The first article in this virtual IDS Bulletin is by Michael Lipton and dates from 1982. In that year the WHO stunting rate for children of preschool age in sub-Saharan Africa was 39 per cent. In 2012 the rate is still 39 per cent. The FAO hunger numbers paint a slightly less depressing picture for that region – the percentage of the population that were hungry in 1980 was 38 per cent and 30 years later it is 27 percent.
Like the numbers, the issues in this Bulletin remain remarkably constant – investing in smallholder agriculture, linking relief and development, dealing with seasonality, turning economic growth into child growth, ensuring technology is hunger-reducing – joined by innovations such as the growing right to food movement. But there is hope.
The picture has improved much more dramatically in East Asia and Latin America, driven by various combinations of income growth and strategic public spending on health, social welfare and agriculture. Looking forward there is cause for optimism.
In the high burden regions, economic growth is relatively strong and the food price increases of the last five years have put these issues higher on the political agenda. As Brazil, Peru, Honduras, Vietnam and Ghana show, the most precious and potent ingredient in ending hunger and malnutrition is political leadership. All of us have to push our politicians to be leaders of this cause. This virtual Bulletin is one such contribution to doing just that.
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Post-harvest Technology and the Reduction of Hunger Volume 13, Issue 3, June 1982 Michael Lipton
Household Food Strategies in Response to Seasonality and Famine Volume 17, Issue 3, July 1986 Richard Longhurst
Cash Crops, Household Food Security and Nutrition Volume 19, Issue 2, July 1988 Richard Longhurst
Understanding and Preventing Famine and Famine Mortality Volume 24, Issue 4, October 1993 Jeremy Swift
Linking Relief and Development: An Introduction and Overview Volume 25, Issue 4, October 1994 Margaret Buchanan-Smith and Simon Maxwell
Reconsidering ‘Famine’ Volume 33, Issue 4, October 2002 Paul Howe
Introduction: New Directions for African Agriculture Volume 36, Issue 2, April 2005 Ian Scoones, Stephen Devereux and Lawrence Haddad
Lifting the Curse: Overcoming Persistent Undernutrition in India Volume 40, Issue 4, July 2009 Lawrence Haddad
Accelerating Malnutrition Reduction in Orissa Volume 40, Issue 4, July 2009 Mona Sharma, Biraj Laxmi Sarangi, Jyoti Kanungo, Sridhar Sahoo, Lopamudra Tripathy, Amalin Patnaik, Jyoti Tewari and Alison Dembo Rath
The Politics of Seed in Africa’s Green Revolution: Alternative Narratives and Competing Pathways Volume 42, Issue 4, July 2011 Ian Scoones and John Thompson
Whose Power to Control? Some Refl ections on Seed Systems and Food Security in a Changing World Volume 42, Issue 4, July 2011 Geoff Tansey
Food from the Courts: The Indian Experience Volume 43, Issue s1, July 2012 Harsh Mander