UN, Jimmy Carter Say Time Is Ripe to End Hunger

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Von Braun co-authored a report presented to the January meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The report gave global efforts to meet hunger-reduction targets a score of three out of a possible ten. "If things progress as they are currently, we will reach only one-third of the Millennium Development Goal," he said.

In addition to increased financial aid from the world's richest countries, the Hunger Task Force's report calls for political leaders in the developing world to create an enabling environment for the poor and hungry to support themselves.

"We cannot expect to be successful in places that are in war. We cannot expect to be successful in places that have absolute theocracy like Zimbabwe. No way, that's impossible. We have to wait for those countries to change first," Sanchez said.

Meanwhile, Sanchez said, it is crucial to work with countries like the African nations of Senegal, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Madagascar, which have demonstrated a readiness to end hunger.

Effective Programs

Since 1986 the Carter Center has been working with the Sasakawa Africa Association to teach farmers agricultural techniques that double or triple their crop yields. The program, known as Sasakawa Global 2000, has reached more than four million farmers in 15 sub-Saharan African countries.

"Agriculture stimulates positive change, proving that when we share our resources and knowledge with others, they can be empowered to help themselves and can overcome obstacles that once seemed insurmountable," Carter said.

Other programs the Hunger Task Force recommends include providing all schoolchildren with free lunches made from locally produced foods and improving roads and communications to give local farmers access to the global marketplace.

"A major priority has to come in making markets work for the poor and increasing productivity of small farmers. Ending hunger cannot be achieved just by a massive global feeding program," von Braun said.

According to Sanchez, studies show that for every dollar of increased agricultural productivity in developing countries, those countries import 73 cents worth of goods from rich countries.

"Let's modify the whole Chinese saying of, 'Give a person a fish and they will fish for a day; teach a person how to fish and they'll eat for a lifetime,' and add, 'they'll buy fishing equipment, they'll get into the marketplace,' he said.

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