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Global Hunger Fund

Since June 2010, an additional 44 million people fell below the 1.25-US-dollar poverty line as a result of higher food prices. The situation may even get worse, as simulations show that a further 10-percent increase in the food price index could lead to 10 million people falling into poverty, while a 30-percent increase could increase poverty by 34 million people. [World Bank Food Price Watch]
 
Investing in Sustainable Solutions to Global Hunger
 
Despite the repeated pledges of world leaders over the past thirty-five years to confront hunger, the number of hungry people continues to rise. Due to a surge in commodity prices in 2007-08, that number has now risen to approximately one billion, or nearly one sixth of humanity. However, expanding the volume of food alone will not solve the problem of hunger. As established by Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen through his research on the 1943 Bengal Famine,[i] people typically starve to death because they cannot afford to grow or buy food, not because of inadequate aggregate supply.
 
Long-term approaches to hunger eradication and poverty alleviation must therefore address not just the aggregate quantity of food to be produced and distributed, but also how food is produced, and by whom.
 
The 2008 International Assessment of Agriculture, Science, Technology and Development (IAASTD) warns that “the way the world grows its food will have to change radically to better serve the poor and hungry if the world is to cope with a growing population and climate change while avoiding social breakdown and environmental collapse.”[ii] But as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food makes clear, ending global hunger also requires a clear understanding of exactly who is hungry:
 
 “These one billion hungry people belong to three main categories: first, small-scale farmers and other self-employed food producers (60% of the hungry); second, landless agricultural workers (20% of the hungry); and third, the urban poor (the remaining 20%). A rights-based approach to the global food crisis would require that we pay equal attention to all these categories, and that we ensure that their entitlements are adequately protected. Since hunger is not the result of too little food being produced, but rather of marginalization and disempowerment of the poorest, who lack the purchasing power they need to procure the food that is available, guaranteeing such a protection should be a top priority.”[iii]
 
Hasanah Fund has developed an integrated program to support agricultural production, organizational capacity building, research and documentation, and targeted advocacy. The program is predicated on the well-substantiated premise that the current global agricultural system has failed to guarantee the food rights of over a billion hungry people, and that alternative approaches must boost the productive capacity of hungry people themselves, 60% of whom are smallholder farmers and another 20% landless agricultural laborers.
 
Hasanah Fund is seeking partnerships to support a three-year pilot program in five countries with an aim to expand the program to twenty countries. Over three years, the pilot program to be started in five countries will improve the lives of approximately 866,000 people. The benefits generated to over 866,000 hungry people by this project will be sustainable over time, because the approach builds local capacity and reduces dependence on external inputs. By contrast, a program that provided $0.20 per day worth of direct food aid over three years would reach only about 83,000 people—fewer than one-tenth the number contemplated in this project—and the benefits would end with the project. To the degree that the project succeeds in collaborating with multiple stakeholders to create more enabling policy contexts, millions more hungry people could eventually benefit.
 
To learn more about partnership opportunities, contact WCMP at info@thewcmp.org