Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Is Fight against Hunger a Matter of Security?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Is Fight against Hunger a Matter of Security?

Article excerpt

Which is more likely to grab and hold attention: third-world hunger or global food security?

Kanayo Nwanze bets the answer is the latter. The Nigerian who recently became president of the United Nations' International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) says globalization has made the hunger and rural poverty that always pulled on the heartstrings an international security issue. [Editor's note:

The original version gave the wrong nationality for Dr. Nwanze.]

"People now have a clear sense of the linkages between food security and national security," says Dr. Nwanze. That understanding is helping bring questions of hunger and rural development to a broader audience, he says, "as well as to some very high places."

Hunger now can mean increased cross-border and international migration. And the riots that accompanied recent food shortages and price hikes in several parts of the world show how hunger can destabilize governments in regions of critical importance to the international battle against extremism.

That's why issues of rural hunger and food security are increasingly cropping up in venues ranging from the US Congress to the G-8 group of industrialized countries, Nwanze says. It is the emergence of food as an international security issue, Nwanze adds, that raises the odds that the international community will help developing countries come up with sustainable answers to food production challenges.

"Sustainability is determined inside a country, the answers to food production and development have to come from within," says the agronomist who studied in Kansas State University and who is recognized for developing a high-yield, drought-resistant rice for Africa. "But we also need the participation of the broader international community to answer these challenges that today have an impact on everyone."

In Washington recently in advance of this month's World Summit on Food Security in Rome, Nwanze noted that the security dimension of hunger and food production is translating into greater interest in places like the US capital. …

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