is now banned in Germany."

Critics of genetically modified foods have pointed to several studies, which indicate that foods modified in a laboratory at a genetic level can be hazardous to your health. One recent study in Europe has shown that GM corn fed to rats resulted in rampant infertility. Those that did reproduce suffered from low birth weights for offspring.

Zharkov
|
United States
June 15, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Genetically-modified crop failures are well documented -- use any search engine and see the research.

RUBY A.
|
New York, USA
June 16, 2009

Ruby A. in New York writes:

Thanks Hilary for all you have done to protect others!

.

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