Food Security

Obama and G8 Call For $20 Billion Initiative To Support World's Poorest Farmers

President Barack Obama and the G8’s call for a new $20 billion initiative to support smallholder farmers in hunger-ridden countries is an enormous contribution to cutting hunger and raising rural incomes in Africa and other low-income food-deficit regions.

Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, special advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and his colleagues in the UN Millennium Project Hunger Task Force, which was led by Dr. Pedro Sanchez and Dr. M. S. Swaminathan, have been calling for this kind of effort for several years. President Obama, UN Secretary General Ban, World Bank President Robert Zoellick, and Prime Minster Jose Luis Zapatero of Spain, worked for many months to launch the new initiative. Prof. Sachs and his colleagues provided analytical support and recommendations in those discussions, and presented their findings in support of this approach in several international conferences in recent years.

They have also demonstrated this approach successfully in the Millennium Villages Project, and worked closely with President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi on that country's pathbreaking agriculture program, which has successfully doubled food production after 2005 compared with previous years."

Recent articles from the Earth Institute on food security

"Input Subisidies to Improve Smallholder Maize Productivity in Malawi: Toward an African Green Revolution", with Glenn Denning, Patrick Kabambe, Pedro Sanchez, Alia Malik, Rafael Flor, Rebbie Harawa, Phelire Nkhoma, Colleen Zamba, Clement Banda, Chrispin Magombo, Michael Keating, and Justine Wangila, PLoS Biology, 7(1): e1000023, 27 January 2009. [Download article as PDF]

"Smallholder Food Production and Poverty Reduction: Principles for a Financial Coordination Mechanism to Support Smallholder Farmers" Ad Hoc Advisory Group to the Madrid Conference on Food Security,
Chaired by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, IDEAS Foundation, 26 January 2009.
[Download as PDF]

"Food For Thought" Economy Viewpoint, The Report - Senegal 2009, Oxford Business Group, April 2009

"Homegrown Aid," The New York Times, 8 April 2009.

"How to Solve the Growing Global Food Crisis, in Three Steps", NY Daily News, July 23, 2008

"Surging Food Prcies and Global Stability" Scientific American, June 2008

"The African Green Revolution" Scientific American, May 2008

"Bhagwati and Sachs on the Food Crisis" International Herald Tribune, May 7, 2008

New Report on Malawi’s Agricultural Breakthrough

In a paper just published in the prestigious open-access journal, PloS Biology, Earth Institute rural development specialist Glenn Denning and colleagues in Malawi, Kenya and New York, documented and analyzed an ambitious input subsidy program in Malawi. This four-year-old program has helped lift Malawi from dependency on food aid to being a food-surplus nation, even supplying Zimbabwe with 300,000 tons of maize during its current crisis.

View Report: "Input Subsidies to Improve Smallholder Maize Productivity in Malawi: Toward an African Green Revolution

Food Security for All

This January, a high level meeting in Madrid, convened by the president of the Spanish Government and the secretary-general of the United Nations, aimed to help forge a new global partnership on global food security and help to mobilize international grants for agriculture, food and nutrition in the poorest countries.

Jeffrey Sachs was invited by Prime Minister Zapatero to lead an Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Food Security to develop recommendations for improving smallholder food production in the poorest countries. The report that was circulated at the meeting.

Download Report: “Smallholder Food Production and Poverty Reduction

Food Crisis

Nearly a billion people experience desperate hunger, and the global economic crisis is making their situation more unstable. Millions of children are dying each year of chronic malnutrition. There is rising demand for food from growing populations; stagnation in the growth of crop production; increasing diversion of food crops into biofuels; and droughts, which may be the cutting edge of ongoing climate change.

According to Jeffrey Sachs and other Earth Institute leaders, the world must adapt to climate and other challenges using both technology and common sense, in order to produce more food, and ensure that the poor, as well as the rich, have access to it.

More About the Food Crisis

Are Malthus's Predicted 1798 Food Shortages Coming True?
By Jeffrey D. Sachs
Scientific American,  August 18, 2008

How to solve the growing global food crisis, in three steps
By Jeffrey D. Sachs
New York Daily News, July 24, 2008

Crisis presents opportunity
July 13, 2008

Africa's Food Crisis Opportunity
Guelph Mercury,
July 4, 2008

Africa needs a farming revolution, experts say
McClatchy Washington Bureau,
June 20, 2008

Sustaining growth is the century’s big challenge
By Martin Wolf
Financial Times Comment, June 11, 2008
Response to Martin Wolf by Jeffrey Sachs

Uncle Sam Needs to Solve the Energy Crisis
By Jeffrey D. Sachs
Time, May 29, 2008

Stagflation is back. Here's how to beat it
By Jeffrey D. Sachs
Fortune, May 28, 2008

Surging Food Prices Mean Global Instability
Misguided policies favor biofuels over grain for hungry people.
Scientific American, May 19, 2008

A New Deal for Poor Farmers
Project Syndicate, May 2008

Global Food Systems: Their Impact on Nutrition and Health for All

Experts from the food industry, private sector, academia and media convened on September 16, 2008 to discuss the need for global cooperation across international borders and key groups of society.

View global food systems event videos
View global food systems event blog