Overall Context

Overall Situation

Extreme Poverty

Extreme poverty is a daily reality for more than one billion people and the situation may deteriorate. Hunger and malnutrition affect approximately 815 million people worldwide, and over a quarter of all children under five living in developing countries are malnourished.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the proportion of people without enough to eat has declined slightly, but the number of people suffering from hunger has increased and the average income of the poorest has decreased.

The Human Development Report (UNDP) and the Report on World Development (World Bank) both confirm that in many developing countries among the poorest, the MDGs (Millennium Goals Development) will not be achieved without a significant increase in efforts.

Poverty in developing countries is a phenomenon that particularly affects the rural world. In this context, it is necessary to distinguish between a modest lifestyle and poverty. Thus, often in rural areas, people may be less miserable than in situations where they had to leave the countryside to go to the city where they are living in poor neighborhoods, dealing with uncertainty, risk of violence, etc. Those who remained in the countryside depend in one way or another on agriculture and the vast majority work directly in this sector.

In many areas, indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities constitute a disproportionate share of the poor, and women are present among the most vulnerable and marginalized. First, the rural poor have no resources -- they have only very rarely land, water, capital -- and they do not have access to services, improved technology and markets. In addition, they have not acquired the knowledge and skills to improve the productivity of their agricultural activities, food security and income.

Agriculture and Livestock: first sector for rural zones

According to estimates by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the grain harvest fell for the second consecutive year in 2006. According to FAO, it barely exceed 2 billion tons, against 2.38 billion in 2005 and 2.68 billion in 2004, while the appetite of the planet continues to grow, as its population increases.

Estimates of the U.S. government are even more pessimistic: 1 984 billion tonnes, 58 million tonnes less than the predicted for this year. Food stocks have moved from a level sufficient to feed the world for one hundred sixteen days in 1999 to fifty-seven days at the end of this season, well below the official safety level [70 days]. Prices have already risen by at least 20% this year. As if the work of ants launched by the UN in 2000 under the name of the Millennium, which was to seek to halve world poverty by 2015 was reduced to nil.

With hyperinflation experienced food prices (the price of rice, a staple food in many poor countries, increased 75% in two months, that of wheat soared 120% over the year) for some months, are already 100 million people, according to the World Bank, which are in the process of sinking into extreme poverty. "We need to put food in the hungry mouths. It is also steeper than this," said Robert Zoellick, head of the World Bank. More time for exegesis, therefore, time is for action.

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