Danielle Nierenberg, President, Food Tank: The Food Think Tank, told IPS poverty equals food insecurity in many rural areas of the developing world, particularly sub-Saharan Africa.
When harvests are bad or there isn’t enough food to the last though the hunger season, the rural poor don’t have any safety net, she said.As a result, malnutrition, stunting, and micronutrient deficiencies impact millions of people living in isolated rural areas.
Unfortunately, when people are hungry and angry—as a result of lack of jobs, lack of rural infrastructure, lack of education, or the impacts of climate change—they become “hangry”, she added, coining a new word.
“This can lead to social unrest like we saw during the Arab Spring or today in Syria. That’s why it’s important for governments to invest in not just rural areas, but also in making rural areas economically and intellectually stimulating places for youth to live and where they see agriculture as an opportunity, not a burden.”
She said investing in the next generation of agricultural leaders—not only farmers, but scientists, extension agents, researchers, and policymakers who care about food agriculture—is not only important for food security, but also for national and international security.
“If we really care about preventing terrorism and social unrest, we need to invest and support rural agriculture and livelihoods”, she declared.
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