Some poor nations succeeding in fighting hunger

BLANTYRE. October 19. KAZINFORM Government fertilizer has made the difference between hunger and plenty for Rodrick Jesitala, a farmer and father of three in southern Malawi; Kazinform refers to China Daily.

Thanks to fertilizer he couldn't afford without government help, Jesitala harvested enough corn to feed his family this year. A report released Friday praised Malawi's program, saying governments simply making agriculture a top priority and offering financial and other incentives to small farmers have seen some poor countries quickly move from importing food to producing surpluses.

In its report, ActionAid International ranked Malawi among the top five successful developing nations, with Brazil taking the lead, for cutting child malnutrition by 73 percent in six years.

"Who's Really Fighting Hunger" said Brazil succeeded at cutting child malnutrition by investing extensively in small-holder farmers and implementing strong social welfare policies.

In Malawi, the past two growing seasons have ended with impressive surpluses of the staple crop, corn. President Bingu wa Mutharika persisted with his program to help farmers buy fertilizer despite opposition from Western donor nations and agencies that see subsidies as contrary to free market principles.

During the 2008-09 growing season, the government spent $183 million on the farm subsidy program, which resulted in Malawi realizing a surplus of 1.3 million metric tons of maize. Under the program, a farming family gets two 50-kilogram bags of fertilizer and packets of seed.

Before he started using fertilizer, Jesitala harvested fewer than 15 bags of corn from his one-acre plot. This year, he harvested 40 bags, enough to feed his family for the year; Kazinform cites China Daily.

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