Country Successes in Reducing Hunger: How They Did It and Why Other Donors and Governments Should Change Policy

Paper for ActionAid (November 2011)

From 1970 to 1995 the world made progress in reducing the number of hungry people but the figure always remained above 750 million. Since then, the number has progressively risen, increasing to over a billion in 2009, and remaining above 900 million in 2010. But in this rather dismal global context, several countries have bucked the trend and successfully managed to drastically reduce the number of hungry people. This short analysis investigates how they did it and offers lessons for donors and Southern governments. Indeed, this experience challenges many current agricultural policies. As well as reviewing the literature on how countries have reduced hunger, the paper looks closely at four countries – Vietnam, China, Ghana and Bangladesh – which all show varying degrees of success in combating hunger.

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