Development Works Number 5, December 2012

Number 5, December 2012 Development Works Bread for the World Institute provides policy analysis on hunger and strategies to end it. The Institute educates its network, opinion leaders, policy makers and the public about hunger in the United States and abroad. Snapshot Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World • Local farmers, most with less than five acres of land and little or no animal or mechanical power, bear most of the responsibility for feeding people in developing countries. Enabling small-scale farmers to increase their productivity is essential to reducing hunger or even maintaining recent progress. Martha Togdbba of Kpaytno, Liberia, grows vegetables, including tomatoes and chili peppers. She irrigates her small farm by carrying a watering can to and from a nearby stream. Farmers: The Key to Ending Global Hunger Every year, U.S. humanitarian assistance, such as food aid, eases the hunger of millions of people who have fled natural disaster or conflict. These are clearly emergencies. But worldwide, most hungry people are hungry or malnourished as a fact of their everyday lives. Chronic hunger and malnutrition sap the strength of adults trying to earn a living and the potential of children trying to learn. The 2012 Africa Human Development Report identifies two areas of bias as “principal factors in explaining Africa’s food insecurity”—a bias toward towns rather than rural areas and a bias toward men rather than women. After decades of neglect in favor of developing manufacturing or extractive industries, agriculture in developing countries has begun to receive much-needed attention. A big part of solving chronic hunger is enabling and equipping small-scale farmers to be as effective as possible. It’s true that the world produces 1 • More than 75 percent of the world’s hungry people are small-scale farmers or landless laborers. Fortunately, growth in the agriculture sector is very effective in reducing poverty. • Gender bias is a principal cause of hunger since women produce well over half of the global food supply and are more likely to spend additional income on food. • Nonetheless, few female farmers own the land they work, have the authority to make decisions about crops and livestock, or control their own incomes. New tools such as the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index help track progress toward gender equity.