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Also In Global Health News: Food Production And Climate Change; Poverty And Hunger In India; Composting Toilets In Malawi

Paper Identifies How African Countries Adapt Food Production To Deal With Climate Change

A new discussion paper, led by a researcher from the University of Nairobi and produced by the International Food Policy Research Institute, examines how 10 sub-Saharan African countries have adapted food production to mitigate the effects of climate change, IRIN reports. The paper found that most countries use crops that mature faster and are tolerant of frequent and intense droughts. “The paper lists 26 adaptation strategies – two of which are common to all 10 countries, and five that are common to more than five countries – and reviews what progress has been made in adapting to erratic weather patterns” (8/9).

News Outlets Report On Struggle To Provide Food To India’s Hungry

The New York Times reports on an ongoing ideological debate in India over how to ensure the food needs of the country’s poor are met. “India’s eight poorest states have more people in poverty … than Africa’s 26 poorest nations” and an estimated 42 percent of all Indian children under age 5 are underweight, according to the newspaper. India’s “president, Sonia Gandhi, is pushing to create a constitutional right to food and expand the existing entitlement so that every Indian family would qualify for a monthly 77-pound bag of grain, sugar and kerosene.” Though, “[m]any economists and market advocates within the Congress Party [who also] agree that the poor need better tools to receive their benefits … believe existing delivering system needs to be dismantled, not expanded.” The article documents how decades of corruption and inefficiency in the handling of the national food system have led to the problems the country now faces and includes quotes from lenders, hunger-stricken families and doctors on the ground (Yardley, 8/8).

In related news, “[a] wheat stockpile in India that could feed 210 million people for a year is starting to spoil because the government lacks enough warehouses to store it – a lightning rod for local discontent that could send ripples through the world market for the grain,” the Associated Press reports. “According to a government estimate obtained by The Associated Press, 17.8 million metric tons of wheat are exposed to the elements – stored outdoors, under tarps in India’s pounding monsoon rains. … As it wastes, it promises to drive global wheat prices, up 78 percent since June, even higher,” the news service writes. The article also provides a breakdown of the number of poor in India that could benefit from receiving the grain and estimates the losses the government will face if the crop goes to waste (Kinetz, 8/6).

IPS Examines Composting Toilets In Malawi

Inter Press Service reports on how a partnership between Water Aid and a local non-governmental organization (NGO) is helping to train community members outside the capital city of Lilongwe, Malawi, to build composting toilets and improve the country’s sanitation. The article details the construction and maintenance of the low-cost toilets, called Skyloos. “Martin Meke, a WaterAid programme officer in Malawi, says that by empowering communities to construct their own toilets, the people are in a strong position to sustain the project, taking charge of improving their quality of life,” the news service writes. The article details the Malawian government’s efforts to improve water and sanitation in the country (Mithi, 8/6).

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