Tag Archives: Global food crisis

Answers from a food aid expert (Part 2)

This is the second of a 2-part series of responses to questions you asked us about food aid -- its complexities, and its implications on economic development and child health -- in advance of World Food Day, which was Sunday. Paul Macek, World Vision's senior director of food security and livelihoods team, continues answering your questions below.

Read the post that started this: Ask an expert about food aid. Then, check out the first installment in this series: Answers from a food aid expert (Part 1).

[caption id="attachment_9090" align="alignright" width="288" caption="Paul Macek, World Vision"]Ask an expert about food aid | World Vision blog[/caption]

FROM KARIN: I was wondering what happens after a child is nourished with Plumpy'Nut™ and no longer needs it. What happens next to prevent that child from slipping back into severe malnutrition? 

As you’ve rightly guessed, Karin, the easy part is providing therapeutic food to a child to restore his or her health, in the form of Plumpy'Nut™. The real challenge lies in preventing the recurrence of malnutrition. World Vision uses a comprehensive approach for this. Children who do not require therapeutic food may be given normal foods to supplement their diet -- such as porridges made of rice flour, beans, eggs, vegetables, and other nutritious foods -- until they have a healthy weight. World Vision provides information to families on how much and how often to feed their child, as well as how to prepare foods. Families are also supported by health workers to keep their children healthy through routine immunizations and prompt treatment of illnesses. A comprehensive approach also means that families are supported by agriculture and microfinance workers with assistance to help them generate income.

Fast facts: Hunger

Editor's note: June is National Hunger Awareness Month. This weekend, more than 8,000 students across the country will participate in World Vision's 30 Hour Famine. They'll experience hunger firsthand, while raising funds to care for children who face this stark reality every day -- going to bed hungry.

In the past half-decade, global food prices have reached historic highs. The grocery store -- and restaurants, when we can afford them -- account for greater portions of our paychecks. Eating in or eating out costs more now than it did even seven or eight years ago.

But where increasing food prices are merely a source of frustration for Americans, they can be devastating to people who live in poverty in other parts of the world.

In places like sub-Saharan Africa, where staple foods like grains account for nearly half of all calories consumed, rising food prices can cripple families and communities. The price of maize increased by 80 percent in just two years. Wheat prices shot up 70 percent, while the cost of rice increased by 25 percent.