New study is 'reality check' for forthcoming World Summit +5 The number of malnourished children in Niger and other African countries will grow if neglect of agricultural research and development continues, a policy institute report warns. Innovative agricultural practices are needed. The number of hungry children in Africa will grow by 3.3. million, from 38.6 million to 41.9 million by 2025, according to a new report from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). IFPRI and the International Livestock Research Institute belong to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), which works around the world to reduce hunger, poverty and environmental degradation. The new IFPRI report cites low investment in agriculture as one of the reasons for its predicted rising numbers of malnourished children. The report argues that investment in agriculture can strengthen food security and reduce child malnutrition significantly by generating innovative agricultural practices in these countries, where more than three-quarters of the population make their living from the land. ILRI concurs with IFPRI on the need for greater investment in research to improve agriculture and agricultural policies in Africa and stresses that a focus on livestock is particularly urgent. The economies of the four dryland countries the report cites as in most danger – Burkina Faso, Niger, Somalia and Sudan – are based on livestock. Research-based innovations, such as new varieties of cowpea that feed people, livestock and soils, are refining the integration of mixed crop-and-livestock production in these countries to produce more food on less land with fewer resources. The IFPRI report, coming in the wake of a severe food crisis in Niger and its neighbouring West African states, provides a reality check for the 2005 Millennium+5 Summit to be held in New York City on 14 September 2005. The report estimates that Africa needs at least $303 billion in new investment to halve hunger on the continent by 2015, one of eight Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations.