Aussie cricket legend Adam Gilchrist and World Vision’s CEO Tim Costello have urged leaders attending the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth from 28-30 October to step up to the plate and address world hunger.
The two joined forces at a widely publicised event in the Perth CBD on 24 October. They presented Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd with a giant paper plate on behalf of more than 50,000 Australians who signed postcards calling on CHOGM leaders to help end child malnutrition. Watch highlights of the event here
“More than 7,500 children under the age of five die every day because they do not have access to enough of the right types of food,” Rev Costello said.
“With more than half of all under-five child deaths occurring in Commonwealth countries, we’re urging leaders attending CHOGM to make a firm commitment to improve food security and nutrition for the world’s poor.”
New report shows small farms are the key
Rev Costello also launched a new World Vision report called Island Nation or Global Citizen: Solving the Food Crisis by Helping Small Scale Farmers
. The report shows there are 430 million small farms in the developing world that hold the key to solving the world food crisis. It says half of the world’s undernourished live on these farms.
“If leaders here at CHOGM and at the G20 provided better support to these farmers as part of a wider global strategy they could put our fight against hunger back on track. And Australia with its agriculture expertise can play a leading role,” Rev Costello said.
“Innovative technologies created for Australian farmers can be modified for smaller farmers overseas. These technologies include water saving technologies, alternative energy farm technologies, and crop development for dry conditions.”
The report found that since 2005 the prices of staple foods have skyrocketed including: wheat (up 186 percent), rice (up 252 percent), sorghum (up 191 percent) and barley (up 174 percent).
Update: Australian Government moves to strengthen food security in Africa
Following World Vision’s Step up to the Plate event in Perth, the Australian Government announced at CHOGM that it would set up a new Australian International Centre for Food Security to provide valuable agricultural research and advice to African countries in need.
“The announcement is a critical step in the re-establishment of agricultural and rural development as important targets for Australia's development assistance,” World Vision Australia spokesman Martin Thomas said.
“The research must focus on both increasing productivity and nutrition. Simply growing more grain is not the answer, there needs to be increased productivity across a wide range of foods to allow for a nutritious diet.
“There is also an urgent need to create a bridge between research and practice – the technologies often already exist but the trick is to work with communities to adapt them to local requirements.”