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Tackling hunger

I left you as I was preparing for my maiden appearance at the House of Commons, at the All Party Committee on Agriculture and Food.

Trying not to feel overawed, I reminded myself this was not my first encounter with great British institutions.

First time

In July 2004, I had recently returned from Darfur where Concern has started working some months earlier. There was considerable media interest in what was happening in Darfur as it has just opened up to aid agencies.

The Beeb and beyond

On 18 July, I was on a long promised trip to Lord’s to see England play Australia in the second Test. I was deeply immersed in a riveting game of cricket when, just before lunch, my phone rang. It was the BBC asking would I do an interview about Darfur and could I come to Bush House to do it?

So on that occasion, nearly five years ago, I had been in two great British institutions – Lord’s and BBC’s Bush House – on the same day. Surely, the House of Commons could hold no terror!

Warm welcome

Indeed, the Chair of the Committee, Alan Simpson, MP, warmly welcomed his panel of witnesses, Dr Jacques Diouf, Director General of the FAO, Dr Joachim von Braun, Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and myself.

The Committee is preparing a report, on what the UK can do to tackle the global challenge of food security between now and 2050.

Greater investment

In my presentation, I emphasised the need for governments and donors to give greater emphasis to investment in agricultural and rural development for the following reasons:

  • To create a positive policy framework to support growth in rural areas
  • To give higher priority to nutrition of pregnant women and children under two years
  • To increase support for smallholder agriculture

I will return to these themes in this space in the coming months. But maybe my readers in the global blogosphere will forgive me if I conclude today with a touch of mystery and whimsy.

Which room?

Despite the high quality discussion at the Committee and the promise of a really important report later this year, I had a small regret about my visit to the House of Commons. We met in the wrong room!

Why the wrong room? You’ll have to wait for my next blog post to find out.