The Russian invasion of Ukraine last February has triggered multiple crises in several fronts: the deaths of thousands of civilians, the destruction of heavily populated cities, the rise in military spending in Europe, a projected decline in development assistance to the world’s poorer nations; the demolition of schools and health-care facilities — and now the threat of hunger and starvation.
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 a short period, the war in Ukraine has already had a major effect on the world economy. The United States and the European Union have levied sanctions on an unprecedented scale against Russia, energy prices have skyrocketed, and with the Black Sea closed, the world’s most fertile region is no longer linked to its markets. This will cause an appreciation of food prices that could wreak havoc in the European periphery.
The situation in Ukraine is first and foremost a humanitarian crisis, and the food security and wellbeing of the people of Ukraine should be our immediate concern. However, because of the dominant roles of Russia and Ukraine in global food, fuel and fertiliser markets, there are also massive knock-on effects for people around the world. This is particularly true for the supply and cost of food. Here are three ways that the invasion of Ukraine leads to potential risks to food security in other countries.
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.
The recently published “No 1 central policy document” (“No 1 document”), China’s national blueprint for rural policy, further demonstrates Beijing’s commitment to safeguarding food security
and advancing rural revitalisation
. The document’s release comes against an increasingly complicated geopolitical environment which, along with factors, such as disruptions to the global food chain supplies and worsening climate change impacts, have forced Beijing to rethink how its national goals can be achieved.
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.
The war in Ukraine is a catastrophe for that country and for the world. In any crisis it is the most vulnerable that will be most affected, and this time it is no different.
When countries improve their Global ranking, there is rejoicing within the community that progress has been made at last.. but has it and why does it matter ?
Egypt is scrambling to find alternate sources of wheat after the Russian invasion of Ukraine has put supply to the country in jeopardy. This is especially urgent because the price of bread in Egypt has in the past sparked protests in the country.
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.
The ocean covers more than 70 percent of our planet. There is no question it is critical for our health and well-being. It provides half the earth’s oxygen supply and every organism in existence depends on it to survive.
With consistent, robust economic growth, countries across Asia have made monumental strides in eradicating extreme poverty over the past 30 years. In Bangladesh, for example, the population living in extreme poverty
dropped from 43% in 1991 to 10.5%
in 2019. Similarly in Cambodia, poverty incidence fell from 53% in 2004
to below 10% by 2016
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.
On January 10, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) arrested three men found with fertilizer worth about 130,000 US dollars.
The new Yangtze River Protection Law (YRPL), which came into effect on March 1, 2021, is China’s first legislation on a specific river basin
. The Yangtze River is China’s longest and largest river system, stretching over 6,300 kilometres
and has over 700 tributaries
. With a drainage basin covering more than 1.8 million square kilometres, approximately one-fifth of China’s total land area, the river basin is home to over 40% of the country’s population