Former UN Secretary-General Annan: “Only Way to Reduce Hunger is to Increase Food Production”

Posted by on May 23rd, 2011 | 0 Comments »

In an April, 2011 interview with the Financial Times, Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Founder of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) discussed a number of topics including agriculture. In the interview, Annan stressed the importance of increasing food production in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of reducing hunger worldwide by 50 percent and noted the critical role of science in meeting future demand for food and agriculture.

Below are select remarks from Annan’s interview:

“Over the years I was following developments on the continent and when we came up with MDGs [Millennium Development Goals], one of their roles was reducing hunger and poverty by 50 percent. The only way this continent can reduce hunger is by increasing its food production. I also saw the work of welfare program organizations expanding constantly, bringing food aid to Africa when we should be focusing on getting agriculture right.”

“With climate change, the problem was going to get bigger, and I couldn’t see how one can live on food aid. When you look at the continent and the question of development, agriculture can be such a multiplier. If we get agriculture right in Africa, where most of the people now are working in that sector, not only would it help boost development, but we will be secure in terms of food and nutrition and then be able to move on to other areas.”

 “You cannot resolve the potential food crisis or shortages without science being part of the solution.”


“… I came to the agriculture from the work I did in New York, particularly when we talked about fighting poverty and freedom. A hungry mind is not free, and I felt if we were really going to make a difference and fight poverty, we should at least start with the ability to feed ourselves and the millions of Africans who don’t have it.”

 Read the full Financial Times interview with Kofi Annan.

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