Today's top stories on global agricultural development and food security issues.
American Ertharin Cousin to head World Food Program, Reuters, January 17
Last week, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Food and Agriculture Organization Executive Director Jose Graziano da Silva appointed Ertharin Cousin as the next head of the World Food Program. U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement that the United Nations "will be well served by Ambassador Cousin's experience and commitment to the World Food Program's vision of a world in which every citizen has access to the food they need to survive and to thrive." U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also said in a statement that “I am confident that she will continue to be a powerful voice in the global fight against hunger and lend her energy, optimism and experience to the World Food Programme.”
Acting Administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service: Who is Suzanne Heinen? AllGov.com, January 21
Appointed acting administrator on May 15, 2011, Suzanne Heinen has served more than 25 years with the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the lead agency in international activities to develop foreign markets for U.S. agriculture. FAS is primarily responsible for helping American food producers increase their sales in foreign markets by collecting, analyzing and publishing data on world agricultural production, prices, policy, and trade competition and administering USDA’s export credit guarantee and food aid programs, which basically pay other countries to buy U.S. food products.
USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah Highlights the U.S. government’s efforts to transform africa’s agriculture sectors, USAID, January 18
“The key to long-term, sustainable development is the development of local capacity,” said Rajiv Shah at Africa Conference in Wilmington, Delaware. “Through Feed the Future-our major Presidential development initiative on food security-we're driving the kind of investments in agricultural development that will ensure countries escape devastating cycle of famine and food aid. All told, Feed the Future will help countries sustainably develop their agricultural infrastructure, diversify their economies and ultimately lift 18 million people out of hunger and poverty-more than 7 million of whom are children.”
Food Waste denounced by Ministers as Almost 1 Billion Go Hungry, Bloomberg, January 23
Consumers in rich countries dispose of 220 million metric tons of food waste every year, equal to the entire food output of sub-Saharan Africa, Jose Graziano da Silva, the director general of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, told 64 agriculture ministers meeting in Berlin over the weekend.
McKinsey & Company to open an office in Ethiopia, Ethiopia Business News, January 23
The firm is entering Ethiopia to take advantage of increasing market opportunities in the agricultural, industrial and service sectors. The McKinsey and Co. office in Ethiopia is expected to service foreign investors investing in the Ethiopian agro industry sector from China, India and Turkey and other countries according to sources.
Drought returns to West Africa’s Sahel, bringing hunger as crisis looms, Associated Press, January 22
More than 1 million children in the eight affected countries are expected to face life-threatening malnutrition this year, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund. The region has not yet recovered from the last drought two years ago, and many families lost their herds which means that they will not have assets to purchase food.
Sudan to give UN only limited access in border states, Reuters, January 22
Sudan will continue to allow only limited access to United Nations agencies and aid groups in two war-stricken border states, the foreign ministry said on Sunday, despite calls from the United States to allow more access to avert famine.
Corn Prices Rise Worldwide Due to U.S. Ethanol Policy, FAO Says, Bloomberg, January 21
The use of corn to make ethanol in the U.S. is helping to lift the grain price worldwide, said Jose Graziano da Silva, the new director general of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. Biofuel production doesn’t necessarily affect food security, particularly when land used for extensive livestock raising is converted to crop use, Graziano da Silva said.
Andrew Mitchell: aid makes Britain safer and richer, Telegraph, January 20
“Our security in London and Birmingham is not just provided by soldiers and tanks and fighter jets, it is also provided by training the police in Afghanistan, by building up governance structures in the Middle East and by getting girls into school in the Horn of Africa. Those things are all part of what makes us safer.” said Andrew Mitchell.
USAID pledges to spend $922m by 2016, The Daily Star, January 13
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide $922 million to Bangladesh over the next five years to help the country address food security, health and global climate change. As of 2011, USAID has provided over $5.7 billion to Bangladesh in development assistance.