Homestead Food ProductionEn Français
- Global food prices have doubled during the past three years, and the World Bank estimates that this increase could add another 100 million people to the nearly one billion people worldwide who are suffering from malnutrition caused by a lack of basic nutrients in the food they eat.
- This food crisis is worsening the problem of malnutrition, which stunts both physical and mental health, causes blindness, and is implicated in almost half of all child deaths worldwide.
- Conditions in various developing nations are particularly severe, and the food price crisis is making matters worse, striking rural and urban areas alike:
- In Africa, home to the largest number of “ultra poor,” almost all countries are net cereal importers, and will be acutely hurt by the current rise in food prices. The countries of West Africa, the Horn of Africa, and fragile states recovering from conflict such as Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe, are especially vulnerable.
- In the Asia-Pacific region, which includes the greatest number of undernourished people in the developing world, Bangladesh and Myanmar, recovering from major climactic shocks, are hard hit, as is Nepal. All are net food importers (meaning that they must import food to meet their basic needs).
What HKI Is Doing
Helen Keller International’s Homestead Food Production program is one of a number of strategies deployed by HKI and our partners around the world to alleviate malnutrition and address the global food price crisis. The program has put crops in the ground, nutrients in the diet, and meals on the table in many communities most severely affected by prolonged malnutrition.
- Through its Homestead Food Production program, HKI helps improve communities’ local food production systems by creating year-round gardens with micronutrient-rich fruits and vegetables and small farms for raising poultry and livestock.
- Helen Keller International provides technical and managerial support as well as start-up supplies, such as seeds, seedlings, saplings and chicks to local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which integrate Homestead Food Production into their ongoing activities.
- The fruits and vegetables from the gardens ensure the availability of vitamins and minerals essential for proper immune system function and full physical, intellectual and cognitive development.
- The eggs, poultry and other animal foods raised by the gardeners support the body's ability to utilize the micronutrients.
- The gardens also provide families with income from the sale of surplus goods and increase the technical knowledge and capacity of local NGOs.
- Homestead Food Production also empowers women, who organize 90% of the gardens; they begin contributing to the economic stability of their families and make sure their children consume the nutritious food they grow.
- Studies have shown that children in households with developed gardens consume 1.6 times more vegetables and have a lower risk of night blindness than children in homes without homestead gardens.
- According to Diane Lindsey, Country Director of HKI Bangladesh, "investments in homestead gardens provide huge returns to empower the most valuable resource in Bangladesh: women working tirelessly for their families."
- A recent study on HKI's Homestead Food Production programs in Bangladesh, Nepal, Cambodia and the Philippines documented annual fruit and vegetable production at more than 216,000 metric tons, which translates to US$46.3 million in economic value per year. The program has created 190,000 jobs, primarily for women living in poorer households in rural areas.
- In 2009, our Homestead Food Production program in Bangladesh was selected as a case study for “Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development.” The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) initiated this research project with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.