Greenhouses in the Backyard
Urban farming in Kenya: the dawn of food security in Africa?
Please take a moment to let the following number really sink in: almost 2 billion people on this planet suffer from hunger or malnutrition. That amounts to around 30 per cent of the global population.
This is a number we cannot – and must not – simply accept; only calling it to mind at Christmastime when the repeated calls for donations flash across our television screens again. This is an alarming number that demands we do something about it right now. As well it should: each of us can contribute to stopping hunger in this world.
That is why this post-Christmas issue of DDD is entirely dedicated to the issue of hunger. Food security and nutrition is once again a key focal point of German development policy. So this issue was also planned as follow-up and in-depth exploration of our "Securing food. Harvesting the future!" conference held at the end of last year. In mid-December 2012, just a few weeks ago, I invited international experts from the field of food security and nutrition to Berlin to discuss and advance the BMZ's strategies for developing rural areas, with myself and my colleague Federal Minister Ilse Aigner. Our guests included Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). The conference yielded many positive results, including Annan's and my decision to promote closer cooperation between AGRA and the BMZ – an arrangement I am very happy about on a personal level.
Above all, though, we need to take a close, critical look at ourselves – and here I am not just referring to German politics. I am appealing to all the industrialised nations. All we need to do is look at one example – biofuel policy – to see that a better sense of judgement is desperately needed! When food is scarce, we can't turn around and burn it to fuel our cars. We need to work together to ensure that our efforts in one area are not cancelled out by opposing efforts in another.
This issue takes up many of the topics discussed at the conference, starting with contributions from Kofi Annan and my colleague Ilse Aigner. DDD moves ahead on these issues, past a mere discussion of the problems to talk about possible solutions and small innovative projects aimed at ending hunger locally through very simple approaches – such as the urban gardening movement that is enjoying such resounding success in Kenya and Egypt.
"Every five seconds, one child under the age of ten dies of starvation" – this is a quote from Jean Ziegler, the first UN Special Rapporteur for the Right for Food. In his interview with DDD he quite rightly emphasises that each and every one of us has the power to do something to change this terrible statistic. Ultimately we can all work to save lives! Official development assistance alone cannot overcome this challenge – it can only provide impulses. Change must emerge from the centre of our societies. Please lend a hand!