Several hundred conference participants from over 20 countries listened to four panelists deliver reports about the world's largest food aid providers during the annual International Food Aid & Development Conference held in Kansas City on August 2, 2010. The panelists acknowledged the dire conditions for poor with the number of people in hunger rising to one billion people.
|Food Aid Symposium panelists (from left): Ann Tutwiler |
(not shown), Allan Jury, Jay Sjerven, David Del Conte, and
More than one panelist provided a litany of causes for the worsening conditions for the world's poor: food price instability, personal incomes declining, climate change, drought, conflict and war, but none mentioned a possible contributing factor of Goldman Sachs speculating in agricultural commodities and restructuring markets as mentioned on Democracy Now! radio show on July 16. Jury was frank about the significant decline in food security, but highlighted several countries that are making progress in addressing hunger and the MDG's, namely, Ghana, Brazil, and Mozambique. He concluded by saying the "political will and effort" is needed to reach anti-hunger goals.
|Ann Tutwiler, Global Food Security coordinator with the |
USDA speaking during the Food Aid Symposium.
Another concept presented by Tutwiler and other panelists was that nutrition and dietary diversity were key to addressing food security. The focus of the "Feed the Future" initiative of the Obama administration focuses on rural infrastructure and market development in several developing countries, including Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua in this hemisphere.
|David Del Conte with the UN Office for the Coordination |
of Humanitarian Affairs at the symposium, Aug 2, 2010.
Dale Skoric with the Food for Peace program of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) complemented the US food programs' contribution of 2.5 million tons of food, while pointing out the disagreement over in-kind and cash donations to developing countries. However, USAID contributes most of its food aid through in-kind donations to developing nations. The organization is using a "blanket feeding" approach to relieve hunger in countries, such as Guatemala, chosen because of its extremely high level of stunted growth in children.
All four panelists were asked to comment on how their agencies were addressing hunger in relation to the Millenium Development Goals. Allan Jury with the UN World Food Program may have said it best -- there's no immunization shot for malnutrition or hunger; there are "no treated nets like for malaria." He emphasized that nutrition components of anti-hunger programs were crucial to fixing hunger.