The 2020 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World
, issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization and its United Nations partners in mid-July, reports that chronic hunger continued to increase to 690 million worldwide in 2019, 60 million more than in 2014.
While men are more likely to die from COVID-19, women are facing the full blow of the socio-economic fallout from the ongoing pandemic as well as seeing a reversal in equality gains made over the last two decades, says an all-women panel of international thought leaders, who met virtually during a discussion convened by IPS.
Digital technologies in agriculture are helping address the twin problems of food security and supply chain disruptions triggered by COVID-19 in India, while augmenting the income of smallholder farmers.
Leveraging technology to match supply and demand of resources and food is key to overcoming the issues of starvation and food supply interruptions, Anshul Sushil, CEO and co-founder at Wizikey, a software that allows businesses to reach media directly, eliminating the middlemen, tells IPS.
The Covid-19 crisis has had several unexpected effects, including renewed attention to food security concerns. Earlier understandings of food security in terms of production self-sufficiency have given way to importing supplies since late 20th century promotion of trade liberalization.
As she says goodbye to a group of her friends, Esther Ishabakaki asks whether any of them knows a good tailor who might be interested in joining her newly-opened clothing business. It’s a venture she started three months ago after quitting her farming venture.
COVID19 has brought the world to a halt. The devastating impact of the global pandemic on people’s lives and the world’s economy is a jarring and historic turning point for all of us but it is also an opportunity to re-think many of our practices.
Few things are as natural and as necessary as eating food. However, if food producers, food processors, food handlers and consumers do not follow good food safety practices, food can become contaminated and rather than nourishing us and bringing us pleasure it can make us sick or even kill us.
Shurugwi communal farmer, Elizabeth Siyapi (57) can no longer be scammed by unscrupulous middlemen to sell her crops cheaply. Nowadays, before she takes her produce to market she scours her mobile phone, which has become an essential digital agriculture data bank, for the best prices on the market.
Hunger and food insecurity continue to rise. The official 2019 statistics refer to 821 million people suffering from hunger all over the world. According the recently launched Global Report on Food Crises
, there are further 135 million people facing crisis levels of hunger or worse. WFP
estimates that due to the impacts of COVID19, additional 130 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020. This means a total increase of 265 million people. If there will be no appropriate and urgent actions, “we could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months
”, said David Beasley, WFP Executive Director, addressing the UN Security Council on 21st April.
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe' second city of some 700,000 people, has experienced a shortage of vegetables this year, with major producers citing a range of challenges from poor rains to the inability to access to bank loans to finance their operations. But this shortage has created a market gap that Zimbabwe smallholders — some 1.5 million people according to government figures — have an opportunity to fill.
In Rwanda, Benimana Uwera Gilberthe, a scholar and pepper producer, experienced first-hand the challenges of breaking into agribusiness.
While in Nigeria, Ayoola Adewale is trying to understand if poultry egg farming will prove a profitable and viable business opportunity to the youth of the continent’s most populous nation. Also in Nigeria, Esther Alleluyanatha is understanding the link between young people leaving their villages for larger cities, the remittances they send home, and the implications on rural livelihoods and agriculture productivity.
Nobukhosi Cebekhulu (68) and Khetsiwe Tofile (64) are small-scale vegetable farmers who are producing from their permaculture home gardens in Malkerns, Eswatini.
Heartbreaking images of Indian farmers standing amidst swathes of rotting vegetables, fruits and grain have been flooding newspapers and TV screens lately. Crashing prices and transport bottlenecks due to the 40-day coronavirus lockdown in India, on till May 3, have driven some to set their unsold produce ablaze.
On March 12, the first email came in. An email from a boutique hotel that said they needed to postpone their apron order. The hotel had decided to put a hold on all non-essential spending until everything was, according to them, back to normal.
The mining sector in Africa is facing radical change as youth activists take action against the environmental degradation caused by mining industries. Tensions between activists and the mining industry have raised, however, concerns over human rights abuses.
“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.
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.