Essay 4: Farmers: The Key to Ending Global Hunger


The fourth essay in the Bread for the World series, called Development Works, is all about farmers solving problems. I think would please, but not much surprise, my ancestors and Karen’s ancestors.

Here are the key points, but please do read the whole paper at the link above:

Every year, U.S. humanitarian assistance,  such as food aid, eases the hunger of millions  of people who have fled natural disaster or  conflict. These are clearly emergencies. But
worldwide, most hungry people are hungry  or malnourished as a fact of their everyday
lives. Chronic hunger and malnutrition sap  the strength of adults trying to earn a living
and the potential of children trying to learn.

The 2012 Africa Human Development  Report identifies two areas of bias as “principal
factors in explaining Africa’s food  insecurity”—a bias toward towns rather than
rural areas and a bias toward men rather than  women.

Local farmers, most with less than five acres of land and little or  no animal or mechanical power, bear most of the responsibility  for feeding people in developing countries. Enabling small-scale  farmers to increase their productivity is essential to reducing
hunger or even maintaining recent progress. More than 75 percent of the world’s hungry people are smallscale  farmers or landless laborers. Fortunately, growth in the
agriculture sector is very effective in reducing poverty. (My Grandpa Bolton knew this, but lived far off the farm–poor most of his life. Grandpa Neville died of exhaustion on someone’s farm, knowing this, I think.)

Gender bias is a principal cause of hunger since women produce  well over half of the global food supply and are more likely to  spend additional income on food.

Nonetheless, few female farmers own the land they work, have  the authority to make decisions about crops and livestock, or  control their own incomes. New tools such as the Women’s  Empowerment in Agriculture Index help track progress toward
gender equity.

“Fortunately, boosting agricultural productivity has  proven to be one of the best ways of reducing global poverty.  Feed the Future, the U.S. global hunger initiative,  reports that growth in the agriculture sector is at least  twice as effective in reducing poverty as growth in other  sectors. In fact, improvements in agriculture deserve the  credit for much of the recent significant progress against  hunger—which was at 14.9 percent of the world population in 2010-2012,  down from 23.2 percent in 1990-1992.”

The information in the Bread For the World paper is compelling and detailed. I urge you to read it.  Digest it.  Share it!


About Tom Bolton

I'm a Husband and Dad, an Enterprise Systems Manager at the City of Milwaukee, and a Disciple and Lay Servant at First United Methodist of West Allis. I love working beside young people. As I study the Bible, sometimes I feel moved to work through my understanding by writing poetry. I also am going through a process to discern my calling, and to learn more about Christian Leadership. Sometimes I just feel like writing about something that grabs my attention too.
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3 Responses to Essay 4: Farmers: The Key to Ending Global Hunger

  1. This is a great post, Tom. Thanks so much for putting the spotlight on hunger.

    May God bless you richly.

  2. Reminds me of the old adage… you can give a man a fish today and he will be hungry again tomorrow. Teach a man to fish and he will feed himself, his family and others the rest of his life.
    I also note that “gender” equity, as the “world” defines it, is something that will never happen because of AGES culture, etc… but IF we strengthen the family and teach the Christian biblical principle of equal but different, honoring/respecting one another, etc. This will make a difference. “True” Christianity not only saves souls when the truth of the Word of God is taught (Jesus Saves), but I believe it also saves lives by teaching us how to live rightly and responsibly.

  3. Tom Bolton says:

    Thanks Jeff. I appreciate your words of experienced wisdom.

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