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To End Hunger, Policies Need To Ensure More Inclusive Economic Growth

“Every year, we take a snapshot of world progress in the fight against chronic hunger. This year, the picture is looking better, but it’s still not good enough,” Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Vice President Kanayo Nwanze, and World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Ertharin Cousin write in an Inter Press Service opinion piece. They highlight a joint report from their agencies, released this week, which found “roughly one person in eight suffers from hunger.” They state, “One of the hard truths underscored by the report is that, despite overall progress made in hunger reduction, marked differences persist across regions, with many countries left far behind.”

“While food availability is important, it is equitable economic growth and access to employment for the poor that enhance access to nutritious food,” the authors continue, noting, “The report shows that transport, communication, safe water, sanitation, and appropriate health care and feeding practices are also crucial for reducing chronic hunger and undernutrition.” They highlight the importance of agriculture and economic growth, and state, “Greater efforts with a holistic approach are needed to combat malnutrition.” They add, “We urge governments, organizations and community leaders in every region to make economic growth more inclusive through policies that target family farmers and foster rural employment; strengthen social protection; scale up nutrition-enhancing interventions to improve dietary diversity and the health of the environment, especially for women and youth; and promote the sustainable management of natural resources and food systems” (10/2).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.