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Three Photo Exhibitions Starting in November

Three photo exhibitions on diverse themes of my work are starting this month in Wales, Quebec and Tuscany. Details below:

Behind the Curtains of XXI Century Communism

Behind the Curtains of 21st Century Communism

Solo Exhibition

19 November, 2011 to 8 January, 2012
Opening night: 18 November, 7:00PM

Third Floor Gallery
Cardiff, Wales

• • •

VII Looks East

VII Looks East

Featuring Nepal Revolution by Tomas van Houtryve

Group Exhibition with VII Photographers

19 November 2011 to 29 January 2012

Lucca Photo Fest
Lucca, Italy

• • •

Aid and Abet

Aid and Abet

Featuring Niger Food Crisis by Tomas van Houtryve

Group Exhibition with VII Photographers

2 November to 27 November, 2011
Opening Night: Thursday 3 November, 7:00PM

Zoom Photo Festival
Saguenay, Quebec

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Fighting Famine With Peanuts in Niger

My latest photo essay about addressing the chronic food crisis in Niger with a product called “Plumpy’Nut” is now available as a feature on the VII Photo website.


© Tomas van Houtryve

A malnourished child is weighed on a scale inside the regional hospital in Maradi.


Each year between May and September, Niger is hit with a severe food crisis. The causes are multiple: changes in weather, government incompetence, blights, pests, local debts, population growth and lack of education. Paradoxically, even when harvests are sufficient, hospitals can be faced with legions of malnourished children. With a myriad of complex causes, aid organizations do their best to reduce the number of children dying from hunger. The latest strategy involves “Plumpy’Nut,” a ready-to-use therapeutic food made from fortified peanut butter. Because of its ease of storage and its ability to make children gain weight rapidly, it has been hailed as a miracle product for fighting childhood malnutrition. However, the simple peanut paste is not without its controversies and detractors. With millions affected by global hunger, malnutrition products are a lucrative business, and Nutricet, the French company behind Plumpy’Nut, has defended its patented recipe aggressively. Inspired by the enthusiasm of Plumpy’ Nut, aid organizations are also distributing Plumpy’Doz to 400,000 children in Niger with the aim of prevention. As millions of aid dollars are being spent on purchasing and transporting Nutricet’s products to Africa, the question arises whether a more locally based and sustainable solution should be sought for this chronic hunger problem.


© Tomas van Houtryve

Since the first harvest was particularly bad this year, many families are using the September harvest to pay back debts from the intervening months when food was scarce. That means that despite plenty of food in the fields, many families still go hungry.


For further reading on the role Plumpy’Nut is playing in the strategy to reduce childhood malnutrition, check out this article by my colleague, journalist Anne Guion, in La Vie Magazine (French language) or this piece by Andrew Rice in the New York Times Magazine.


© Tomas van Houtryve for La Vie

Publication in La Vie Magazine


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