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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Nourishing the Planet
Article Type: Food facts From: Nutrition & Food Science, Volume 41, Issue 3
Agricultural development has come to a cross-roads. Nearly, a half-century after the green revolution – the first systematic, large-scale attempt to reduce poverty and hunger throughout the world – a large share of the human family is still chronically hungry. At the same time, investments in agricultural development by governments, international lenders and foundations are at historic lows. The timing could not be worse, as a complexity of demographic, economic and natural forces all conspire to make the challenge of reducing hunger that much more difficult. These include soaring petroleum and food prices as well as climate change and persistent unfair trade agreements. Still, the current crisis offers a window of opportunity for refocusing the world’s attention on food, agriculture and rural areas and for re-establishing food security as a global priority. As more decision makers and funders shift resources back towards agricultural development in coming years, they have a gaping need for guidance.
The Nourishing the Planet project will assess the state of agricultural innovations – from cropping methods to irrigation technology to agricultural policy – with an emphasis on sustainability, diversity and ecosystem health, as well as productivity. The project aims to both inform global efforts to eradicate hunger and raise the profile of these efforts. The project will also consider the institutional infrastructure needed by each of the approaches analyzed, suggesting what sort of companion investments are likely to determine success – from local seed banks to processing facilities, from pro-poor value chains to marketing bureaus.
The project will culminate in the release of state of the World 2011, a comprehensive report that will focus on agriculture and will be accompanied by derivative briefing documents, summaries, videos and podcasts. Emphasizing on the ground research, project co-director, Danielle Nierenberg, is currently travelling throughout sub-Saharan Africa to meet with farmers, farmers groups, local government representatives, funders and non-governmental organization’s. You can follow her research and the resulting conversations on the Nourishing the Planet blog: www.nourishingtheplanet.org and on twitter@worldwatchag.