Edward Mukiibi was forced to do agriculture at school as punishment for misbehaviour.
Instead of hating the punishment, he loved it, especially when he realised farming was the future of good food, health and wealth.
The swish of calm waters followed by unexpectedly high tides and violent waves is now too familiar for the fisher community along Kenya’s 1,420-kilometer Indian Ocean coastline.
A growing mountain of data and analysis points to an unprecedented global crisis in the making, due to the convergence of “Four Cs” (Conflict, Covid, Climate and Costs).
From the worst drought
in four decades threatening famine across the Horn of Africa to extreme heat in South Asia, the war in Ukraine and the unequal pace of pandemic recovery, global food systems are under extraordinary pressure.
It wasn’t that long ago that Internet connectivity faded the moment one left a populated area like a city or big town – “no service” was the take-away message back then. But thanks to 3G, 4G and now 5G mobile technology, coupled with widespread installation of cellular towers in rural areas region-wide, that little message shows up much less frequently.
When I first met Dr. Roland Bunch, I have to be honest—he scared me. As one of the most well-respected leaders on agronomy and resilient land management, he offers extremely prescient predictions on how famines take root when soils fail—and also has an admirably clear-eyed view of what we need to do better.
You probably use wild species far more often than you realise. For many people, especially in more developed economies, the use of wild species sounds like something quite removed from their everyday lives – something perhaps more relevant to other people, in other countries.
Johnny, living in the United States (US), goes to his school and gets free breakfast and lunch there. There may not be enough food for dinner at home. But he knows that he can get fed at school. Sadly, however, after the pandemic, schools were closed, which meant no breakfast and no lunch for him.
This is what happens when you starve. With no food, the body’s metabolism slows down to preserve energy for vital organs. Hungry and weak, people often become fatigued, irritable and confused.
The immune system loses strength. As they starve, people—especially children—are likelier to fall sick or die from diseases they may have otherwise resisted. Cholera, respiratory infections, malaria, dengue, and diphtheria kill more people in famines than starvation itself.
India is being asked by the US government
and the IMF
to reconsider its decision to suspend wheat exports. Their cited concern is that export restrictions will exacerbate food shortages amidst Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But the argument does not stand ground technically or morally.
The COVID pandemic has had a profoundly negative impact on Africa’s sovereign debt situation. Currently, 22 countries are either in debt distress or at high risk of debt distress.
Growing up in Samoya Village of Bungoma County in the Western part of Kenya, Elvis Wanjala has fond childhood memories of the rainy season, chasing and catching black-bellied winged termites in the rain.
Amidst a backdrop of rising food insecurity worldwide and a global food supply chain crisis, many countries are attempting to increase the level of food self-production. One improved input for farming which is receiving renewed attention is improved seed. The two most populous countries in the world, China and India, have recently made ground-breaking moves to improve their competitive position by developing new seeds which will improve their food production and increase resilience to climate change. So far, in 2022, new regulations on using biotechnology (genetic modification and gene editing
) have been put in place by both countries to ultimately allow smallholder farmers to benefit from these new seeds.
Food systems are under severe stress around the world now. The thresholds of tolerance are already exceeding limits with millions facing acute food and water scarcity throughout all continents. Over a quarter of Africa’s population are facing hunger and food insecurity. Conflict, droughts, flooding, rising unemployment, inequality, economic crises, and the impacts of Covid-19 pandemic have been ravaging the Continent on an unprecedented scale.
India began its journey as an independent nation in 1947 with fresh memory of the Bengal Famine of 1943 which claimed 1.5 to 3 million lives. Against this backdrop, the First Five Year Plan (1951-56) prioritized agriculture which, however, shifted to heavily industrialization in the second Plan.
In an exclusive interview with IPS, Ambassador Cindy Hensley McCain, Permanent Representative of the US Mission to the food and agriculture organizations of the United Nations in Rome, Italy, shares her thoughts on food security, sustainable food systems, the impact of climate change on food production, conflicts and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, and her plans while working with the Food Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and World Food Programme (WFP) with Farhana Haque Rahman and Sania Farooqui.
For the past three years, BRAC International
has been piloting in Liberia an adaptation of its acclaimed Graduation approach
, whose impact on reducing extreme poverty was first proven in Bangladesh
. The success of the Liberia pilot, which I managed, provides not only further proof of impact but vital lessons that can enhance and accelerate scaling of the approach globally.
Food security has long been a high priority
for the Chinese central government and has been linked to China’s national security in recent years. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs recently released a national five-year plan
under which China will seek to maintain a target to produce 95 percent of the protein domestically until 2025: China aims to become self-sufficient in poultry and eggs, 85 percent self-sufficient for beef and mutton, 70 percent for dairy, and 95 percent self-sufficient in pork. These targets intersect with many of the Chinese central government’s current aims to meet the growing demand for protein and dairy, safeguard food security
, and other major policies.
In the past, the people of Sande Village in Chikwawa district, Malawi, would go to bed with empty stomachs even when the rest of the country harvested bumper yields.
Safeguarding food security has long been a critical priority for the Chinese central government. President Xi’s latest comments and meetings demonstrate continued concerns at the top about China’s food security
. Ahead of the 20th National Congress this year and the release of the No 1 policy document, there are already several hints regarding what the Chinese central authorities could prioritise in terms of food security for this year and beyond. Other factors, including the potential influences of gene-edited plants, commercialisation of genetically modified (GM) crops, and of a Russia-Ukraine conflict should also be considered.