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Stronger together-we can have a free hunger Africa

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As hunger and drought spread across Africa, there’s a huge focus on increasing yields of staple crops, such as maize, wheat, cassava, and rice. Although these crops are important for improving food security, they cannot cure malnutrition alone.
There is no one-size fits all or single crop solution to solving global hunger, alleviating poverty, or protecting the environment and mitigating climate change. But the good news is that there is a multi-crop solution and it’s already being spear-headed by farmers on the ground: vegetables.
Some 1 billion people worldwide are affected by “hidden hunger,” or micronutrient deficiencies – lack of Vitamin A, iron, and iodine, none of which are found in staple crops, but rather, in vegetables. Vegetable production is the most sustainable and affordable way of alleviating micronutrient deficiencies among the poor.
It’s also the most sustainable and affordable way of improving biodiversity, preserving traditions and cultures, and improving livelihoods. Because vegetables typically have a shorter growing period than staple crops, they are less risk-prone to drought, maximizing scarce water supplies and soil nutrients better than crops such as maize.
The hardiness and drought-tolerance of traditional vegetables become increasingly important as climate change becomes more evident. Many indigenous vegetables use less water than hybrid varieties and some are resistant to pests and disease without the use of chemical inputs, which are expensive both financially and environmentally.
Of course, it’s not only crucial for farmers to grow indigenous species; people also need to want to eat them. In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, local foods are looked down upon by rich and poor shoppers alike. In Senegal, for example, many consumers and cooks consider local rice to be inferior and instead buy imported European brands that can cost four times as much.
At the heart of these issues is a loss of knowledge about agricultural practices and indigenous varieties that create local agricultural, as well as cultural, biodiversity. While what we eat is important, what may be even more essential over the long term is preserving knowledge about how to plant, grow, and cook what we eat.
Finally, Political will to keep this issue high on domestic and international agendas, for no country can be strong when its people are weakened by hunger. The role of civil society in constantly encouraging governments to make agriculture a priority is vital here as well
Developing country leaders, private sector companies, donors, NGOs and others now have the chance to achieve something incredible within our lifetimes. This week and into the future, I challenge my colleagues working in global development, especially heads of state and private sector leaders, to prioritise this issue. Working together -- across sectors and disciplines -- we can make hunger history.
The recognition of the critical importance of financing. The impressive progress so far will not be sustained and accelerated without new investment from both the private sector and developing countries themselves, in addition to traditional donors.
We must retain and strengthen country ownership. Developing countries -- who suffer disproportionately from food insecurity -- must take the lead in defining their own path to prosperity.
We must seize on this critical moment and build on the incredible progress that's been made in recent years. We all gain if we get this right. Increasing food security not only lifts the shadow of hunger from hundreds of millions of our fellow human beings. It also builds up economies and trade and minimizes the risk of political instability.I believe there are four main keys to tipping the scales and sentencing global hunger to extinction. #EndHunger #FoodIsHealth #ZeroHunger #SDG2
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