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Topic: Rural Development

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The Cost of Hunger in Africa: The Social and Economic Impact of Child Undernutrition in Malawi

The Cost of Hunger in Africa (CoHA): The Social and Economic Impact of Child Undernutrition in Malawi report shows that the country loses significant sums of money each year as a result of child undernutrition through increased healthcare costs, additional burdens to the education system and lower productivity by its workforce. It estimates that child undernutrition cost Malawi 10.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2012 (most recent year with complete data).

The 12-country, government-led study is commissioned by the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development’s Planning and Coordinating Agency and supported by the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the UN World Food Programme. The study's model estimates the additional cases of illness, death, school repetitions, school dropouts, and reduced physical productivity directly associated with those suffering undernutrition before the age of five. Based on data from each country, the model then estimates the associated economic losses incurred by the economy in terms of health, education, and potential productivity in a single year. So far, it has been conducted in six countries in Africa including Malawi.

Some key findings to emerge from the study in Malawi reveal that:

  • 60 percent of adults suffered from stunting as children. This represents some 4.5 million people of working age who are not able to achieve their potential as a consequence of child undernutrition.
  • Undernutrition was associated with 23 percent of all child mortalities in Malawi. This represented some 81,800 child deaths in 2012. Child undernutrition was estimated to generate health care costs equivalent to MWK 11.4 million (US$ 46 million).
  • In Malawi, where two thirds of people are engaged in manual activities, it is estimated that in 2012 alone, MWK 16.5 billion (US$67 million) were lost due to the reduced productivity of those who were stunted as children.

Overall, the Cost of Hunger in Africa study serves as an important tool to show how undernutrition is not just a health issue, but an economic and social one as well that requires multi-sectoral commitment and investment. It reinforces the critical need to prioritize nutrition in the national development agenda.

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Banana Balangon Project: An Innovation towards Sustainable Development of T'boli and Ubo Farmers in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, Philippines

Banana Balangon Project: An innovation Towards Sustainable Development of T’boli and Ubo Farmers in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato Philippines, is a study that mainly aimed to explore the positive and significant changes in the lives of indigenous people in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, Philippines as a result of their participation in the innovation-market for organic banana. In addition, the sustainability of the project was also determined in the study. A descriptive exploratory method was employed as a research design that utilized qualitative data measures such as individual and focus group participatory economic valuation, participatory action research, semi-structured interviews, basic necessities survey and SD analyzer. Sixty four (64) T’boli and Ubo farmers were the respondents of the study. In summary, there has been a shift on the respondents’ traditional way of life from traditional hunting and gathering, and slash and burn agriculture, to having a more stable and sustainable source of income through the project.

The study hoped to contribute to the existing literature and studies of organic agriculture and banana production in the Philippines. Secondly, it desired to enrich the available data that would be helpful to the national government and local government units as well as for the farmers of the Banana Balangon Project. Lastly, the study is intended to be useful for the policy makers as to how socio-economic and cultural issues regarding organic agriculture can be addressed.

 

27.03.2015
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Healthy soils are the basis for healthy food production

The most widely recognized function of soil is its support for food production. It is the foundation for agriculture and the medium in which nearly all food-producing plants grow. In fact, it is estimated that 95% of our food is directly or indirectly produced on our soils. Healthy soils supply the essential nutrients, water, oxygen and root support that our food-producing plants need to grow and flourish. Soils also serve as a buffer to protect delicate plant roots from drastic fluctuations in temperature.

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State of the World's Forests 2014

Enhancing the socioeconomic benefits from forests

Across the world, forests, trees on farms, and agroforestry systems play a crucial role in the livelihoods of rural people by providing employment, energy, nutritious foods and a wide range of other goods and ecosystem services. They have tremendous potential to contribute to sustainable development and to a greener economy. Yet, clear evidence of this has been lacking. This evidence is critical to inform policies on forest management and use, and to ensure that the benefi ts from forests are recognized in the post-2015 development agenda, not only with respect to the environment, but also for their contributions to broader social issues.

This edition of State of the World’s Forests addresses this knowledge gap by systematically gathering and analysing available data on forests’ contributions to people’s livelihoods, food, health, shelter and energy needs. Crucially, the report also suggests how information might be improved and policies adjusted, so that the socioeconomic benefits from forests can be enhanced in the future.