Child malnutrition levels to drop by 30% in 2050

Johannesburg- South Africa (PANA) -- Numbers of malnourished children could drop dramatically world-wide from the current 31% to 11 percent by 2050, says a report to be released by the Washington D.
C.
based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
However, in that document to be presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in Nairobi, Kenya, IFPRI predicts only a modest drop in malnutrition "if there are serious policy or technology failures in the next half-century".
"We have come to a major crossroads for the world food situation.
Fifty years from now, one child in four could be suffering from chronic hunger, or it could drop to one child in ten.
"The outcome depends on decisions made now and in the next few years," says Joachim von Braun, IFPRI director general and lead author of the report in a news release issued in advance.
The research predicts that 38 million children would be malnourished in 2050, down from the current 166 million.
This scenario would be only possible if progressive policy actions take place in the near future, including increased public spending on agricultural and rural development by both developing and industrialized countries, adds the release.
These include expanded investment in agricultural research, high levels of investment in education, social services, as well as health and improved irrigation efficiency.
The "progressive policy" scenario projects that after 2015, child nutrition will improve steadily in all developing regions of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa.
Latin America, the Middle East and China would virtually eliminate child malnutrition by 2030.
The report which provides two pessimistic scenarios that could leave 135-140 million children malnourished in 2025, assumes "policy failure" could occur as a result of certain factors.
It mentions these to be increased conflict over policies to increase investment, lack of progress on agricultural trade negotiations, more protectionism, and other political failures.
The "technology and resource management failure" scenario assumes that there will be water mismanagement, worsening pest problems, and lack of adaptation to climate change.
Under these negative circumstances, child malnutrition in developing countries could actually increase until 2015, and then declines only modestly thereafter, the document hints.
"In sub-Saharan Africa, child malnutrition rates continue to grow through 2050," says the report.
"While pessimistic, these scenarios are possible, if current trends worsen," warned Mark Rosegrant, the report's co-author and director of Environment and Production Technology at IFPRI.
"These projections should raise alarm bells for governments in both developing and industrialized countries.
" The report also notes that three months ago, the African Union heads of state summit in Maputo agreed to devote 10% of public expenditures to agriculture to bolster food security.
In the 1990s, African governments devoted just 5 percent of their budgets to agriculture.

28 october 2003 11:04:00




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