BREAKTHROUGHS ON HUNGER: A Journalist's Encounter With Global Change by Richard M. Harley (Smithsonian Institution Press: $12.95, illustrated).

A former reporter for the Christian Science Monitor, Harley describes several unconventional but successful programs for combating hunger in the Third World. A study of peasant agriculture in Puebla, Mexico, demonstrated that traditional mixed planting could dramatically increase harvests for small landholders; the efforts to reforest the Himalayan foothills and involve women in dairy production in India represented a break with rural beliefs about societal roles. In recent decades, less foreign aid has been applied to large-scale projects--factories, airports, highways--and more to finding ways for rural populations to live and eat better. These model programs indicate how the finite resources available in the Third World can be used more efficiently.

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