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.
With just a quarter of an acre of land in Kesses near Kenya’s Eldoret town in the Rift Valley region, Samson Tanui is practising agroecology and his permaculture unit has become the centre of attraction for farmers from near and afar amid food shortages during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the inherent fragility of food systems, Marta Antonelli told an international video conference organised by the Barilla Center for Food Nutrition (BCFN).
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.
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised the spectre of food insecurity as countries and citizens fear a return to the conditions that roiled the international food markets during the 2008 economic crisis.
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.
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.
Samsul sounded very happy last Monday (Mar. 16) when recounting his experience of catching crabs worth more than $60 in a single day.
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.”
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.
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.
Local knowledge systems rooted in traditional practices and culture passed down generations provide sustainable solutions to food and nutritional insecurity on the back of climate change, a conference heard this week.
Milan is the city where Leonardo da Vinci painted his iconic Last Supper. Frozen in time is the moment Christ told his disciples there was a traitor among them. Visitors to the painting can examine the expressions on the faces of the disciples and look the food they might have eaten – the bread and wine, and of course the spilt salt. As one delegate to the 10th International Forum on Food and Nutrition noted, the diet did not seem varied or healthy.
Global food systems are ripe for transformation if people are to be nourished and the planet sustainable, says Hilal Elver, Special Rapporteur of the Right to Food of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
A coffee producer will receive a cent and a half from a $2.50 cup of coffee. This one stark fact stood out as scientists, researchers, activists and grappled with solutions for change in food and nutrition practises, which would benefit the greater community.
A start-up in Zimbabwe is producing high nutrition foods using biofortified crops in a bid to fight micronutrient deficiency.
Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) leads to night blindness, illness and death from childhood infections. In Zimbabwe, 36 percent of children under five years of age suffer from Vitamin A deficiency, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
More than 2 billion people in the world are suffering from malnutrition. This is the result of diets lacking essential micronutrients such as vitamins, iron and zinc, which are vital for the body to function, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
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.
Humankind since almost the time that there is recorded history has grappled with the question of ‘how many is too many?’ The response is expectedly complex as it varies across time and space. The pace of population growth was slow till about approximately 250 years or so. It is only since the middle of the eighteenth century that there has been a palpable acceleration in population growth.