A new UN report shows that the majority of countries have achieved the Millennium Development Goal of halving malnutrition, and success has come from protecting and empowering smallholder growers not as a result of industrial agriculture, trade deals or new farming technologies.
An article on the website, Take Part, reports on the release of the State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015 by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (FAD) and the World Food Programme.
The report calls for public policies that provide incentives to smallholders to adopt sustainable practices and techniques such as agroforestry, sustainable land management, soil conservation, improved water management and diversified agricultural systems to produce more outputs from the same area of land while reducing negative environmental impacts.
The report found that half of countries—72 of 129—were able to hit the target of reducing malnourishment by 50 per cent by this year and 200 million fewer people are routinely malnourished than there were in 1990.
Despite this success, there are still major challenges. Twice as many African counties (24) are grappling with food crises today compared with 1990.
Seventy per cent of food is grown by smallholders and these farmers have been able to better provide a steady supply of nutritious food—and income—“through labour and land productivity increases,” says the report. Productivity increases have largely come about through the adoption of sustainable farming practices, with direct financial support to families playing a key role in helping countries meet the goals.
Read the full story: Thanks to Sustainable Farming, Global Hunger Is on the Decline