“We need to build warehouses! We need markets!”
As leaders of the world’s top industrial countries gather for the Group of Eight summit in Canada, they can look to the long-suffering hills of Rwanda to see the fruits – and vegetables — of their actions.
The challenge before us was laid out in all its daunting intensity:
For anyone who doesn’t “get” the moral and economic imperative of ending hunger through agriculture development, here’s another motivating imperative: security, both domestic and global.
Just back from Sudan, Rajiv Shah, USAID administrator, came to the Chicago Council’s Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security this morning with fresh evidence that food security is the key to national prosperity, regional stability and international peace.
As Rajiv Shah spoke at last week’s Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security, I thought about an image in his old office at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation before he became Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Hanging on the wall behind his desk was a photo of a child crouching in a blue wash bucket somewhere in Africa. Only her head was visible above the bucket’s rim.
Tell me about the girl, I asked.
The clamor begins just inside the door of Ridge Academy elementary school on Chicago’s south side. Short essays and drawings shout out to all those who pass:
“Many people are dying now because of hunger.”
The looming famine in Niger is a gripping reminder of the urgency of the task at hand: ending hunger through agriculture development.
From across the pond, amid the sniping and bickering of the current election season in the United Kingdom, comes a worthy idea: enshrining in law the nation’s commitment to provide a certain level of foreign development aid.
Earth Day was a green-letter day in the fight against global hunger.
It’s all the same really, the clamor over hunger, climate change and environmental preservation. The common goal: improve food production and nutritional quality to feed the planet’s ever-expanding and more prosperous population while adapting to climate change and protecting delicate eco-systems.
It was in the scary days of the Cold War when Norman Borlaug, a plant breeder from small-town Iowa, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970. An odd choice, perhaps, given the nuclear standoff at the time, but the Norwegian committee bestowing the award had a good reason.
A blunt reminder of the task at hand came from Europe this week, aimed at the powers-that-be in the Group of Eight leading industrial countries, also known as the G8:
“Declarations, commitments and speeches don’t feed hungry people.”
After the passage of the health care bill, doing the big and historic is again possible in politics.
Bill Gates calls himself an “impatient optimist.”
Would that we all shared his optimism and, especially, his impatience.