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Millions fed: Proven successes in agricultural development

Millions fed

Edited by David J. Spielman and Rajul Pandya-Lorch
Published by IFPRI
Website: www.ifpri.org
2009, 165pp, ISBN 978 0 89629 661 9(Pb), free to download

Over the past 50 years, numerous agricultural developments have helped to feed millions of people, while also expanding markets, conserving natural resources, reducing poverty and improving nutrition. But, with one billion people still suffering from hunger and malnutrition, much work has still to be done. By documenting 20 large-scale initiatives that have helped to reduce hunger, Millions fed is aiming to inform future policymaking and influence future investments by providing in-depth analysis of why and how these interventions succeeded.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, two programmes to control the cassava mosaic disease and mealybug contributed to improvements in food security for at least 29 million, according to one case study. During the 1970s and 1980s, bio-control strategies to combat mealybug infestations reduced yield losses by 2.5 tons per hectare, while disease resistant varieties of cassava helped to increase yields by 40 per cent. Other case studies in the book include global efforts to contain wheat rust, to control and eradicate rinderpest, to reform land tenure in Vietnam, develop community forestry in Nepal, reforms of cotton production in Burkina Faso, zero-tillage in Argentina, improved maize cropping in Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and the Green Revolution in Asia.

"While no single story offers a complete solution to ending hunger, each one illustrates the importance of combined approaches to achieve success, including good science, collaboration, visionary leadership, community action, and progressive policies," Spielman explains. With clear and well-written analysis of the ingredients of success, and key lessons that can be learnt, Millions fed will appeal to anyone interested in combating hunger and malnutrition.

Date published: January 2010


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