Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

MDG Hunger Target: Analysis of Cereal Production System and the Evaluation of Cereal Production Potential in Africa

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

MDG Hunger Target: Analysis of Cereal Production System and the Evaluation of Cereal Production Potential in Africa

Article excerpt

Abstract

The contradiction between Africa's GDP growth and poverty has raised much debate in the scientific community, which casts much doubt on Africa's prospect in achieving MDG (Millenium Development Goals) hunger target. To better tackle this issue, we resort to grey system theory for solution. Firstly, by grey relational analysis (GRA), we aim to find out the relationship between the population undernourished (PU, the major index of MDG hunger target), and cereal production (CP). Then we establish a grey system composed of 8 factors, to identify the major ones in affecting cereal production. Through GRA and grey prediction model GM(1,1), the grey relations between each set of 2 factors out of the 8, as mentioned above, are analyzed and predicted. Next, we evaluate the short-term performance of Africa in reaching MDG hunger target by utilizing GM(1,1) as well. Finally, long-term continental and national cereal productions are forecasted by GM(1,1) from 2021 to 2051, based on data 1961-2011, which can serve as a signifier for Africa's CPP (cereal production prediction) and the corresponding potential in cutting down PU in the long run. The results from this study suggest that PU and CP are related so that we could cut down PU by promoting CPP, that different factors is likely to show different extents of projected relativeness with cereal production in the future, and that the national disparities of cereal production in Africa are inclined to rise, although the majority of African countries may be able to enjoy a remarkable boost in cereal production prediction. Most importantly, 38% of Africa countries show encouraging signs in achieving MDG hunger target on the national level, indicating that we need to be very cautious in believing in Africa's ability of achieving it on the whole continent. Finally, several methods and suggestions in eradicating hunger and promoting cereal production are come up with.

Keywords: cereal production, population undernourished, MDG hunger target, grey system theory, Africa

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1. Introduction

The Millenium Development Goals were mapped out in September 2000, aiming at solving wide-ranging global social, economic, and environmental issues, among which agriculture and hunger eradication have taken their rightful places as one of the top priorities on this international agenda (FAO, 2012). Factually, several authors either opine their concerns about the accuracy and reliability of the MDGs' design, or harbor quite pessimistic opinions about achieving these seemingly out-of-reach targets (Gunter et al., 2008; Konotey-Ahulu, 2008; Liu et al., 2008; Easterly, 2009; Wakabi, 2010; Ogujiuba & Jumare, 2012; Fukuda-Parr et al., 2013). Despite all of these different voices, researchers from FAO still remain optimistic and reassure us that the new estimates show that progress in reducing hunger during the past 20 years has been better than previously believed, and that, given renewed efforts, it may be possible to reach the MDG hunger target at the global level by 2015 (FAO et al., 2012).

However, F AO researchers' encouraging assertion cannot keep us from wondering how well this claim applies to Africa, since it has earned a world-renowned reputation as a starving continent for quite a while, and is just underway in trying to promote crop production, feed the poor, and alleviate the rampant hunger (Lana, 1992; Lamb, 2000; Maredia et ai., 2000; Buerkert et ai., 2001; Scanlan, 2004; Misselhorn, 2005; Love et ai., 2006; del Ninno et ai., 2007; Valente, 2009; Misselhorn et ai., 2012). One lesson that we have learned from prior legends in alleviating poverty like China is that investment in agriculture, more so than that in other sectors, can bear economic growth frnits that channels more benefits to the poor, hungry and malnourished (FAO, 2012).

As to food security, it seems to have something in common with MDG hunger target in a sense, since both of them prioritize feeding the world and caring for the poor (see Figure 1, which is plotted with reference to the information on the webpage http://www. …

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