Posts

Cloud Seeding
The World Wildlife Fund predicts that in 7 years, two-thirds of the world’s population will face a water shortage. This hypothesis is due to a number of reasons such as higher birth rates and longer lives as a result of improved healthcare, pollution as a result of oil, chemicals, trash disposal and fecal waste, poor management of resources and conflict.

Human Trajectory

Such an outcome is further exasperated by changes in climate, particularly in the form of an increase in the number of droughts and the melting of glacial mountains. If this continues, humanity will face a number of issues. For starters, health will decline and disease susceptibility will increase as more individuals lose access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation.

If these changes occur, then the financial security as individuals will also be affected as people become unable to function properly for work and school. Overall, the efforts of poverty reduction will be for naught if climate change continues to deplete water resources. In order to help combat these effects of climate change, scientists have been working towards enhancing a process called cloud seeding.

Cloud Seeding

Cloud seeding is the process of adding chemicals — like dry ice, silver iodide, etc. — to clouds to increase rainfall. Typically, these chemicals are shot or released into the sky by machines or small jets. Since its discovery in the 1940s, this system has been used to generate snow, and to try to stop hurricanes, or extend monsoon seasons. However, it wasn’t until 2017 that the hypothesis for the methodology was confirmed to be true and, thanks to this significant finding, scientists determined a range of potential effects/uses of cloud seeding.

Of these proposals, the potential effect cloud seeding can have on agriculture and the food security problem is one of the most notable. Cloud seeding is believed to support healthy growing seasons as it has the potential to combat droughts by boosting the amount of precipitation in a given area by 5 to 15 percent.

If cloud seeding is implemented, there will be increased harvesting and more food available from a wide variety of crops for the ever-growing human population. The process also has the potential to improve biomes, allow for more fertility and create more farming land and land that could be used to build better homes. Such effects can then indirectly create jobs and contribute to financial security for people living in poverty-stricken countries.

Realistic Expectations

Due to the potential benefits, many developing countries are starting to fund their own cloud seeding program, but without considering the potential drawbacks. Some of the downsides of this technology include the safety of continued exposure to silver iodide and other chemicals, which some studies have reported can cause skin discoloration and be carcinogenic.

Another setback is the economic and technological availability. There are countries like Dubai and China where they have the economic sufficiency but lack the technology and basic geographical set up to manage the precipitation. The amount and length of precipitation is also difficult to control, as can be seen in 2009 Beijing and the 2017 flooding  in Dubai.

The bottom-line is: cloud seeding is uncharted waters. There are variables that need to be taken into consideration before introducing nationwide cloud seeding programs in developing countries, especially in the case of long-term use. However, once addressed, cloud seeding has the potential to bring the seemingly achievable dream of eradicating global poverty a step closer to reality.

– Stephanie Singh
Photo: Flickr

Food Delivery in Developing Countries
In distressed communities, the poor often find themselves in situations where there is very little food, caused by issues such as war zones, natural disasters or a lack of healthy, sanitary markets. There are many different organizations that continue to aid in food delivery in developing countries in some of the most oppressed areas. Although these only offer temporary solutions and the main goal is to help the vulnerable learn how to grow their own sustainable, healthy foods, these organizations are there to help in the most urgent times of need.

Action Against Hunger a Pioneer of Food Delivery in Developing Countries

Action Against Hunger is possibly one of the most well-known and longest running food delivery programs working abroad. Founded in 1979, Action Against Hunger has been distributing food to countries such as Liberia, Guatemala, Bangladesh and Lebanon. Its efforts began with a French group responding to crises in Afghanistan.  

Action Against Hunger has many different programs to ensure the safe delivery of food. Its most notable programs include the Nutrition and Health Program, which treats malnourished children and boosts child survival. Through research and special screenings, Action Against Hunger can easily pinpoint the most extreme cases and the children who are most at risk of being harmed by starvation.

The Food Security and Livelihoods Program addresses the lack of nutritious foods that plague areas of poverty. The program enables vulnerable societies by improving their access to food, income and the economy. The Food Security and Livelihood Program educates small-scale farmers on how to increase food production and how to store and market their crops. Action Against Hunger considers each area’s specific needs and includes activities that help boost the local market.

In addition to responding to emergencies, this program also helps establish long-term solutions to continue fighting hunger. In times of violence or drought, Action Against Hunger helps communities replenish their food sources. Through the Food Security and Livelihood Program, Action Against Hunger also creates strategies such as small business assistance and veterinary services.

In 2016, Action Against Hunger improved food security, income and livelihoods for 2.6 million people in some of the most vulnerable situations around the world in countries such as South Sudan, Malawi and Iraq.

World Food Program USA Brings Food to Schools and War Zones

World Food Program USA tackles the issue of hunger by asking the question, “Why are people hungry?” and discovering the root causes behind hunger, such as poverty, conflict, natural disasters, climate change, lack of food access and lack of proper education. To help combat these specific situations, World Food Program USA has many different programs for food delivery in developing countries.

WFP’s School Meals Program provides food assistance to school-aged children in areas where school is often their only source of nutritious food. It provides school food assistance in countries such as Sudan, Tanzania, Bolivia and Mali. In 2016, WFP helped feed 16,404,640 children through school meals. More than 76,500 schools received assistance through WFP and 60 countries participated in the program.

WFP’s Emergency Response Program delivers food to war zones in countries such as Syria, Yemen and Iraq, along with natural disaster food delivery. Through these programs, it works with national governments, private sectors and civil society partners. WFP utilizes telecommunications systems to correlate relief and recovery on the ground.

Although many programs only provide temporary solutions to ending hunger, the most pressing issue is to ensure that those who have no other means are provided with their most basic needs: food, water, hygiene and a safe place to live. Through food delivery in developing countries, Action Against Hunger and World Food Program USA have not only helped combat starvation and malnutrition, but their programs have helped people in impoverished areas learn how to make, handle and market food, which will have a lasting effect on their livelihoods and generate a sustainable way of life for the future.   

– Rebecca Lee
Photo: Flickr

Moringa Plant Reduces Food Insecurity in NigerThe United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funds efforts to reduce food insecurity in Niger, a landlocked country located in the Sahel region, an area prone to droughts. Frequent climatic shocks like droughts and floods make agriculture an inconsistent commodity. The vitamin-packed moringa tree could be a method of overcoming the inconsistent agricultural patterns and resulting food insecurity in Niger.

Nutritional Benefits of Moringa

The mystical miracle plant, moringa, is known as “the tree of life.” Officially known as Moringa oleifera, the plant is native to northern India and has been around for hundreds of years. The grassy and earthy taste of the plant is reminiscent of spinach but with a slightly more bitter taste.

The numerous health benefits of moringa prove the plant to be a natural superfood. The plant has many vitamins and minerals, including iron and calcium. Iron assists the body in mitigating anemia, and calcium helps with bone mineralization. Moringa also lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels, which is essential to heart health. Additionally, the plant has a high protein content. The protein in the plant contains all nine essential amino acids that are usually only found in animal products.

Malnutrition occurs because of the agricultural inconsistencies that lead to food insecurity in Niger. Animal protein is usually considered a necessity in addressing malnutrition, but moringa has the nine essential amino acids in addition to containing 30 percent protein, making the plant a good substitute for animal products. Additionally, the moringa tree grows exceptionally fast in dry, semi-arid environments where other plants cannot typically grow, making it well-suited to the Nigerien climate.

Promoting Moringa to Address Food Insecurity in Niger

The National Cooperative Business Association Cooperative League of the United States of America (NCBA CLUSA) implemented the Moringa Value Chain (Moringa VC) project, which promotes the use of the moringa plant to combat food insecurity in Niger, in addition to Mozambique and Senegal.

The Moringa VC project began in 2009 and was funded by USAID. In 2012, the project was renewed under the title Moringa Intensification Project to Help Respond to and Mitigate the Drought Disaster in Niger, which assisted in strengthening the moringa plant’s role in contributing to economic growth and alleviating food insecurity.

The NCBA CLUSA’s approach to the implementation of the moringa plant included many effective steps. The development included information and awareness of the Moringa VC project, the restoration of current cooperative groups, routine data collection of focus indicators, training in production techniques and feasibility studies. These steps were implemented and carried out by many different actors in the region, including Peace Corps volunteers, agricultural officers and non-governmental organization staff.

In USAID’s Responding Early and Building Resilience in the Sahel, Nancy Lindborg said, “We know we can’t stop droughts from happening, but we can and do commit ourselves to early action when we have early warning signs, with a focus on highly targeted programs that build resilience even as we meet urgent needs.”

Women’s involvement in the growing and production of the plant has been an essential goal of the Moringa VC project. Expanding the production of moringa included women’s participation in the marketing, processing and consumption of the plant in Niger. Amy Coughenour, NCBA CLUSA’s Vice President for International Development, said that “focusing on women as a key element in this process ensures food security for the whole family.”

The NCBA CLUSA’s decentralized, inclusive and collaborative Moringa VC project is an active step in mitigating food insecurity in Niger caused by inconsistent agricultural patterns in the Sahel region.

– Andrea Quade

Photo: Google

Fighting World Hunger Through the Hunger ProjectHunger affects more than 700 million people in the world. About one in nine people on this planet do not have the proper amount of food to sustain a healthy lifestyle. The majority of people suffering from starvation live in developing countries in Africa and parts of Asia.

Hunger also has a significant adverse impact on children. Poor nutrition causes about 45 percent of deaths in children under five. This amounts to approximately 3.1 million children each year. Sixty-six million young children attend school hungry, and 22 million of those children are from Africa. In developing countries, one out of three children are stunted, and at least 100 million of these children are underweight.

Malnutrition and world hunger are significant factors in poverty, but organizations such as the Hunger Project work to combat these factors.

What is the Hunger Project?

The Hunger Project was established in 1977, and its primary goal is to help everyone live a fulfilling and healthy life by ending world hunger.

The organization’s focus is world hunger, and it has pinpointed other variables that contribute to achieving its ultimate goal. Simultaneously, it works to enhance human dignity, gender equality, empowerment, interconnectedness, sustainability, social transformation and transformative leadership.

The Hunger Project faces each challenge with three approaches. Firstly, it works to empower women, because they are essential to decreasing world hunger. It then focuses on making dependent communities self-reliant through mobilization. Finally, it works to improve local governments through partnerships.

The Hunger Project Improving Ghana and Burkina Faso

Recently, the Hunger Project partnered with the Economic Community of West African States to work on projects in Ghana and Burkina Faso. Together, they will finance these projects to improve leadership in communities. With better guidance, the organizations hope that it will lead to people being able to obtain their basic daily needs.

Another goal of these projects is to teach communities how to create boreholes during harvest. Boreholes are holes that are drilled into a surface to extract vital material. Boreholes are useful for drilling for water, as well as oil and mineral extraction.

Finally, as part of the series of projects, the organizations will work to equip Ghana and Burkina Faso with more modern tools and skills.

The Hunger Project’s Maternal Care

Ghana’s maternal healthcare system is in dire need of improvement. As of 2010, 164 out of 100,000 births resulted in death. The Hunger Project is working to make a difference by partnering with the Ghana Health Service to teach women how to become midwives.

Ghana is suffering from a shortage of midwives, which can lead to complications during childbirth, especially when a trained attendant is not present. The organization strives to place trained midwives across 15 districts in Ghana. These midwives will offer 24-hour maternal care, especially in the regions that have a shortage.

Hunger is crippling a significant number of people in the world, but with organizations such as the Hunger Project working to address the causes, improvements are sure to come shortly.

– Cassidy Dyce

Photo: Flickr

food security in EthiopiaAccording to USAID, Ethiopia’s economy is dependent on agriculture, which is 43 percent of the GDP and 90 percent of Ethiopia’s exports. With such a significant economic reliance on a single sector, the community must section a large amount of dedicated time and resources towards agriculture’s viability for food security in Ethiopia.

 

Barriers to Food Security in Ethiopia

Access to weather-resistant seeds, fertilizers and pesticides is limited in Ethiopia. On top of that, only a small percentage of the land is actually irrigated. All of these combine to threaten agricultural output. The livelihoods of farmers are at risk if they do not have high enough crop yields to support themselves and sell in the market.

Since its discovery in 1939, there is one crop that has continued to contribute towards food security in Ethiopia. It is a crop that farmers do not worry about and it is a source of nutritional value for all consumers. This crop is commonly referred to as the “false banana.”

 

The Importance of the “False Banana”

Its scientific name is Ensete ventricosum; it is a perennial crop indigenous to Ethiopia. Enset is called the “false banana” because of its similarity in appearance. However, it is usually taller and fatter, with no edible fruits.

Over time, it has ranked as the most important cultivated staple food crop in the highlands of central, south and southwestern Ethiopia. It has been discovered to be weather resistant, which earned enset another title: “the tree against hunger”.

This weather resistance happens because the bulk of this plant is composed of air, then water and then fiber. The cells in the leaves hold an incredible amount of water for years. Therefore, even if Ethiopia faces a drought, this incredible plant can survive up to seven years without rain.

The main product of enset is the starchy pit from its “pseudo-stem,” which is pulped and then fermented for a few months before producing kocho, which is a solid staple that is eaten with bread, milk, cheese, cabbage, meat or coffee. Its diversity in usage makes it an excellent crop to bring food security to Ethiopia. According to an article published by Kyoto University, over 15 million people depend on enset to supplement their diets.

 

Bacterial Wilt and Solutions

Recently, a bacterial wilt caused by Xanthomnas campestris has ravaged enset, putting many enset farming systems at risk. As of 2017, according to a publication on Agriculture and Life Security, “up to 80 percent of enset farms in Ethiopia are currently infected with enset Xanthomonas wilt.” This disease has forced many farmers to abandon their crop production and threatens their survival.

Control of this bacterial disease is challenging, but sanitation and reducing the bacteria’s transmission rates are key. The same study from Agriculture and Life Security wrote that “Management practices recommended for EXW and BXW include uprooting and discarding infected plants, planting healthy, disease-free plants from less susceptible varieties, disinfecting farm tools after every use, crop rotation, avoiding overflow of water from infected to uninfected fields, removing alternate hosts around plants…”

The government must focus on educational programs to teach farmers how to manage all of the above steps towards reducing bacterial wilt in their enset plants.

Another method is currently in process, led by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, which has partnered with the National Agricultural Research Organization and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation in order to develop transgenetic enset that are resistant to the bacterial wilt disease.

This project, if a success, will reduce the losses of small-scale farmers strongly relying on enset as a staple food. It would distribute the necessary resources and infrastructure to farmers to plant this new, bacterial-resistant enset. Thanks to dedication and scientific advancements, a project such as this one will help contribute to food security in Ethiopia.

– Caysi Simpson

Photo: Flickr

Causes of Poverty in AsiaAsia is the largest and moust populous continent on earth and is notable for its fast-growing economy. However, it is also the continent in which over 40 percent of the 766 million people living on less than $1.90 a day reside, making it the second poorest continent after Africa.

Asia is a place of extreme poverty as well as top business ventures. While all Asian countries are not poor, the wide gap in economic condition of the eastern continent’s people in its different parts drives one to explore the causes of poverty in Asia.

  1. Population
    The first and the foremost reason is Asia’s huge population. Almost 60 percent of the world’s population is in Asia. While density of population is not the same everywhere, the monumental growth of population compared to the scarcity of resources is one of the major causes of poverty in Asia.
  2. Food Security
    According to a report by the Asian Development Bank, 67 percent of the world’s hungry lives in Asia. Since 2000, there has been an increase in basic food prices, causing food insecurity for the poor, who designate a large amount of their income for food. Various factors like urbanization, population growth, a decrease in agricultural land and poor policy making are responsible for the increasing food insecurity in Asia.
  3. Education
    Lack of proper education also causes poverty. According to UNESCO, about 30 percent of adults in South and West Asia are illiterate, and about one-third of students in primary schools lack basic numeric and literary skills which are essential for further education. There is also a wide gender gap in education in South Asia, as only 62 percent of young women are literate compared to 77 percent of young men.
  4. Health
    Malnutrition in women and children is also another factor. Almost 69 percent of children with acute malnutrition live in Asia, which causes low weight and stunted growth. Women are also vulnerable to the situation, as almost 80 percent of adolescent women have anemia. Poor health prevents them from having proper education and a normal life, ultimately increasing the impoverished situation.
  5. Administration
    According to the corruption perception index of 2015, 60 percent of Asian countries scored below 50, indicating a serious corruption problem. Poor governance and corruption in administration make financial power available only to the fortunate few, fueling poverty for the mass population.
  6. Natural Disasters
    Asian countries are mostly dependent upon agriculture, forestry and tourism, which can all be affected by natural disasters. In 2015, half of the world’s natural disasters took place in the Asia-Pacific region like earthquakes, droughts, wild fires, storms, extreme temperatures and floods, causing significant economic losses.
  7. Global Recession
    With a recession in the global market, a vast section of Asian workers or laborers working in America or Western Europe have lost their jobs, negatively affecting the economic conditions of their families.
  8. Social Discrimination
    In some countries of South Asia, caste discrimination is prominent in different levels of the society. This prohibits equal opportunities among the mass population, making certain sections of the population poorer than others.

Most of the above causes of poverty in Asia are interrelated. An increase in population leads to a corrupt administration which, in turn, fails to provide quality education to all people, giving rise to unemployment, discrimination and food insecurity. Poor governance also fails to provide sufficient health and medical facilities, causing health issues and making people unfit for progress. It is clear that, before the people of Asia can rise up out of poverty, the lack of fair and uncorrupted governments throughout the continent must be addressed.

– Mahua Mitra

Photo: Flickr

An Era of Food Sustainability to End World Hunger
If there is enough food to feed the entire world, why don’t we use it to end world hunger? Many believe the answer to ending world hunger is producing more food, but this misconception derives from the belief that there is a global “food shortage” that results in 12 percent of the global population — more than 800 million people — suffering from malnutrition.

The truth is that there is too much food in too little places; impoverished communities on a local, national and global level simply do not have the access to a consistent food supply. Consider this: a third of food produced in the world is either lost or wasted, and this number equates to more than 1.3 billion tons of food each year. To put this in perspective, food waste in the United States and Europe alone could feed the entire world three times over.

In recent years, initiatives have been made to harness the power of conservation to end world hunger and have led to an increase in governmental participation. For example, just last year France unanimously passed legislation that requires supermarkets to donate unsold food of good quality to charity. Following France’s lead, Italy passed similar legislation, and the United Kingdom, Finland, Canada and Chile are also considering implementing such a policy.

Rescuing Leftover Cuisine

To encourage businesses to participate in this growing movement, the Rescuing Leftover Cuisine (RLC) has worked with American businesses to achieve “zero hunger.” Founded by Robert Lee, the organization has worked to transport food quickly and efficiently by lowering transportation costs though a strong and active volunteer base.

Since 2015, RLC has grown rapidly and works with large chains like Starbucks and Panera as well as local restaurants. Lee’s model, though quite simple, combines youth activism, increased technology and willingness from businesses to participate in his efforts.

Though Lee’s campaign is in only eleven cities in the U.S., his model can be used as example to end world hunger. Lee believes this and has said, “We’re eliminating hunger community by community,” he says. “Wherever there’s food waste, I want people to know there’s an alternative to throwing it out.”

Sustainable Food Systems

Eliminating food waste is the start of eliminating world hunger. National campaigns like those in France and Italy as well as local efforts like the RLC are making significant impacts in increasing access to food. Similar approaches like the creation of sustainable food systems that lower agricultural and manufacturable food wastes are also part of the effort. On a more individual level, raising awareness on the issue can help families be more conscious of how much food they’re wasting each day.

The combination of effective legislation, grassroots campaigns and scientific research are proving effective. Still, there are questions regarding the efficacy of this solution on a global scale. In short, how has decreased food waste helped resolve hunger in developing nations where 98% of undernourished people live?

Food Waste

Food waste is a global problem, and the United Nations estimates that around 40 percent of food produced is wasted in developing countries. The problem of food wastage can be attributed to a lack of advanced technology that lead to extreme losses of water and energy every year. To end world hunger, small farmers from poor countries must be supplied with adequate technology, and this empowerment can significantly increase crop yields.

Thankfully, efforts are already being made to accomplish just that. In India, for example, the Promethean Power Systems uses solar power during production to decrease energy waste. In Uganda, biogas is being used as a cooling system, and initiatives from the United States and other industrialized nations are already being implemented in developing countries. The CoolBot, for instance, has transformed post-harvest care, and unified efforts across the world are bringing technology where it is needed the most — thus making a huge difference.

The effort to reduce food waste has been promising, and world hunger has sharply declined in the past decade as a result. This has inspired efforts to not only lower world hunger, but to also eliminate the issue completely. By eliminating food waste, zero hunger is achievable.

– Liyu Woldemichael

Photo: Flickr

top 10 hunger quotesGlobally, around 795 million people lack access to adequate food resources. This equates to approximately one in nine hungry humans who do not have enough to eat. As these quotes about hunger will illustrate, hunger and malnutrition are self-perpetuating issues that affect a person’s mental ability, health, work and productivity. They constitute the world’s greatest public health risk, more pressing than AIDs, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

The good news is that hunger is preventable; the earth produces more than enough food to provide for all of its citizens. The problem lies in food access and apathy from developed nations. Solving world hunger involves investing in smallholder family farmers, healthcare, financial services and increasing women’s access to resources. The following are 10 of the greatest, most thought-provoking quotes about hunger that bring various perspectives to this complex issue.

  1. “If we can conquer space, we can conquer childhood hunger.” –Buzz Aldrin
  2. “It is an eternal obligation toward the human being not to let him suffer from hunger when one has a chance of coming to his assistance.” –Simone Weil
  3. “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower
  4. “There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” –Mahatma Gandhi
  5. “We know that a peaceful world cannot long exist, one-third rich and two-thirds hungry.” –Jimmy Carter
  6. “The war against hunger is truly mankind’s war of liberation.” –John F. Kennedy
  7. “Hunger is not a problem. It is an obscenity. How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” –Anne Frank
  8. “If you cannot feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” –Mother Teresa
  9. “It is important for people to realize that we can make progress against world hunger, that world hunger is not hopeless. The worst enemy is apathy.” –Reverend David Beckmann
  10. “You pray for the hungry. Then you feed them. This is how prayer works.” –Pope Francis

For anyone moved by these quotes about hunger, there are many ways for individuals to get involved. Advocacy is essential, and contacting representatives is an easy and effective means of citizen involvement. Supporting hunger initiatives and awareness over social media is another simple option. On a local level, communities can provide meals for the hungry among them.

In the last 26 years, the number of hungry people worldwide has fallen by 216 million. With enough public determination, this amount will continue to drop until no one in the world goes to bed hungry.

– Anna Parker

Photo: Flickr

cost to end malnutritionThe United Nations (U.N.) estimates that there are currently 795 million undernourished people in the world. With the help of the global community, it is possible to significantly reduce this number. The necessary steps to addressing food insecurity depend largely on the cost to end malnutrition.

Hunger: Not an Issue of Scarcity

When the U.N. implemented the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, one of the targets was to end hunger and malnutrition across the globe by 2030. While the target seems impossible to achieve, the reality shows that food production is not the problem. Since 2012, the amount of food produced globally has been enough to feed the world’s population. Furthermore, the growth of food production continues to outpace population growth.

Hunger is not caused by food scarcity but by other complex issues such as poverty and inequality. These problems are all linked and an approach to ending malnutrition must address poverty, inequality, climate change and other related issues across the globe.

The Cost to End Malnutrition

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) has found that the cost to end malnutrition will be an extra $11 billion each year until 2030. This includes an additional $4 billion per year of investments from donor countries, which is a 45 percent increase over current donations. The remaining $7 billion per year will come from the affected countries themselves.

The IISD has created five main categories for which the additional investments will be used for. The categories are as follows:

  1. Social Safety Nets – such as food stamps and other government programs.
  2. Farm Support – including subsidies for seeds, tractors and other costs necessary to produce food.
  3. Rural Development – working to improve infrastructure and market access.
  4. Enabling Policies – passing government policies that will help those suffering from malnutrition.
  5. Nutrition – addressing concerns such as stunting, wasting and anemia.

It will take a combination of all five of these categories to meet the United Nation’s goal of eradicating hunger and malnutrition by 2030. While the estimated cost of $11 billion a year in additional funds is a tall order, it can be accomplished with a coordinated global effort.

Eradicating malnutrition goes hand in hand with ending poverty and creating a more equitable world. There is an opportunity to put an end to the injustices faced by many around the world. However, in order for that to happen, countries around the world must understand the cost to end malnutrition and make this cause a higher priority.

– Aaron Childree

Photo: Flickr

FoodTechAfrica
Twenty four million people have been affected by the disastrous patterns of droughts in East Africa. These droughts have led to diminished crop yields and have created serious food insecurity in addition to decreased water sources. However, FoodTechAfrica (FTA), a Dutch organization comprised of many agro-food companies, has proposed a plan to feed people throughout East Africa by establishing sustainable fisheries throughout the region.

Growing Populations and Growing Hunger

As populations in East Africa continue to rise, the threat of food insecurity looms even greater. In their current condition, East African countries are simply unable to meet the demand for food, making food extremely expensive and its availability uncertain.

Widespread food insecurity has significant health consequences. Throughout East Africa, 800,000 children suffer from complications resulting from malnutrition. In Ethiopia, 4.3 million people without access to food and water require medical assistance. An estimated six million people in South Sudan are in need of food and water.

While the food crisis in East Africa is serious, it is getting better. Since 1990, protein-energy malnutrition has decreased by 35.7 percent in Kenya and nearly 70 percent in Ethiopia.

Aquaculture

FoodTechAfrica’s goal is to increase food security in East Africa using aquaculture, a form of food production very common in the Netherlands. Aquaculture is essentially fish farming, which can be conducted on small, household scales or at industrial levels, with minimal harm to the environment. Fish are a protein and nutrient-rich resource that can be produced sustainably, feeding millions of hungry people and appeasing malnutrition.

Unlike livestock farming, aquaculture requires little land to produce large yields. Farming fish rather than fishing from seas and rivers allows for the nutritional benefits of fish without the environmental damage of over-fishing. FTA’s aquaculture methods involve recirculation throughout fish pens, which conserves precious water.

Food and Jobs

FoodTechAfrica has set its sights not only on providing food throughout East Africa, but also jobs. The Kamuthanga Fish Farm, created by FTA, is the largest aquaculture operation in Kenya. This facility alone provides 58 skilled positions to local workers and is training even more. FTA has ensured that at least 25 of these jobs belong to women. Kamuthanga is capable of producing up to 1000 tonnes (1,000,000 kilograms) of fish per year, which is enough to feed approximately 140,000 people.

As FTA establishes more fisheries in more countries, more food and jobs are created. While the plan is simple, its execution will help assuage the complex issue of hunger in East Africa.

– Mary Efird

Photo: Flickr