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Farm Radio Weekly is a news and information service for rural radio broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa. It is published by Farm Radio International.

Farm Radio Weekly

Global: World population reaches seven billion (Various sources)

On October 31, the United Nations Population Fund announced that the global population had reached seven billion. The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon said, “Today, we welcome baby 7 billion. In doing so we must recognize our moral and pragmatic obligation to do the right thing for him, or for her.”

The announcement sparked debates about population growth, and the Earth’s ability to provide food, water and all the resources needed to sustain more than seven billion.

Kanayo Nwanze is the president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development. He remarked, “We must support smallholder farmers so that they can feed themselves and contribute to the world’s food supply.” Smallholder farmers already produce up to 80% of the food consumed in developing countries.

Many people link growing populations to increased hunger. As Mr. Nwanze comments, “Having more mouths to feed is certainly a challenge at a time when already one billion … are chronically hungry.”

But the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization notes that the world produces more than the recommended 2700 calories per person per day. For many commentators, the challenge of reducing hunger lies not in increasing food production, but in better distribution.

This would make a good topic for a discussion program. Try to focus your discussion on one aspect of the issue, for example, population growth, availability of family planning, nutrition, or equitable food distribution. Let us know if you have an interesting on-air discussion. We’d love to feature your broadcasting stories in FRW. Here are some resources to inspire you:

Read the story as reported by the United Nations Population Fund: http://www.unfpa.org/public/cache/offonce/home/news/pid/8769;jsessionid=5A3E50482D469ED444FA67E065284FDC.jahia01

For other news reports, see:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/31/uk-population-baby-india-idUSLNE79U04N20111031

http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/a-crowded-worlds-population-hits-7-billion/ etc.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/8830738/Worlds-population-to-reach-7-billion-this-month.html

Other commentators include:

Action Against Hunger: http://www.actionagainsthunger.org/blog/hunger-and-population-growth-correcting-common-misunderstanding

Nourishing the Planet: http://blogs.worldwatch.org/nourishingtheplanet/as-global-population-surpasses-7-billion-two-clear-strategies-for-a-sustainable-future/

Jeffery Sachs on CNN: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/17/opinion/sachs-global-population/index.html?iref=allsearch

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