The issue of food security cannot be handled as a single entity. Borrowing a leaf from Africa, Nigeria is a case study: greater population of the masses suffer abject hunger occasioned by unemployment, bad government, natural disasters, crisis, terrorism etc just to be precise, and all this adversely affect the actualization of the MDGs. In Africa, where people are more prone to famine and starvation, people result in eating just anything to cushion the debilitating effect of hunger, lots of malnourished people litter many streets in several African countries.
In my many years social work in tropical Africa on malaria, I discovered that more people are more susceptible to malaria attack due to poor feeding situations and people rarely develop to full stature due to poor feeding. It is quite appalling that even in the presence of vast arable land in tropical Africa, Agricultural practices still suffer due to lack of support from Various African government and other Development partners. I so much believe that if grand mechanized farming is introduced in Africa, the issue of global food security will be achieved.
I am working on a thesis on the legal protection of the right to adequate food in Spain. I found this issue very interesting because almost nothing has been written about hunger in developed countries. Unfortunately, some European countries have seen their poverty rates dramatically increased due to the current economic crisis. Spain, with the highest unemployment rate in the whole European Union, is a good example.
I am concious that, in comparison with the situation of other countries, the European nations have more resources, but the figures are there and the situation won't get better in the short term.
In conclusion, I propose to draw attention to the situation of some developed countries in order to make the corresponding goverments to consider the social impact of the economic measures they are currently adopting (cutting social benefits, pensions, etc.)
Thank you very much,
I think the issue of food security in Africa has been driven from the point of focus because now a days African farmers are no longer producting foods to sustain their nations, but now food is being produces just for weekly meals making it difficult to sustain generations however, this can only be achieved if we can start to teach people how to farm for future and donors aids should also be able to support these proceses to encourage continuaty.
Hunger, Food and Nutrition Security - The Role of Fish and Fisheries
The discussions, debates and policy making process with regard to food security around the world are largely centred on cereals, pulses and meats. Food policy is largely terrestrial oriented. This is primarily due to the fact that they account for the larger source of calories needed for daily human consumption. Little is said about fish – even in countries where fish is central to people’s diets, irrespective of their income levels and social status. This is unfortunate to say the least. The pivotal role which fish can play in direct food security is not adequately recognised. Just as fish is not directly visible to fishers as it lives and grows, it also seems to be only on the periphery of policy makers’ concerns. Often it is even a ‘policy blind spot’!
In the context of hunger -- and obesity -- the role of fish as a wholesome and inexpensive food source for achieving food security merits serious consideration.
Humans cannot live by fish alone. But today there is growing evidence that small quantities of fish in human diets can make the crucial differences in early brain development; help development of bone and muscle tissue; ensure that blindness is prevented; prevent heart attacks and cancer and also mitigate the effects of HIV/AIDS. Fish certainly contributes to nutritional security.
Where there are aquatic resources, there fish can be found naturally. Fish can also be easily cultured in different aquatic milieu. In rivers, lakes, ponds, reservoirs, floodplains, coastal waters and the open sea – fish and other edible aquatic organisms and plants are in plentiful supply.
Most developing countries are blessed with a large share of such aquatic resources making the potential for development of fisheries a natural choice. With small, dedicated and ‘quality-investments’ of time and money, the returns in the form of fish can be substantial. Thus, contrary to popular notions, the potential for harvesting and growing fish and making a direct contribution to increasing food supply, decreasing hunger and contributing to food security is considerable.
In this context, it is important to highlight that fish is not a homogenous product. Species diversity, and consequently physical form, is vast and manifold. However, the common feature of all fish species pertain to their relatively similar nutritional quality – i.e. the percentage of protein, fats, minerals, vitamins which one can obtain from a unit quantity of fish.
Therefore, if the concern is with fulfilling nutritional needs of the hungry, then an undue pre-occupation with ‘white flesh’ fish or species such as shrimp needs to be replaced with active publicity for more ‘small, skinny, oily’ species. These fish can be eaten whole or mixed with the staples such as rice, wheat, maize, sorghum, cassava and banana.
There are also indirect ways of achieving food security by the creation of employment and income earning possibilities in fishery related activities. When people have creative work opportunities and adequate income, they are in a position to make informed choices about their food.
In many developing countries the possibilities for raising the employment-intensity in fisheries is high. In several countries there are many small and medium sized water bodies into which fish can be introduced – if it has not already been done. If people in the rural areas are provided the training, appropriate fishing equipment, or credit to buy them, they can undertake fishing and earn a livelihood.
Global estimates suggest that for every job in the harvesting of fish, there are three or four created in the upstream activities of processing and marketing. For example, in many sub-Saharan countries, where hunger and food insecurity abound, just a minimal improvement in the road infrastructure and provision of labour intensive or animal drawn transportation vehicles (cycles, carts etc.) will vastly improve the scope for operating a distribution network for fish into the neighbouring hinterlands. The same can also be said about processing methods like drying and smoking which are favoured by poorer African consumers. Such choices provide jobs for hundreds and fish at affordable prices for thousands.
Though the potentials are vast, the concrete reality of fish in many developing countries today leaves much to be desired. In many countries, the crisis of the economy and the need for quick foreign exchange has resulted in fish exports becoming an easy way to earn foreign exchange. The domestic supply shortages have resulted in a market situation which ‘priced-out the poor’. Some of the highest rates of malnutrition, particularly among children and mothers, have been reported from countries which export fish. Examples abound from Latin America, Africa and South Asia. Policies to ensure that the compulsions of international trade do not create domestic hunger must be enacted.
So, wherever and whenever there is a discussion on hunger, food and food security we need to check out to see that the rightful role of fish is included.
Member, International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF)
What works best? Drawing on existing knowledge, please tell us how we should go about addressing the hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition challenges head on.
Combined issues are population, poverty and local knowledge/technology. I do not want to give examples or lesson learned, because these are an enigmatic issues that compound socio-cultura-political isses. In order the poor to be able to eat (have jobs) people should be empowered in socio-economi-political aspects.
Population - how to control population growth, how to provide knowledge and skills to the low income? Unless there is a goodwill and political justice there will be no improvement. understanding local knowledge and issues are paramountly more important than simply asking. It must relate to the people's culture. What education should relevant to certain type of community? This is not at all a charity endeavor. How we boost moral and confidence to the poor to rely on themselves based on their norms and values, while the political authorities support the need of the common? Are the people constituted by a duality of society (modern/capitalist versus traditional/bazaar)? If they are, does the respective 'society' enjoy equal share in terms resources including life cycle space (urban or rural)?
Poverty - where is the locus of the poverty cycle or trap? Urban and/or rural? What are the opportunities for poor to get access for education and jobs? What is the government strategy to alleviate or reduce it? What the government has done that really affect the poor? In a very micro aspect the poor demand equal shares for space to participate in economic and political engagement. The poor should have equal access to urban services (including transport) and 'business activities'.
Local Knowledge and Technology - we have explore people's knowledge as well as technology they have (emic approach). How we enhance, improve what the people already have? Do not dictate them with an alien knowledge and technology. Cases have shown this impositon will not sustain since they lack of knowledge as well skills to maintain.
In short, knowing yourself to overcome problems and get the most suitable solutions.
Cultural difference is itself a global challenge in an integrated society. This challenge is overcome with the unique global agenda on humanitarian issues such as food security and hunger. So far, great work is done already in the flight against hunger and food security but more is still needed to be done especially in area suffering from these crises like in most parts of Africa and Asia.
Looking at policies both at international and national levels, are so far good but implementation, monitoring and evaluation sectors especially in regional level in areas mostly affected by hunger still a big challenge.
Secondly, international agricultural researchers need to pass on leadership skills to locals by training and working side by side with local groups especially in rural areas. Most areas still find themselves in situation when political leader coordinate agricultural sector. There is a great need for a well skilled and devoted leadership; these challenges still stand as blocks to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to relevant hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. Working together, we can make the world a better place.
By enforcing the rule of law, demanding accountability from governments and enabling the environment for markets to function.
In response to Theme 1, a key challenge is to engage entrepreneurs/experts/organisations from various sectors for addressing the malnutrition problem. The key opportunity here is creating a platform to crowd source innovations to address malnutrition and to provide support for scaling them up. This way we can cross-pollinate ideas across regions as well.
In flood affected areas of Pakistan the food security situation is very alarming due to non support from donor agencies.
I wish to share this information with you concerning food security and hope it may be of interest and assistance.
Food Security is utterly dependent upon fresh water security. For an adequate supply of fresh water it is vital to understand, protect and regenerate the global fresh water cycle and the natural ecological factors, which maintain it.
There seems to be a severe lack of attention being focused on this matter and feel it to be critically important that it be raised as a vital issue to be dealt with within the global agenda. It is immensely important to recognize the key roles that ecosystems, especially mountains, mountain forests and wetlands play in maintaining fresh water quantity and quality globally. It is important that supportive efforts that protect, sustainably manage and restore these ecosystems are given major focus.
"We recognize the key role that ecosystems play in maintaining water quantity and quality and support actions within the respective national boundaries to protect and sustainably manage these ecosystems." (UNCSD Rio+20 2012 ‘The Future We Want’ Paragraph 122)
Food security is vital for the continuum of humanity and could conceivably be realized if concerted action to protect and secure the worlds fresh water is taken.
This thematic discussion was led by FAO and WFP in collaboration with “The World We Want”.
The consultation was facilitated by the Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)
All contributions received (DOC)