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News: Scientists Confirm Historic Massive Flood in Climate Change
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Author Topic: WORLD HUNGER  (Read 1855 times)
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Posts: 41646

« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2009, 08:22:32 am »

Food for through

Widespread droughts across Africa have devastated crops this year. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 30 countries around the world are in crisis and require help from overseas.

Fruits, leaves, wood and bark provide the vital resources for rural life

Trees: More than just carbon sinks

The effects of climate change are making droughts more of a norm than an exception. This is a pattern that places some of the most vulnerable communities in an increasingly precarious position when it comes to meeting basic food needs.

In Burkina Faso in West Africa, malnutrition affects nearly 40% of the rural poor. Climate change is further impacting on already fragile agricultural lands, and high food costs are affecting people's health.

By the time shortages and hunger in countries like Burkina Faso reach "emergency" levels and warrant aid; families, communities, agricultural practices and lands will have suffered greatly.

The G8 summit held in Italy at the beginning of July pledged $20 billion to support indigenous food production to alleviate the need for such emergency food aid.

What is missing from this pledge is any mention of the key role that trees can play.

"Conventional" crops are often not native and require expensive inputs, significant irrigation and land preparation in order to produce a successful harvest.

Food from trees can provide vital nutrition when other food crops fail 
This means that they are more vulnerable to droughts. For smallholder farmers in Africa's drylands, a failed harvest can mean months of malnutrition and hardship.

Trees, on the other hand, often survive when other crops fail. Commonly seen by the West as "famine foods", tree foods already form a significant part of daily diets across rural Africa.

Trees provide fruits, nuts, seeds, leaves, flowers, sepals, even sap, which can all be used as food.

Take Moringa oleifera - its leaves have more beta-carotene than carrots, more protein than peas, more vitamin C than oranges, more calcium than milk, more potassium than bananas and more iron than spinach.

Data shows that nursing mothers produce more milk when they add Moringa leaves to their diet.

The leaves can be dried and eaten during the hungry period, and animal fodder from trees is also vital in producing milk and meat.

This existing localised "emergency relief", is what the G8 funding must seek to strengthen.
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