Emory Report

January 20, 1998

 Volume 50, No. 17

Carter Center Update:

Jan. 28 program looks
at world hunger

A "silent emergency" with enormous global implications is how Carol Bellamy, executive director of UNICEF, summarizes the problem of world hunger. Virtually half the children in South Asia and a third in sub-Saharan Africa are malnourished, with projections that one in four children worldwide will be so by 2020. Undernourishment is a critical factor in more than half of an estimated 12 million preventable deaths each year in children under 5.

To explore the correlation between population growth and the world's food supply, The Carter Center will hold a discussion on the topic Jan. 28 as part of its yearly series, "Conversations at The Carter Center." "The Next Green Revolution" will bring together Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug; Ralph Cummings, senior economist for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); Edward Schuh, chair of USAID's Board of International Food and Agriculture Development and an agricultural economist at the University of Minnesota; and Andrew Agle, director of operations for The Carter Center's Global 2000 program. John Hardman, the center's executive director, will serve as moderator.

Borlaug, known as the "Father of the Green Revolution" for having reversed widespread famine in India and Pakistan, believes sub-Saharan countries have great potential to dramatically increase food production but stated, "You can't eat potential. We need to take advantage of new, better technology."

Borlaug and Agle work together to further the mission of The Carter Center's Sasakawa Global 2000 program (SG 2000)-to end world hunger in developing countries by teaching farmers self-reliance through modern agricultural methods. Through SG 2000, local agricultural agents work side by side with farmers, primarily in Africa, teaching them to use high-yielding seeds and fertilizers, improve farming methods, store harvests and develop viable commercial markets for crops.

"Seeing is believing" summarizes the premise behind SG 2000. As Borlaug explained, "Results are right there to be seen by local farmers. A demonstration plot-an area that's a little bigger than an acre-is cleared. Extension workers help the participating farmer plant a typical crop of corn or wheat. They then meet three or four times during the crop cycle on what they call 'field days.' At least 10 neighbors are invited over to observe the methods used. And what they see is that, without exception, they can double, triple and occasionally even quadruple yields. The word spreads, and soon more and more farmers are using the new technology."

But Africa is still of special concern despite the program's success, Agle warned. "[Africa] produces nearly a third less food per person than it did 30 years ago," he said. "It is estimated that Africa will need to increase food production by 300 percent over the next 50 years. On the other hand, its population growth must be curbed; it has the world's highest birth rate. We must do more with less.

"Even though global population has doubled in the past 40 years," Agle continued, "food production overall has tripled. But will this trend continue? Even if it does, because of myriad factors such as poverty and lack of education, certain areas of the world, such as regions in Africa and Asia, will still go hungry without intervention."

"The Next Green Revolution," held 7:30 to 9 p.m., Jan. 28, is open to the public and will include a question-and-answer session. Tickets are $6, but University students, faculty and staff with Emory ID will be admitted free.

Ann Carney is communications associate at The Carter Center.

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