The impact of Covid-19 on supply chains and food security has dealt a blow to the already faltering global development ambition of ending hunger.
Despite the World Food Programme (WFP) being awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for its work in addressing global hunger, sustainable food systems expert Emile Frison believes a lot more needs to be done. This includes the rethinking of approaches to agricultural production, establishing deeper relationships between consumers and producers, and taking a wholistic approach towards socio-economic factors.
Sarudzai Moyo, a former teacher, has begun a new career as a fishmonger. Once a week she makes the 450km journey from Bulawayo to Binga, on the shores of Lake Kariba, where she buys between 100 and 150 kilograms of fish for resale as the demand for cheaper dietary options increase in Zimbabwe.
In Amuru district, 47 kilometres from Gulu town in northwestern Uganda, the Omer Farming Company has proven that it is possible to farm on thousands of acres of land using methods that conserve the environment and its biodiversity.
As COVID-19 threatens farming communities across Africa already struggling with climate change, the continent is at a crossroads. Will its people and their governments continue trying to replicate industrial farming models promoted by developed countries? Or will they move boldly into the uncertain future, embracing ecological agriculture?
Like many Mozambicans in the agricultural sector, 39-year-old Fatima Matavele, a commercial farmer in the district of Chokwe, some 213 kilometres north of the capital, Maputo, has had a tough year. Although the last few years have been hard, 2020 has proven to be the most difficult of all.
In Torit State, southern South Sudan, Margaret Itto is one of the farmers in Africa’s youngest country who have invested heavily in agriculture. But she is not able to access the lucrative market for her produce in the capital Juba simply because of poor roads.
Building inclusive and healthier food systems, and safeguarding the health of the planet will be some of the key priorities at the first-ever Food Systems Summit next year.
Food systems involve all the stages that lead up to the point when we consume food, including the way it is produced, transported, and sold. Launching a policy brief on food security
in June, UN chief António Guterres warned of an “impending food emergency”, unless immediate action is taken.
Five years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda we are far from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to the recently launched SOFI Report
(The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020), we are not on track to eradicate poverty, hunger and malnutrition. On the contrary, with the current trends, the global number of undernourished people in 2030 would exceed 840 million. Moreover, WHO has reported alarming rates of overweight and obesity, globally affecting 39% and 13% of the adult population, respectively.
Oluwaseun Sangoleye’s son developed rickets after rejecting baby formula. So she started a business to make natural baby cereal from locally-sourced ingredients in Nigeria.
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.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the structural weaknesses of today’s food systems, showing how quickly global networks of food production, trade and supply can waver
under the impact of a single disease.
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.
Warnings at the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic that Africa could be hit by a wave of up to 10 million cases within six months thankfully now seem unfounded, although it is still far too early to be over-confident.
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.