Sunday, August 15, 2010

Famine in Niger

Niger hunger 'worse than 2005'

BBC
Aug 14, 2010
Niger is now facing the worst hunger crisis in its history, the UN's World Food Programme says, with almost half the population - or 7.3 million people - in desperate need of food.

A WFP spokesman said villagers in Niger described the situation as worse than 2005, when thousands died of hunger.

After a prolonged drought, heavy rains have now hit parts of the country, killing at least six people.

The WFP says 17% of children, or one in five, are acutely malnourished.    Read More

I think it’s worth noting that Niger has very few modern ag techniques being used. You don’t seem to find hunger situations like these in countries that have adopted modern production practices. For those that claim we should get rid of the last one hundred year’s worth of food production technology and grow stuff the way they did back in the good old days, I would suggest moving to Niger and see how well it works.

5 comments:

MD Somers said...

I think a lot of people confuse technology with the companies that develop and sell it.

Technology that improves agricultural efficiency is a good thing. If it does so to the detriment of the environment that's not a good thing, but then some technology can actually improve the environment - such as nutrient-fixing GM crops.

However, many of the farmers that most need the technology cannot afford it and so they are forced to take out loans (which ultimately ruin them) or consolidate into bigger farms (which can hasten desertification trends) or move to intensive monoculture cash crops in order to pay for it (which also contributes to land degradation as well as potentially leading to a host of economic problems in regions that become reliant on a single form of agriculture).

There's no doubt that the famine in Niger has as much to do with poverty and the lack of technology as it does with environmental problems - introducing greater technology would definitely be a good thing but it needs to be sensitively.

nuts4ag said...

Which Pollan techniques are you referring to EXACTLY, that these farmers are using? I'm not sure using a drought induced famine to try to push an anti-Pollan agenda is really very classy.

Troy Hadrick said...

@nuts I'm specifically referring to the fact that Pollan thinks we can feed this world by everyone having 40 acres and a mule. He wants us to shun the last 100 years of food production technology, basically putting us into a system that they use in thirld world countries to grow food.

Ryan said...

Troy,

Here is an interesting article from Foreign Affairs printed earlier this spring - http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/04/26/attention_whole_foods_shoppers

You may have already seen it, but I believe it is applicable to this story.

Thank you for all your great work on behalf of agriculture producers.

Anonymous said...

Do you know the history of Niger? How can you use a famine, which is interlocked with a century of social injustice, to advance your cause? That is unethical on such a vast scale, it's unreal.
When you people speak of "feeding the world," are you shipping your cheap, efficient meat to those starving people as I write this?
And, have you noticed that famines one one side of the world happen as obesity rises on this one? It's called geopolitical injustice, governments corrupted by a history of imperialist pressures. Read the book Late Victorian Holocaust for the history of this imbalance before writing your propaganda, maybe.