Africa has been the focus of many campaigns to end world hunger, many backed by celebrities and joined by organizations like the United Nations, but most people don’t know that the Food and Agriculture Organization is at the root of them. Some campaigns address the basic level of teaching African farmers sustainable practices and others deliver food directly to communities cut off from food supplies. Here are 10 things that the FAO has done for Africa.
Through their program TeleFood—a campaign that raises money for hunger-fighting projects—the FAO helped bring essential farming tools, agricultural inputs and farming materials to farmers in South Africa who otherwise didn’t have access to these things. TeleFood also helps teach farmers in South Africa agricultural skills.
Donations through TeleFood went to a school in Uganda that was then able to grow a fruit and vegetable garden. Now, the school has school lunches and through their gardens students can learn sustainable agricultural practices.
The FAO established the Right to Food program which states that when people do not have access to food for reasons beyond their control, it is up to their government to provide food directly. Countries like Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa have already begun or finished drafting their Right to Food Bills.
In 2007 the FAO launched their Initiative on Soaring Food Prices, which focuses particularly on the neglect of small farmers in Africa, helping them increase their output and earn more money.
Along with the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Task Force and the EU, the FAO gathered an aid package of around $19,500 million to protect food security in Zimbabwe. This money will get materials like maize and sorghum seed to small farmers to grow larger plots.
In January of 2014, FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva announced that heads of state in Africa made a commitment to the FAO to end hunger on the continent by 2025. This is the first time in African history that authorities have made such a commitment to the issue.
The FAO has had the International Plant Protection Convention since 1952, which prevents the spread of pests and plant diseases.
Through the Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases, the FAO has helped parts of Africa be completely free of cattle disease for a long period of time.
The FAO’s Plant Breeding Initiative is surveying countries throughout Africa in order to find their specific needs for better plant breeding, which improves crops and therein food security. For example, in Mozambique, they’re focusing on better plant breeding in maize— the country’s main crop.
The FAO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Department co-established the Sustainable Fisheries Livelihoods Program which has helped bring resources to small fisheries in Africa to reinforce their role in the national economy and food supply.