Having lived all my life in Africa, I have developed an appreciation for the importance of water resources. I used to walk five times a day in a Saharan oasis to fetch water. My grandfather had a date palm field, so he always taught us how to handle water resources in order to overcome hunger and poverty.
I thought I knew well the topic of hunger and poverty for two reasons: I was born and raised in Niger and I have witnessed hunger. However, having experienced hunger and thirst does not make you a specialist of hunger and agriculture.
Therefore, I decided to join the Hunger and Agriculture Griot course in order to find solutions to hunger and to be able to pass them on to my community.
We are close to one billion hungry people in the world, which is more than the combined populations of the United States, Canada and the European Union.
About 11 million children die each year before their fifth birthday, and 60 percent of those deaths are caused by malnutrition, under-nourishment, and wasting. Worldwide, more than 1 billion people do not have enough to eat.
Therefore, it is important to urge our governments to create a circle of protection around programs for hungry people around the world.
Droughts are an act of nature but famine is manmade! About 75% of the world’s poor people live in rural areas and depend on agriculture.
But they also depend on a system which is incredibly corrupt. They do not have people in the government who really care about their conditions. The buyers know that most of the farmers are unaware of the grain prices and the stock market’s speculations therefore they take advantage of these poor farmers.
Enough crops can be grown to feed the planet but the gender gap is not helping the development of agriculture in the world.
In many developing countries, the women do not have equal access to the resources and opportunities they need to be more productive. Women have less education so they cannot access to modern agriculture input such as improved seeds, fertilizers, pest control machines and mechanical tools.
According to the FAO report, 925 million people are currently undernourished. If we send more girls to school by providing school meals, we will be able to close the gender gap. Women will acquire greater knowledge, competence, and skills in order to increase productivity. If we educate girls, we will educate the whole village.
Our societies must deal with famine instead of developing gun factories. The Nobel Prize winner in economics, Amartya Sen, is persuaded that if we develop education and close the gender gap, we will eradicate hunger and poverty.
Education is the key to reducing poverty and preventing hunger. Educated farmers, women and men, will be able to think ahead of time about all the factors which might create a food crisis. It is important to involve women as well as men to reduce poverty.
Having only started my third week of the growing solutions to hunger hands-on learning opportunity, I am already capable of thinking clearly about the factors that will enable household and communities to move out of poverty over the long term.
We have to teach farmers to pay attention to the environmental degradation, to rely on sustainable practices, and to cooperate effectively with other smallholders. Many developing countries have used highly mechanized and very input-intensive, which led to environmental degradation.
According to Morris Adler, “the purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.”
I must admit that since I have started the Growing Solutions to Hunger, the Hunger and Agriculture Griot Project hands-on learning course, my mind has grown and I have no doubt that it will continue growing.