Small farms are the heart of UN hunger strategy

It’s too early to be cynical about the World Food Summit, which opens today. But it’s worth noting that Jacques Diouf, head of the UN’s Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization, staged a 24-hour strike to bring attention to ” the world’s 1 billion chronically malnourished people … and put pressure on world leaders to do something about it,” reports Associated Press.

For a bit of irreverence, it’s also worth noting that AP reports Mr Diouf wore a trench over his pajamas [isn’t streetwear the officially uniform of hunger strikes, because you’re in public and no one looks dignified in pajamas?].

Here at home, an excellent piece in the Star this morning about the shift in hunger relief from international aid to long-term development, focused on the small farmer.

Writes Star columnist Olivia Ward :

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization said Sunday it had reached a deal with the Islamic Development Bank for $1 billion in funding to help develop agriculture in poor countries that belong to both organizations.

“This agreement comes at a critical moment, when the international community recognizes it has neglected agriculture for many years,” the Rome-based agency said. “Today, sustained investment in agriculture – especially smallholder agriculture – is acknowledged as the key to food security.”

Read full article here.

Photo: A vendor sprays water on vegetables to keep them fresh at a market in the eastern Indian city of Siliguri Oct. 22, 2009. RUPAK DE CHOWDHURI/REUTERS FILE PHOTO