The Feeding of the Nine Billion: Global Food Security for the 21st Century
“There is a real risk of a ‘food crunch’ at some point in the future, which would fall particularly hard on import-dependent countries and on poor people everywhere.” -- Alex Evans, Center on International Cooperation
Action in developing countries
Investment in food and agriculture
Analyse the investment of the last twenty years in the proportion of foreign aid that goes to agriculture. How can you validate that in 1980 17% of the investment was assigned to agriculture and only 3% in 2006. What is the current percentage. Do you think that donors should urgently reverse this trend or should over production in developed countries should be exported into developing countries. Frozen chicken that cannot be sold in developed countries are exported into developing countries that are cheaper that chicken, that was produced on local national farms in developing countries. Local producers cannot compete with the cheap imported chicken meat. Apply systems thinking to this topic and derive suggestion for solution that allow a sustainable food production in the developing countries and address at the same time the over production and waste for food.
Analyze and access the following topics in the domain of agriculture in developing countries:
- Local corruption and international corruption.
- Global corporations use developing countries as economic colonies – cheap land, cheap labor, no labor organizations, labor laws not enforced, and ability to avoid environmental regulations.
- Profits are returned to the “home” country and not used for the benefit of the population of developing countries or the corporation's workers.
- Ability to sell “seconds” -- lowest quality food products – in local markets.
- Low profit margins in food production versus higher profit margins in production of hard and soft goods for export.
=== Invest in a 21st century Green Revolution === The 20th century Green Revolution achieved astonishing yield increases. Now, a 21st century equivalent is needed – one that not only increases yields, but that also moves from an agricultural model that is input-intensive (in water, fertilizer, pesticide and energy use) to one that is instead intensive in its use of knowledge.
Input intensive farming benefits the manufacturers of expensive farm machinery, toxic industrial chemicals, pollution of earth, air and water, and concentration of agricultural enterprises in the hands of the few, the wealthy, and the oligarchies. The mega farms drive the small farmer out of business. The fruit and vegetable products are generally shipped long distances, thus are picked very green and have few of the “dense nutrients” which produce a healthy population.
The better policy is to return to the small farmer in the village and empower many small farmers to grow what is needed for the village or a small group of villages. For instance, in Kenya, four enterprises operate as hatcheries for Tilapia fry and juveniles. The Juveniles are sold to local fish farmers who raise the Tilapia to market size, usually feeding the fish locally sourced feed, such as rice and wheat middlings, ground corn cobs and stalks, animal manure, ground kitchen waste and chopped green vegetable leaves. Cracked corn is added as a buffer against a low pH.
The local fish farmers harvest the fish, which can be sold live at the pond, or processed into fillets, using a local certified food processing plant owned by the fish farmers' cooperative. The Cooperative can provide micro-loans, instructions, marketing of frozen fillets, and mutual protection against predatory corporations and government officials.
Genetically Modified Organisms - GMO
Genetically modified crops may have a role, but ecologically integrated approaches – such as integrated pest management, minimum tillage, drip irrigation and integrated soil fertility management – often score higher on resilience and equitability, as they put power in the hands of farmers rather than seed companies. Additional funds for public research and development are also vital: the budget of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research has fallen by 50 per cent over the last 15 years, for example.
Genetically modified crops (GMO) have a darkside. Monsanto has patented their GMO's and, as a matter of business policy, filed lawsuits against any person or company which even remotely compromises Monsanto's quest for wealth. We need to save seed which has been developed using non-recombinant DNA research, but based on Medellin science (trial crosses of pollen and a great deal of trial and error research).
4.Get the basics in place. In order to thrive, farms in developing countries need access to five key resources: assets (such as land, machinery, or renewable resources like water); markets (for example adequate infrastructure, communication networks that give farmers access to up-to-date price information, or the capacity to meet supplier standards for supermarkets); credit (to prevent small farmers from falling prey to predatory lending, and to improve access to inputs such as fertilizers); knowledge (where there is an urgent need to invest in agricultural extension services to help disseminate R&D findings in the field); and risk management (for example through social protection systems, mechanisms for hedging against bad weather, and improved crop storage systems). Developing country governments and donors alike need to focus on supporting these outcomes.
The Farmer Cooperative is a well known model used by many farm trade organizations to cover most aspects of farming. The list is long in the USA. The cooperative is based on the mutual interest of the group of farmers, generally concerning a specific commodity. Few in the USA are based on social networks, such as the Granges, which have died out to a great extent. The local granges had no financial plan, no management plan and was mostly a discussion group. The granges were no match for the corporate mega-farm organizations. The same is true of most cities, towns and villages in the USA – plenty of talk, but no action and no allocation of resources sufficient to produce a mega-result.
=== Focus on small farmers === 1.5 billion people live in households that depend on small farms. While arguments for supporting small farms are sometimes dismissed as based on a romantic attachment to peasant agriculture, the evidence shows that small farming can be a viable route out of poverty with the right policy framework. In Vietnam, for instance, small farmers have been able to benefit from high food prices through accessing export markets and to participate in the country’s impressive growth. A key part of the puzzle is mechanisms that can aggregate small farmers’ output and help them to meet supplier standards for supermarkets and other large buyers. In the past, this role was often played by government-run marketing boards, many of which were dismantled in the 1980s and 1990s. Today, the gap they left needs to be plugged – but private companies, NGOs or farmers’ organizations may be just as capable of fulfilling the role as government agencies.
Cooperative organizations include many types of legal entities, from “flat” organizations like Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco, California, and The Cheese Board in Berkeley, California to pyramid, top-down management based on economic wealth of the stockholders (e.g. Conagra).
Many poor countries have tried to deal with high food prices through subsidies or price controls. Both approaches come with a cost: the former can wreck government budgets, while the latter reduces farmers’ incentive to produce more. Social protection systems represent a better alternative, but only 20 per cent of the world’s people have access to them. Although more experimentation is needed on what kinds of system work where, the main obstacles are political rather than technical: affluent groups in developing countries often oppose social protection systems for fear they will encourage dependency (although the evidence suggests the opposite). In these circumstances, the challenge for foreign aid donors is to support local advocates of pro-poor change to open up political space – a challenge that is more about influence than about spending money.
=== Consider an IEA for food=== After the first oil shock in 1973, the International Energy Agency was created. Its core mission: to co-ordinate collective action in future oil crises, above all through an emergency response system based on strategic oil reserves in member countries. Today, an equivalent function is needed for food. Part of the reason for the current food price spike is that worldwide food stocks had fallen to unsustainably low levels: the recent easing in prices gives governments an opportunity to build those reserves back up. A global system of food reserves need not entail the creation of a new agency, but to be credible the system would need to be overseen by a disinterested party, such as the World Food Programme. It would also be essential to be clear that the role of any system of reserves would be limited to emergency assistance: not to act as a price support for producers, or a permanent system for managing food aid.
Famine follows major crop failures caused by drought, poor soil, insects and war. Here are some solutions:
Water can be stored in tanks above ground or in aquifers below ground. The latter is the better mode if rain and river water can be infiltrated into the ground and does not run out through an underground river. If the aquifer does not store the water, then underground tanks may be the solution.
A simple system is to dig a trench about five feet deep and about a meter wide. Take clean, food quality 55 gallon drums and weld them end-to-end to make a large pipe, leaving both ends capped by the drum head which has the threaded bungs. Make this tube say 10 to 40 meters long. The trench is dug to match the contours of the slope of the land so that water will run into the ditch above the sunken barrels, flow through a sand and charcoal filter and into the barrel/pipe/tank. Before burying the barrel pipe, screw in a three-quarter inch street elbow into the three-quarter inch bung and place that side on the bottom of the trench. Lead this pipe down the slope to daylight. Before putting in the drum pipe, line the bottom and sides of the trench with four inches of very thick clay which will resist water penetration. This way, if the barrels leak, the water will mostly stay in the trench and can be tapped. The three-quarter inch tap leads out of the barrels in a siphon loop which allows the transfer of water from the barrels to a drip irrigation system, either by gravity or a photovoltaic powered water pump.
When back-filling the trench, a layer of clay covers the top of the barrels. Then a perforated plastic pipe is laid along the center of the barrel pipe, with the clay sloping to the underside of the PVC Place the perforations on the bottom of the PVC pipe. This PVC pipe is connected to the two inch bung which is at each end and is oriented to the top side of the barrel tube. Cover the PVC with a mixture of gravel and charcoal (50/50) to about four inches, then cover with about a foot of clean sand, then above the sand, put in a layer of charcoal. Then finish with clean straw, rocks, gravel, and small branches. Leave the top of the trench depressed about four inches and the extra soil placed and compacted as a berm on the low side of the trench.
Since the soil is the “stomach” of the plant, special care should be taken to create a healthy soil. [ See: http://masallp.wetpaint.com/page/THE+HEALTY+FOODWEB.] For a row crop, dig a trench at least twelve inches deep, preferably twenty inches. Using an enclosed outdoor oven, create as much charcoal as you can by combusting wood chops, corn cobs – any cellulose you can find, using very little oxygen. The fresh air opening (duct) should be nearly closed so that only a smoldering occurs, not open flames. After about four hours (depending the fuel load), the charcoal should be taken and reduced to about a half-inch by an inch chips, or less. The charcoal or “Biochar”, then is infused with nutrient. The nutrient can be made from any manure product or from well-aged compost which was made with at least ten percent manure. Compost “tea” is made by taking gunny sake of compost and putting it in a barrel of hot water, then raise and lower it several times a minute or use the water in the barrel to flow over the sack by means of a pump and hose.
Put the biochar in a barrel and fill it with the “tea” and let is soak 24 hours or longer. Then dump the barrel in bottom of the trench and add equal amounts of native soil and mix well. The top of the finished soil in the trench should be lower than the soil next to it so that all water it receives, stays in the trench. [ See: http://masallp.wetpaint.com/page/DAIRY+PRODUCTION+OF+SYNGAS+AND+BIOCHAR]
Rain water if it comes, is the best. Water stored in the barrel pipes or regular water tanks or from a well works great. The rain will be best used for potable water if it can be caught on a clean surface, free of dust and pollen, then stored in food-grade plastic tanks, with about a quarter-cup of 3% bleach per 100 gallons. Seal the tank against insects and oxygen. Store in a cool, dark place. Don't use this treated water for plants or animals. The water can be de-chlorinated by boiling or exposing to the Sun for four or more hours. Insects: Healthy plants can often fend-off insects. The health plants come from the soil organisms native to most soils. Adding infused biochar (call “Agrichar”) enables the soil micro-organisms to grow rapidly and benefit the plants, although the greatest benefit will take about three growing seasons to really set the plants on a new, healthier course. There are many natural, organic-based solutions to insect control.
Governments exist to preserve the peace. When the Taliban moved into a village in northern Afghanistan, which village was famous for its pottery, they smashed all of the pottery and destroyed the kilns. They imposed harsh conditions on the villages. After the Northern Alliance and the NATO forces recovered the area, the villages rebuilt the kilns and restarted the pottery businesses. In addition, they maintained armed guards around the village to discourage any Taliban from coming back.
Technical assistance on long term security
The trend for major food importers such as China, South Korea and a number of Gulf countries to seek long term food purchase agreements, land leases or land purchases in third countries risks disadvantaging poor countries that lack the capacity to negotiate a fair deal. (Madagascar, for example, is reported to have leased half its arable land to a South Korean company for 99 years with no compensation other than jobs created on the farms). Yet such agreements could in principle provide a win for both sides, allowing import-dependent countries to increase their security of supply at the same time as bringing much-needed capital, infrastructure and know-how to countries that have the potential to produce much more food than they currently do. In order to move towards this more positive scenario, developing countries need better technical assistance in negotiating these complex and innovative deals. International donors should gear up to provide such advice as a matter of urgency.
This operation by the South Korean company is an example of economic colonialism and should be stopped cold it its tracks by every means legal. The land in question should have been awarded to many small, farmer cooperatives or ejidos, and the cooperatives financed so that they could do the farming, create the jobs and keep the profits for their use rather than exporting the profits to South Korea. Contrary to what the author states, this arrangement is a loss for Madagascar and a win for the South Korean company. Bad bargains make for bad outcomes.
=== Agricultural Liberalization === Although agricultural liberalization may have the effect of raising food prices in the short term, the underlying fact remains that reform of US farm support and the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy is essential for improving poor countries’ food security. By subsidising food production and then exporting it, developed countries introduce a dynamic in the world trade system that structurally disadvantages developing countries by eroding the capacity of their agricultural sectors to compete. Accordingly, reform of developed country support remains essential. On the same basis, developed countries should move towards giving food aid in cash (which can then be used to purchase food in developing countries, thus investing in their agricultural sectors at the same time) rather than in food (a form of tied aid that subsidises producers in the donor country). Countries with support regimes for biofuels (above all those for corn-based ethanol in the US and biodiesel in the EU) also urgently need to review those policies in the light of their impact on food security.
Giving cash to buy food is not bad, but it is not the best solution. Making grants to farmer cooperatives, which grants are used to create productive, small farms within each cooperative, is the best solution.
Integrate security of supply into global trade rules
A lapse into protectionism would be a serious step back for global food security. But after recent convulsions in agricultural trade (above all the export restrictions introduced by more than 30 countries), many governments are unsure whether they can trust world markets – to the extent that some of them are even flirting with autarchy, despite warnings from the UN food task force that self-sufficiency and food security are not the same. For liberalised trade in agriculture to command support, importers’ legitimate security of supply concerns need to be addressed. Policymakers should use the Doha round as an opportunity to explore the potential for new WTO rules on export suspensions on food, as already exist in the context of the NAFTA agreement.
Putting WTO and policymakers who crafted NAFTA in charge, is not a good solution. The best policy is to make direct grants and no-interest, long term loans to farmer cooperatives as mentioned above.
=== Climate Change and Agriculture ===
The projected impacts of climate change alone mean that a global plan for stabilising greenhouse gas concentrations is a sine qua non for future worldwide food security – but they are not the only reason. Analysts from Goldman Sachs to the World Bank and the IMF now agree that biofuels have been one of the most important (if not the most important) driver of rising food prices in recent years. No. The rise in food prices is attributable to the corporate greed of the Mega-farm corporations and the price of fossil fuel. If oil prices resume their volatile upward march – as recent analyses from Chatham House and the International Energy Agency suggest they will – then food prices risk being pulled up with them. Not necessarily. We can grow abundant food using alternative energy and crop production alternative to the that of the industrial farms. The best way of avoiding this scenario is through greatly increased investment in new oil production infrastructure, which in turn depends on a more stable and predictable outlook for oil prices. Not so. This sounds like a tune sung to the oil industry by a professional hack. By limiting future carbon emissions, a global deal on climate change would also provide predictability on the shape of future oil demand - allowing oil producers to invest with more confidence while at the same time reconciling this goal with the need to tackle climate change seriously. How can producing and burning more fossil fuel reduce GHG? The developed nations should impose a carbon emission tax on all fossil fuel and use the proceeds to invest in non-fossil energy sources.
Jim Miller email@example.com September 7, 2009
- Climate Change has and impact on environmental conditions and environmental conditions can be represented in a Geographic Information System. Explain how a precision farming can be used with mobile devices. Decribe the challenges and benefits of precision farming in developing countries.
- One idea of correcting the United States and South American Mexico Border Patrol Issues would consist of a combined regional association that would plan crops and build a few factories ten to 25 miles out from the border in order to provide jobs.
With our growing population, globally and locally, food security becomes a serious issue. Food security and sustainability are at an all-time low in Arizona (Nabhan 2003:1). Our current globalized food system is not sustainable or beneficial to the community. Food security implies access by all people at all times to enough safe and nutritious food for them to lead active, healthy lives (Nabhan 2003:1). Levels of food insecurity are higher in Arizona than the national average, and Arizona’s population is growing by and estimated 150,000 people per year (Nabhan 2003:2). In order for food production to be sustainable it must not significantly deplete the soil, water, energy, biodiversity or human communities. Unfortunately, states have yet to implement sustainable food production policies. Since 1950 the number of farms in Arizona has dropped by 36%, but the number of cattle have increased by 22,000 (Nabhan 2003: 8). The drop in food producing land is do to poor land and water policies that focus more on urban expansion, and means Arizonans are more dependent upon distant sources where the environmental conditions are not well-known by the public. However, an interesting and positive statistic showed that 100% of Arizonans surveyed said they would purchase locally-produced food if it were more accesible (Nabhan 2003: 11). The state needs to implement policies and practices that promote Arizona-grown food products for Arizona residents, increase Arizona’s food security and sustainability through the department of agriculture, shift funds from homeland security to sustainable agriculture and sustainable water use, develope meat processing facilities so that Arizona-produced beef is packaged and distributed near where it is produced, and promote consumer education that makes clear the economic, environmental social and health benefits of eating fresh local food, provide tax incentives to farmers who implement water conservation strategies, target low-income and reservation communities to further food-producing small businesses, and provide farmers and ranchers with incentives to reduce pesticide use while attempting to increase the diversity of desert-adapted crop varieties and livestock breeds (Nabhan 2003: 17). These policies are especially important to the flagstaff community because of the draw of tourists by the Grand Canyon. In fact, some business establiments have implemented ‘local” as their theme. Diablo burger is on such restaurant who gets its meat from the Diablo Trust. The Diablo Trust is a collaboration of land and resource owners and managers, directors, staff, students and members of non-ownership land resource agencies and institutions and other participants. The Mission Statement of the Diablo trust is to “ensure the long-term economic, social and ecological sustainability of the Diablo Trust land area by providing a forum for active community participation in a collaborative sewardship process.” The Diablo Trust is comprised of ranchers of the Bar T Bar and Flying M ranches, federal and state agency personel, environmentalists, scientists and other environmentally-concious citizens. The land area begins at Diablo Canyon watershed and ranges from eastern desert grasslands at 5,100 ft, through east-central shrub grasslands, central woodland grasslands, forest, riparian canyons up to 7600 ft. The goals of Diablo trust are to sustain open space, sustain biological diversity, sustain multiple-generation stewards, produce high-quality food, protect watersheds, restore historic grasslands and enhance wildlife corridors, and achieve a community of place (www.diablotrust.org). Such a working endeavor is a positive example for the community and others. By using the land with its well-being in mind this type of agricultures proves that are capable of supporting our needs and livlihoods in a sustainable manner. This must become the standard form of agriculture and economy if we are to leave our future generations a diverse ecological landscape that is still capable of providing sustinence for the people who live with it.
The current challenges human beings face in relation to our changing environment are substantial. In order to keep our world from collapsing in upon itself while solving the conflicts an exponentially growing human population inflicts upon its environment and fellow human beings we must shift our ethical paradigm from its current state to one that is compatible with the needs of the environment and eachother. All people maintain similar ehtical universalities and the environmentally-centered values we need to adopt are present in the world. Sustainable developement is a major factor in the world today and will continue to grow as time goes on. Sustainable development requires a significant change to philosophical and religious attitudes. The Western world needs to shift its awareness from anthropocentrism to one that is ecocentric. A sustainable society cannot be achieved without fundamental changes in our basic thinking, ethical values, morals and religious beliefs. In this paper I will focus on the environmental impacts of human activity here on the Colorado plateau that relate to food security and present some positive actions some communities have become involved with with an ecocentric attitude. The Colorado plateau is situated in a region that makes it suseptible to unusual climate fluctuations (Schwinning et al. 2008:1). Humans have lived on the Colorado plateau for nearly ten-thousand years, but occupation has never been continuous and it appears that the first farmers of the region were forced to abandon the area due to a prolongued drought. Humans returned to the Colorado plateau in the 1800s as Anglo farmers. They brought sheep and cattle and began dry-farming. Currently we are experiencing a drought, something ranching and farming are extremely vulnerable to. This region has experienced vaying years of wetness and dryness, and it is unfortunate that the estimated water production allocation under the Colorado River Compact was established in the 1920s when the Colorado river volume was at its highest (http://pubs.water.usgs.gov/fs). It was during this time that ranching and farming expanded greatly in the region. Now almost ninety percent of the Colorado Plateau is used by the rranching industry, though the numbers of cattle are much lesser than they were in the early twentieth century (Schwinning et al. 2008:7). The impact of cattle grazing has seriously affected the ecosystems of the Colorado Plateau and left many native plants unable to compete with exotic grass species. It has been the policy of the western untited states to encourage extractive ranching and farming policies beyond ecologically sustaining levels. Currentlt, more people than ever live on the Colorado Plateau, but our livlihoods depend upon our ability to maintain our resources, most importantly water. Grazing on the Colorado Plateau has been a subject of debate since it began. John Muir was opposed to it, but the Forest Service supported it (Bradford et al. 2002:1). It is not rational to believe than ranching will cease in the region, but it is plausible that ranching strategies and policies can adapt sustainable measures. The Forest Service has established a range management program which emphasizes the management of range vegetation, protection of soil and water resources and ecological diversity as well as contribute to the economic and social well-being of people by providing stability for communities that depend on range resources for their livlihoods (Bradford et al. 2002: 2). Grazing by domesticated livestock should be based on plants’ livlihood needs for the plant to sustain itself. It is inevitable that plants grazed too often will be depleted or wiped out. If ranchers manage their cattle effectively by grazing them for short times in areas where there is an excess amount of vegetation, it is less likely for native plant species to be over-grazed. In effect, livestock grazing is the form of agriculture with the lowest ecological impact if done correctly. With our growing population, globally and locally, food security becomes a serious issue. Food security and sustainability are at an all-time low in Arizona (Nabhan 2003:1). Our current globalized food system is not sustainable or beneficial to the community. Food security implies access by all people at all times to enough safe and nutritious food for them to lead active, healthy lives (Nabhan 2003:1). Levels of food insecurity are higher in Arizona than the national average, and Arizona’s p0pulation is growing by and estimated 150,000 people per year (Nabhan 2003:2). In order for food production to be sustainable it must not significantly deplete the soil, water, energy, biodiversity or human communities. Unfortunately, states have yet to implement sustainable food production policies. Since 1950 the number of farms in Arizona has dropped by 36%, but the number of cattle have increased by 22,000 (Nabhan 2003: 8). The drop in food producing land is do to poor land and water policies that focus more on urban expansion, and means Arizonans are more dependent upon distant sources where the environmental conditions are not well-known by the public. However, an interesting and positive statistic showed that 100% of Arizonans surveyed said they would purchase locally-produced food if it were more accessible (Nabhan 2003: 11). The state needs to implement policies and practices that promote Arizona-grown food products for Arizona residents, increase Arizona’s food security and sustainability through the department of agriculture, shift funds from homeland security to sustainable agriculture and sustainable water use, develope meat processing facilities so that Arizona-produced beef is packaged and distributed near where it is produced, and promote consumer education that makes clear the economic, environmental social and health benefits of eating fresh local food, provide tax incentives to farmers who implement water conservation strategies, target low-income and reservation communities to further food-producing small businesses, and provide farmers and ranchers with incentives to reduce pesticide use while attempting to increase the diversity of desert-adapted crop varieties and livestock breeds (Nabhan 2003: 17). These policies are especially important to the flagstaff community because of the draw of tourists by the Grand Canyon. In fact, some business establishments have implemented ‘local” as their theme. Diablo burger is on such restaurant who gets its meat from the Diablo Trust. The Diablo Trust is a collaboration of land and resource owners and managers, directors, staff, students and members of non-ownership land resource agencies and institutions and other participants. The Mission Statement of the Diablo trust is to “ensure the long-term economic, social and ecological sustainability of the Diablo Trust land area by providing a forum for active community participation in a collaborative stewardship process.” The Diablo Trust is comprised of ranchers of the Bar T Bar and Flying M ranches, federal and state agency personnel, environmentalists, scientists and other environmentally-conscious citizens. The land area begins at Diablo Canyon watershed and ranges from eastern desert grasslands at 5,100 ft, through east-central shrub grasslands, central woodland grasslands, forest, riparian canyons up to 7600 ft. The goals of Diablo trust are to sustain open space, sustain biological diversity, sustain multiple-generation stewards, produce high-quality food, protect watersheds, restore historic grasslands and enhance wildlife corridors, and achieve a community of place (www.diablotrust.org). Such a working endeavor is a positive example for the community and others. By using the land with its well-being in mind this type of agriculture proves that are capable of supporting our needs and livelihoods in a sustainable manner. This must become the standard form of agriculture and economy if we are to leave our future generations a diverse ecological landscape that is still capable of providing subsistence for the people who live with it.
- UN-Guidelines for Use of SDG logo and the 17 SDG icons (2019/05/10) - https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/news/communications-material/
- World Food Programme - Feeding 10 billion - Global Food Security - URL: http://www.wfp.org/stories/feeding-ten-billion-global-food-security-21st-century (accessed 2020/02/03)