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Actions to Fight Hunger Fall Short of Promises

From VOA Learning English, this is the Agriculture Report in Special English. To "walk the talk" means to keep your promises, to do what you said you would do. "Walk the Talk" is also the name of a new report by the International Food Policy Research Institute.

The group says there has been a lot of talk about fighting hunger, but not enough action. As a result, it says the international community could fall far short of the goal of cutting the number of hungry people in half by 2015. The report says an estimated 870 million people were hungry last year.

Two billion did not get enough micronutrients -- vitamins and minerals. Shenggen Fan is the institute's director general. He described 2012 as a mixed year for progress against hunger. He says African countries, India, China and Brazil continue to invest in agriculture.

Donor agencies, he says, including the World Bank and USAID, have also increased their investment in food security and nutrition. But he says a lack of political will limited progress on food security. After the food crisis in 2008 and 2009, many promises were made to increase investment in smallholder agriculture. These small farms are often headed by women.

Shenggen Fan says not all those promises have been kept. Supporters of greater agricultural investment in poor countries have often criticized farm support programs in rich nations. They say subsidies hurt food production and sales in developing countries. Now, many countries, including India and China, are also turning to subsidies. Shenggen Fan says that needs to change. He says it's time the international community walked the talk on food security.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Carolyn Presutti. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 19Mar2013)

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