The Last Hunger Season

Africa’s small farmers, who comprise two-thirds of its population, toil in a time warp, living and working essentially as they did in the 1930s. Without mechanized equipment, fertilizer, or irrigation; using primitive storage facilities, roads, and markets; lacking capital, credit, and insurance; they harvest only one-quarter the yields of Western farmers, half of which spoil before getting to market. But in 2011 one group of farmers in Kenya came together to try to change their odds for success—and their families’ futures. Roger Thurow spent a year following their progress.

In The Last Hunger Season, the intimate dramas of the farmers’ lives unfold amidst growing awareness that to feed the world’s growing population, food production must double by 2050. How will the farmers, Africa, and a hungrier world deal with issues of water usage, land ownership, foreign investment, corruption, GMO’s, the changing role of women, and the politics of foreign aid?

Order The Last Hunger Season on Amazon.com.

Families

The Last Hunger Season tells the story of four farmers in western Kenya—Leonida Wanyama, Rasoa Wasike, Zipporah Biketi, and Francis Wanjala—and their efforts to put an end to the hunger season. Learn more about their lives, families, and struggles and aspirations
 

Videos

This section features The Last Hunger Season documentary film trailer by Courter Films & Associates, video clips featuring smallholder farmers in Kenya, and Roger Thurow’s book discussion videos and speeches.

 

Media Coverage

See media coverage and interviews with Roger Thurow about his book, The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change.


Families

Zipporah Biketi

Zipporah Biketi is a 31 year old mother of four from the village of Kabuchai in western Kenya, where she lives with her husband, Sanet, who is in the animal trading business.
 

Francis Mamati

Francis Mamati is a 54 year old maize farmer from the village of Kabuchai in western Kenya, where he lives with his wife Mary and their nine children. His main goal is educating his children to lift them from poverty.
 

Leonida Wanyama

Leonida Wanyama is a 43 year old farmer and village elder from the Lutacho village in western Kenya. Her husband, Peter, was injured in a traffic accident many years ago; thus, she completely supports her seven children with food and education.
 

Rasoa Wasike

Rasoa Wasike is a 31 year old mother of three young boys from the village of Kabuchai in western Kenya. She is a small-holder farmer and an upcoming entrepreneur as she invested in a calf to eventually pay for her son’s education.

 


Videos

The Last Hunger Season Multi-Part Series



 


Documentary Film Trailer by Courter Films & Associates



 

The Last Hunger Season – Faith Video Series by One Campaign











 

Book Discussions and Speeches
 

Roger Thurow’s TedxChange at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation



 

The Last Hunger Season Book Discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies



 

Setting the Stage: One Billion Hungry. Can we Feed the World Sustainably?



 


Media Coverage
 

Interviews

Take Note: Hunger in an Age of Plenty
Roger Thurow’s Interview with WPSU’s Kate Lao Shaffner, February 2014




  Roger Thurow’s Interview with Tom Paulson at Humanosphere, April 2013

 

Book Reviews

The Last Hunger Season: When Will It Come?, Bread for the World, May 29, 2013

The Last Hunger Season: Study Guide and Quotes, Opportunity International, May 2013

The Last Hunger Season, One Billion Hungry, April 26, 2013

One Book One Northwestern: Last Hunger Season, Northwestern University, April 8, 2013

University Announces hoice for Next One Book One Northwestern, The Daily Northwestern, April 8, 2013

Out of Africa, Harvard Business Review, November 2012

The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change By Roger Thurow, Washington Post, September 7, 2012

The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change, Philanthropy News Digest, November 29, 2012

The Last Hunger Season, Acumen, August 8, 2012

The Last Hunger Season, Financial Times, July 22, 2012

The Last Hunger Season: How an NGO is Raising African Crop Yields, The National, May 26, 2012

The Last Hunger Season, USGLC, May 18, 2012

Archive

| By Roger Thurow

Historic Moment

Bread for the World’s new Hunger Report raises the stakes right from its very first sentence:

“2011 is a time of opportunity to achieve lasting progress against global hunger and malnutrition.”

| By Roger Thurow

Watching the Numbers

There’s plenty of numbers-watching going on in Washington D.C. and other world capitals these days.  Mainly, the numbers with currency symbols in front of them, the numbers in government budgets.  



| By Roger Thurow

A Dangerous Myopia

It is lamentable that the deep and persistent economic woes in the U.S. and Europe are breeding a certain dangerous myopia in international development affairs.

| By Roger Thurow

Faltering Momentum

Speaking on a panel earlier this year, I was outlining the gathering momentum in the fight against hunger: The push of the Obama administration to create Feed the Future, the commitments of the G8 and G20 leaders to increase support for agriculture development, the greater involvement of philanthropists, corporations, universities and humanitarian agencies.

| By Roger Thurow

Creating the Give-A-Damn

To honor this year’s winners of the World Food Prize, this column will go easy on the outrage and heavy on the inspire.

| By Roger Thurow

Show Them the Money

We – “we” being the rich world — asked the poorest countries to draw up comprehensive agriculture investment plans and tell us which were the highest priority projects to boost food production.  Do that, we informed them, and we will help finance the projects from a new multi-donor trust fund called the Global Agriculture Food Security Program, or GAFSP.

| By Roger Thurow

African Voices

Listen to these African voices:

“As our governments take action, we need the international community to do its part as well. A green revolution in Africa depends on locally driven solutions plus reliable donor support.  Neither ingredient is sufficient on its own – both are indispensable.”

| By Roger Thurow

For a Better Tomorrow

In Rwanda earlier this summer, I visited a rural project with the lyrical name, IBYIRINGIRO.  It means “hope” in Kinyarwanda, and trumpets this slogan: “that in which we have faith for a better tomorrow.”


| By Roger Thurow

Where There's a Will…

In Africa, the Way to an agriculture revolution has long been clear.  The original Green Revolution in Asia, in the 1960s and ‘70s, provides the classic roadmap.


| By Roger Thurow

Safe Farming

In the Bungoma Chemist shop, where you can get almost everything you need to battle a cold, de-worm your cattle or fertilizer your crops, something revolutionary is now on sale.


Multimedia

Videos


 


Digital Preview of The First 1,000 Days

In his new book, The First 1,000 Days, Council senior fellow Roger Thurow illuminates the 1,000 Days initiative to end early childhood malnutrition through the compelling stories of new mothers in Uganda, India, Guatemala, and Chicago. Get a first-look at photos and stories from the book in this new web interactive.

» Learn more.
» Order your copy of the book.

Books

The First 1,000 Days

Roger Thurow’s book will tell the story of the vital importance of proper nutrition and health care in the 1,000 days window from the beginning of a woman’s pregnancy to her child’s second birthday.

The 1,000 days period is the crucial period of development, when malnutrition can have severe life-long impacts on the individual, the family and society as a whole. Nutritional deficiencies that occur during this time are often overlooked, resulting in a hidden hunger. It is a problem of great human and economic dimensions, impacting rich and poor countries alike.

Learn more »

The Last Hunger Season

In The Last Hunger Season, the intimate dramas of the farmers' lives unfold amidst growing awareness that to feed the world's growing population, food production must double by 2050. How will the farmers, Africa, and a hungrier world deal with issues of water usage, land ownership, foreign investment, corruption, GMO's, the changing role of women, and the politics of foreign aid?

Learn more »

EnoughEnough

Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman, award-winning writers on Africa, development, and agriculture, see famine as the result of bad policies spanning the political spectrum. In this compelling investigative narrative, they explain through vivid human stories how the agricultural revolutions that transformed Asia and Latin America stopped short in Africa, and how our sometimes well-intentioned strategies—alternating with ignorance and neglect—have conspired to keep the world’s poorest people hungry and unable to feed themselves.

Learn more »