Ending world hunger is within reach: Study finds it will cost only USD 11 billion more a year
ROME—October 17, 2016—Ending world hunger is within reach, according to a new study that found it will cost USD 11 billion a year to feed hundreds of millions of needy people.
Donors will need to provide USD 4 billion of the total—a 45 per cent increase over current spending of USD 8.6 billion on global hunger programs—based on the traditional share of donor spending in developing countries.
The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) joined forces to estimate what it would cost to end hunger by 2030. The research was supported by the New Venture Fund.
The aim was to determine how much donors would need to spend in order to achieve the second Sustainable Development Goal adopted by world leaders in September 2015.
The IISD and IFPRI analysis focused on the cost of ending hunger through increased spending on social safety nets directly targeting consumers, farm support to expand production and increase poor farmers’ income, and rural development that reduces inefficiencies along the value chain and enhances productivity in rural areas.
“The benefits go far beyond just filling bellies,” said study author Livia Bizikova, director of IISD’s Knowledge Program. “Not only will there be better educational outcomes and a healthier workforce, but the money spent to end hunger—which includes investments in roads, new technologies and rural infrastructure—will spur much-needed economic development.”
The study estimates that an extra USD 5 billion in private investment will be generated every year from the additional public spending.
IISD and IFPRI designed a first-of-its kind economic model that uses household survey data to understand in detail the impact of a wide range of investments on the consumption and production of major food items.
“We know how to end hunger, and our analysis demonstrates that—with the right mix of investments—it can be achieved quickly,” said Carin Smaller, an advisor on agriculture and investment at IISD. “Ending hunger is both achievable and affordable.”
The IFPRI-IISD model is the first time the cost of ending hunger has been examined using household data. This breaks new ground because the model was able to target hungry households and prioritize investments to their needs and living conditions. For example, countries with hungry urban populations were given more food stamps, and those with hungry rural populations were given more farm support and rural infrastructure.
“The granularity of our model increases efficiencies and reduces spending, thereby reducing the overall cost of ending hunger,” said David Laborde, study author and senior research fellow at IFPRI.
“The model integrates the key economic, social and environmental factors that affect agriculture, thereby providing a robust quantitative framework for estimating costs.”
The costs identified are lower than many previous estimates for a number of reasons beyond efficiencies and better targeting. The model uses the FAO’s definition of hunger, which determines that a country has ended hunger when more than 95 per cent of the population is able to consume a sufficient number of calories. Closing the final hunger gap—something the world’s wealthiest countries have not yet achieved—is also costlier and complex.
Ministers from Africa welcomed the results.
Dr. George Chaponda, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development from Malawi, said:
“We successfully implemented a voucher scheme over the last 10 years, which provides seeds and fertilizers to small farmers to improve productivity and food security. At least four independent evaluators found convincing evidence of positive impacts on household. We know this works but we cannot keep the program going without help. This report shows how affordable it really is to end hunger by 2030."
H.E. Njama Nango Dembélé, Minister for Livestock and Fisheries from Mali said:
"Land reforms in countries such as Malawi, Brazil and Bolivia, have shown very positive effects on hunger, especially when working with communities and strengthening customary land rights. Mali has just implemented its own land reform process including a new land law that integrates pastoral land rights. We need more support to help implement this law and maximize the potential to end hunger."
About the International Institute for Sustainable Development
The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an independent think tank that delivers the knowledge to act. Our mission is to promote human development and environmental sustainability. Our big-picture view allows us to address the root causes of some of the greatest challenges facing our planet today – ecological destruction, social exclusion, unfair laws and economic and social rules, a changing climate. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa and Toronto, our work impacts lives in nearly 100 countries.
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