Food security

One of the most critical problems of our time is hunger

In 2050 we will need to produce 70% more food to sustain ourselves

By 2050, the world will need to produce around 70% more food than it does now to maintain food security. “This is the very real, and a very urgent reality that every single person on the planet needs to be aware of and, in some sense help towards achieving”, says Dr Shadrack Moephuli, president and chief executive officer of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), South Africa.

The alternatives are not good: sweeping famine, poverty, and political instability that always accompanies these tragedies.  37% of global employment comes from the agricultural sector.

Globally, hunger is the single biggest obstacle we face. If trends continue as they are, by 2040 Africa’s labour force will rival that o f China. Yet, at the present time we are only producing 10% of the world’s farm-produced crops and goods.

This has to change (Africa has 60% of the Earth’s uncultivated arable land) and to do that we have to increase productivity which means that in Africa and South Africa better access to markets are needed and government policy has to change as well. This is why it is so important to attend this auspicious conference.

“Climate change directly threatens agricultural productivity – floods, storms and drought can easily cause an unmitigated disaster,” says Moephuli. Global warming is also causing changes in the precipitation pattern globally, water usage needs to be reduced and soil erosion prevented. “We need to use science and technology to find solutions that will enable sustainable increases in agricultural production and productivity,” explains Moephuli.

About 97% of the world’s agricultural workers live in developing countries, and most of these are women. As a result, agriculture can be a powerful mechanism for poverty alleviation and the emancipation of women.

 A conference organised by the governments of the Republic of South Africa, the Netherlands, and in collaboration with other partners, including FAO and the World Bank, the 3rd Global Conference in South Africa will provide the platform for global leaders; practitioners; scientists; farmers; organised agriculture; civil society; the private sector; and NGOs to discuss and share experiences on successes, and to deliberate the challenges and threats to food and nutrition security under the impact of climate change.

 Take a look at these disturbing statistics:

* 842 million people - or one in eight people in the world - do not have enough to eat.

* 98% of the world's undernourished people live in developing countries.

Where is hunger the worst?

* Asia: 552 million

* Sub-Saharan Africa: 223 million

* Latin America and the Caribbean: 47 million


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Issue 46


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