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World Economic Forum Davos 2012: Leaders agree that access to food key to feeding hungry


Business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum agreed on Thursday that solving the problem isn’t just about producing more food, it means getting these staples into hungry mouths.

“The world can feed itself. Africa can feed itself. The problem is we have vulnerable populations who do not have access” to the food, said Okonjo-Iweala. She spoke at at an annual gathering of global VIPs in the Davos resort in the Swiss Alps, where hunger seemed a far-away prospect.

Unilever CEO Paul Polman said helping small farmers succeed and spending tens of billions of dollars a year more on production is the best way to feed the world’s poor.

Stefan Lippe, CEO of global reinsurer Swiss Re, said extreme weather, credit and subsidies are other factors. “You need access, but you also need access to financial markets,” he said.

In Brazil, the government has been reaching out to the poor and hungry who often remain invisible and applying local solutions on a national level, said the head of the U.N. food agency, Jose Graziano da Silva, a Brazilian former food security minister.

Among the things Brazil has been doing is creating a social safety net with the world’s biggest program of giving money directly to poor households, he said. The $8 billion national effort includes the much-lauded Zero Hunger social programs that over the past eight years has helped lift at least 19 million Brazilians out of poverty.

Brazil’s effort also attempts to change people’s behavior by requiring that parents keep their children in school or get medical checkups to receive aid. Graziano has said one of his main priorities since becoming director-general of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome on Jan. 1 was to decentralize FAO’s work to the regional and subregional levels, since that’s where hunger is fought.

The U.N. food organization estimates there are at least 925 million undernourished people in the world, almost one in seven.

“We can feed the whole population of 7 billion that we have,” said Graziano.

“The problem is not the supply side,” he said. “The problem is the access. They don’t have the money to buy it or they don’t have the water and land they need if they are subsistence farmers.”

Malnourished people, particularly kids, are more susceptible to dying from malaria and other diseases in Africa, said Microsoft founder Bill Gates, whose philanthropy has mainly focused on promoting health.

“For the billion-plus who don’t get enough food, the effects are quite dramatic,” he said. “I’m fairly optimistic that this is coming back on the agenda.”

Economic Times

9 Comments on "World Economic Forum Davos 2012: Leaders agree that access to food key to feeding hungry"

  1. DC on Thu, 26th Jan 2012 11:52 pm 

    Yes, keep feeding the ‘hungry’ like we have been, and guess what, 9 months later, you get a whole NEW load of soon-to-be-hungry-brats as well. Which in turn, requires more land to be clear, more fossil-fuels to burned,more topsoil destroyed, more subsidies to agri-corps etc…etc….

    Gates for all his money, is a moron. He is a typical industrial-welfare capitalist. He just loves to run around treating the symptoms of the problems caused by industrial civilization, all all the while he really beleives the symptoms ARE the cause. Thats why runs around africa buying mosquioto nets for the natives while looking to the tar-sands as an ‘investment’ to help pay for it all…

  2. BillT on Fri, 27th Jan 2012 1:46 am 

    DC, your observations are ‘right on’ as always.

  3. Kenz300 on Fri, 27th Jan 2012 3:55 am 

    Too many people and too few resources….
    The world population just keeps growing making solving the current problems of hunger, poverty and despair that much harder to solve. The world needs to embrace the concept of sustainability.

  4. pike on Fri, 27th Jan 2012 5:59 am 

    The world population sustainable. Whats upsetting the the balance is huge food aid bombs launched by bleeding heart asshole from the Western world. Into the third world every time there is a drought.

    Yes let them die. Let the population return to stable levels. Its nobodies fault but your own for not being able to face the news on TV showing dead and dying people in over populated third world countries. Instead think of all the suffering you added to these people you encouraged to breed like maggots with your massive food bomb.

  5. David on Fri, 27th Jan 2012 8:52 am 

    Pike, right, better to just nuke the hell out of Africa and Asia then? Or, rather, we could start by exterminating a few millions of wasteful, ignorant, mass-consuming, commercial-enslaved westeners instead. Or wait, again – we don’t even need to do that, we just need the Africans to become independent and take for themself what they grow, instead of being forced to sell it under-priced to the west. Since we’re not able to feed ourself, that would quickly lead to mass-starvation in the EU and the US. So, yeah, third world independence, that’ll solve the worlds resource crisis!

    Arrogant f*cking fascists…

  6. BillT on Fri, 27th Jan 2012 10:28 am 

    Pike, better be careful what you ask for. you do know that the US IMPORTS about 20% of our food every year. And you do know that the midwest is drying up quickly which will take millions of acres out of production in the next decade or so? And you do know that much of what you eat comes from thousands of miles away and cheap oil is all that makes that possible? And that food prices will go up drastically every year from now on? And the local big box groceries would be empty in less than 3 days without dozens of truck coming and going daily? Most of the third world could get along just fine, if they we allowed to keep what they produced and didn’t sell it ti the West.

  7. pike on Fri, 27th Jan 2012 9:15 pm 

    Everyone hates you when your right.

  8. Mike on Sat, 28th Jan 2012 12:57 am 

    I love that headline:

    “Leaders agree that access to food key to feeding hungry”

    Yeah, duh.

  9. BillT on Sat, 28th Jan 2012 7:33 am 

    Pike, when are you right? You appear to be just racist or dumb. Africa has no problems feeding their 200 million in a land 5 times the size of the US, if the US would just get the hell out of Africa and take the rest of the moochers along with them. Ditto, Asia.

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