“It is not easy to be in agriculture but you must have the perseverance and you must have the passion for it,” Ngozi Okeke (30), the director of operations at Frotchery Farms, tells IPS during a tour of the company’s factory in Ibadan, Nigeria. For Okeke, passion and patience are pivotal to business success. But she also recognises the need to create opportunities to nurture agripreneurship
among Africa’s growing ranks of unemployed youth.
Brazil is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of coffee, sugar, beef, soya, cotton, and ethanol but due to its environmental and water footprint it ranks low on sustainability. Brazilian agriculture’s contribution to the loss of rainforest is a case in point – the Amazon lost as much as 3,465 square miles of forest due to fires last year – triggering widespread international outrage over the lax environment policies that allowed all of this to happen. Its large commercial cattle herd is also a source of greenhouse gas emissions. Brazil’s challenge is to make its model of agricultural development more environment-friendly.
Paradoxically, when the number of people suffering from undernourishment or hunger has risen in the world, so, too, have those afflicted by overweight and obesity. Latin America’s second largest economy, Mexico, for instance, is currently battling one of the world’s largest epidemics of obesity and its success is bound to be emulated by countries of the South. The numbers involved are staggering. The director-general of the National Institute of Public Health, Dr Juan Rivera told the Financial Times that “seventy five percent of adults and 35 percent of children and adolescents are overweight or obese… The State has a duty to protect public health.”
The Mutwales farm a small plot of land in the camp, growing primarily cassava and maize for food. They are also one of the 105 refugee farming families participating in an initiative during the 2019/2020 growing season to help them cultivate nutritious, vitamin A-biofortified orange maize, which was developed by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT
) in partnership with HarvestPlus.
Hillol Datta, 26, travelled for two days from Kolkata to Jampui Hills – a picturesque hill station in the north eastern province of India – to see its fruit-laden orange orchards. However, after driving for several hours, all the young traveller saw were bald patches along the hill slopes and scattered rows of areca (nut) palm trees.
In Aboke, Uganda, a modest restaurant serves locals breakfast, lunch and dinner. Carol Agoa isn’t just the owner and cook, she also supplies all of the food for her restaurant.
Africa needs to invest in agriculture by putting more resources into innovative research and development that can boost food and nutritional security, according to leading scientist, Nteranya Sanginga.
Piles and piles of rotting vegetables at food markets situated right in Zimbabwe's central business district would elsewhere be viewed as a sign of plenty.
But this Southern African nation has not been spared the irony of food wastage at a time of food shortages.
Vandana Shiva, a pioneer of organic farming in India, is incensed by the 2019 draft law to compulsorily register all seeds used by farmers. On a wintry afternoon, at her farm Navdanya in the Himalayan foothills, the noted ecologist spoke on the future of the organic farming movement in India. Excerpts:
It is early Saturday morning and Planeta Hatuleke, a small scale farmer of Pemba District in Southern Zambia, awakens to the comforting sound of rainfall. As the locals say, the “heavens have opened” and it is raining heavily after a prolonged dry spell.
Africa will starve or survive on expensive food imports because it is not growing new farmers, research shows. And the challenge remains among researchers, policy makers, public and private sector actors to get African youth interested in agriculture on a continent where a growing number of people go to bed hungry every night.
It was almost a decade ago when Ruma Begum and her family left their home in Bangladesh’s coastal Tazumuddin upazila or sub-district and travelled some 50 km away to start a new life. They had been driven out of their home by an extreme and changing climate that has continued to ravage the district of Bhola.
Despite latest research showing Turkey lagging in overall food sustainability, progress in sustainable agriculture appears to be a bright spot in the country’s troubled agriculture industry.
When UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made a global appeal for “zero hunger” on World Food Day last month, he provided some grim statistics rich in irony: more than 820 million people do not have enough to eat, he said, while two billion people are overweight or obese.
Ibrahim Harouna and his neighbours sit under a tree at his uncle’s house, playing chess and chatting amid the simmering heat of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.
The sun has barely risen when Phlida Kharshala shakes her 8-year-old grandson awake. He hoists an empty cone-shaped bamboo basket on his back, sets the woven strap flat across his forehead and off they go into the wilderness.
There is evident correlation between countries with high levels of children under five years of age who are stunted or wasted and the existence of political instability and/or frequent exposure to natural calamities, experts say.
But current food systems in Africa are not addressing nutrition because of the combination of poor investment in the agriculture value chain, inadequate policies and lack of accountability in addressing malnutrition.
Adwoa Frimpomaah, a smallholder farmer from Dandwa, a farming community in Nkoranza, in Ghana's Bono East Region, and her two children have been consuming insect-infested and discoloured grains produced from their three-acre farm.
China’s almost meteoric transition from a being a low income to a middle income country within a span of four decades is often perceived as a miracle analogous to the post Second World War Japanese economic development experience.
With up to one billion undernourished people around the world, and agriculture and land use systems increasingly vulnerable to climate change and land degradation, more companies within the global food industry need to start aligning their operations with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs.