Fertile soil is one of the basic building blocks of agricultural productivity. In order for crops to grow properly, soils need to contain the proper nutrients; unfortunately in many areas of the world, soils have become depleted of their nutrients, leading to decreased productivity.

With less than two years to go to meet the Millennium Development Goals, how has the world done on its goal of halving hunger? According to the IFPRI 2013 Global Food Policy Report, released this week, much work remains. While the number of chronically hungry people has declined from 1 billion to around 842 million over the last 30 years, this number is still unacceptably high. One in eight people around the world suffers from hunger on a daily basis.

Use, control, and ownership of productive assets – land, money, livestock, and education, to name just a few – are essential stepping stones on the path out of poverty. But this pathway can look very different depending on whether you are a man or a woman. Growing evidence suggests that women typically have fewer assets than men, and that they use those assets differently. What’s more, agricultural development programs may impact men’s and women’s assets in different, sometimes unexpected, ways.

This piece was originally posted on IFPRI.org.
By Rebecca Sullivan

Input subsidy programs—a mainstay of 1960s and 1970s international donor agendas—have regained favor in Africa south of the Sahara in recent years. Although 10 African countries spent more than $1 billion on these programs in 2011 alone, little information exists on the impacts the programs are having on households and communities.

Since 1998, the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP), coordinated by the Center for Global Trade Analysis at Purdue University, has organized an annual conference to promote the exchange of ideas among economists conducting quantitative analysis of global economic issues. In June 2014, the 17th Annual Conference will be co-organized by AGRODEP and held in Dakar, Senegal.

This blog was originally posted on the ReSAKSS-Africa blog.
By Yifei Liu

Mortality rates for children under age five have declined in Africa south of the Sahara since 2000, thanks to a better prevention of malaria, a greater share of births in medical centers, improved antenatal care, access to clean water and sanitation facilities, and increasing levels of income. However, a recent released report shows that the hunger level in Africa remains at an “alarming” level in Africa.

FEWS Net has issued an alert for East Africa, stating that a delayed start to the annual June-September rains is threatening harvests throughout the region. While rainfall has improved in recent weeks, FEWS estimates that normal rainfall would need to not only continue for the remainder of the season but extend past the normal rainy season in order for crops to fully recover. In large areas of Sudan, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, total rainfall has been 20-50 percent lower than average.

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