New York Times columnist Mark Bittman is among those fasting this week (see his column “Why We’re Fasting”). Bittman writes about food for the Times, so his action is especially poignant.
In the interest of full disclosure, my fast is not entirely selfless. Fasting, properly performed, is a good way to cleanse toxins from the body. I have been struggling with chronic congestion, and my hope is that the cleansing effect of the fast will help clear it up. Nevertheless, I, too, am concerned about the threatened reductions in funding to programs that have been helping malnourished individuals, particularly young children (for an example of how such programs can help, see this post from the Hunger and Undernutrition blog). I agree with Mr. Bittman that this is a moral issue. I hope our leaders make the right choice.
“The presence of civil war is associated with an increase in domestic food prices.” —Rabah Arezki and Markus Brueckner, Food Prices and Political Instability, March 2011
Among the World Bank’s recommendations in light of the burgeoning food crisis is to expand investment in strengthening environmentally sustainable agricultural productivity. In keeping with this policy, the Bank thus announced on March 21st that it would provide $70 million to the government of Mozambique to fund irrigation for sustainable agriculture. Last summer, Mozambique experienced street riots in response to the surge in food prices. Though the riots were short lived and did not bring about dramatic political changes, they were among the first signs that a greater unrest was building in the world.
When people are in the process of creating better conditions for themselves and their communities, they do not work in single stringed sectors of development, but they handle the complex reality in which they face their challenges, and in which the solutions must be created.So do we - attacking the problems from more angles, and in cooperation to all sides.