Today's top stories on global agricultural development and food security issues.
By Sung Lee
USAID Administrator testifies before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on FY13 Budget Request, U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, March 20
Thanks to these smart investments, every American can be proud that their tax dollars go towards fighting hunger and easing suffering from famine and drought, expanding freedom for the oppressed and giving children the chance to live and thrive no matter where they're born. By fighting hunger and disease, we fight the despair that can fuel violent extremism and conflict. By investing in growth and prosperity, we create stronger trade partners for our country's exports.
Empowering women vital for world food supply, Reuters, March 21
Empowering female farmers in developing countries is crucial to solving the world's food problems as an era of food price spikes looms, the chair of a panel which advises governments and donors on agricultural development in Sub-Saharan Africa told Reuters. If women upped their production by this amount, the agricultural output of developing countries would rise by between 2.5 and 4 percent, potentially slashing the number of undernourished people by 12 to 17 percent.
Clean drinking water linked to food security in Africa, Gallup, March 21
Africans who have enough clean water to drink are more likely to also have enough food to eat, according to Gallup surveys conducted in 17 sub-Saharan African countries in 2010. Majorities in all countries surveyed say water, in general, is getting harder to find. Nearly all residents (90%) say this in Burkina Faso, a Sahelian country whose northern region sits at the edge of the Sahara desert.
Rising food prices hard to stomach, Javier Blas, Financial Times, March 19
Rising oil prices are attracting the attention of inflation-worried investors. But lurking in the background is an even bigger risk for inflation vigilantes: rising food prices. The benchmark FAO food price index has risen 2 per cent from December to February. Moreover, the cost of individual food commodities has continued to rise sharply in the first three weeks of March, suggesting that the FAO index would climb again this month.
Saving Kenya’s Maize Crop, Inter Press Service, March 18
For the past 10 years, research scientists from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, the Weizmann Institute and BASF-Chemical Company have been developing a high- yielding maize variety resistant to the herbicide used to kill the Striga weed. The maize seeds are coated with the herbicide before being packaged and this coating makes it resistant to weeds.