Millennium Development Goal No. 1 (MDG1), agreed by the international community in 1990, stated that both the proportion of people in extreme poverty and the proportion who suffer from hunger should be halved between 1990 and 2015 (MDG targets 1.A and 1.C, respectively). The global agenda for sustainable development features instead a stand-alone goal that goes beyond chronic hunger and brings in the very important concept of nutrition. Moreover, the second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG2) combines food security and nutrition with sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture, and calls for a special focus on small-scale food producers (notably women farmers), recognising their major role in food systems globally. This is a novel approach compared to the MDG agenda.
Global hunger statistics, portraying a world that is progressing remarkably, serve to justify the dominant economic ideology (productivism, neoliberalism and privatization of resources). This text provides a careful examination of those data (undernourishment and chronic malnutrition), revealing caveats and biased interpretations. The world is not doing so well under the market-driven industrial food system and the MDG1 on hunger was clearly not achieved. The supply/demand rules will never get rid of hunger, as preached by the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, since the market does not have incentives to provide food to those who do not have money to pay for such essential resource. We need a paradigm shift and social contract whereby food is considered a commons and nutrition a public good. The food commons are about equity, cooperation, resilience and direct democracy from local to global. This text provides normative and practical elements to navigate to transition towards sustainability that is actually happen in many rural customary societies and urban civic collective actions for food. We all have to re-claim our role as food citizens and not just as food customers.
Bettina Prato, Lead Global Engagement Specialist, Strategy and Knowledge Department, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Rome, Italy Millennium Development Goal No. 1 (MDG1), agreed by the international community in 1990, stated that both the proportion of people in extreme poverty and the proportion who suffer from hunger should be halved between 1990 and 2015 (MDG targets 1.A and 1.C, respectively). The emerging global agenda for sustainable development features instead a stand-alone goal that goes beyond chronic hunger and brings in the very important concept of nutrition. Moreover, the second proposed Sustainable Development Goal (SDG2) combines food security and nutrition with sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture, and calls for a special focus on small-scale food producers (notably women farmers), recognising their major role in food systems globally. This is a novel approach compared to the MDG agenda.
Agricultural production is being impacted by changes in climate, ecology and the environment. At the same time, agricultural intensification, population growth, urbanisation and industrialisation also impact upon the ecology and environment. In this context, achieving ecological sustainability is often seen as a desirable goal. But what is ecological sustainability? The meaning appears to be different when viewed through the lenses of various experts e.g. environmentalists, sociologists or economists. Nevertheless it is essential to have a clear understanding of what is meant in a specific situation or context. This goal may be as elusive as the goal of “sustainable development” for which several, sometimes contradicting definitions exist, and for which consensus on how to attain it, still has not been reached.
The rise in chronic non-communicable nutrition related diseases in the Caribbean accompanied by spiraling health care costs has occurred parallel with changing dietary patterns. For example, the total direct and indirect costs of treating obesity related diseases in five countries in 2003 was estimated to be US$1,000 million.Coming from an era of protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) when food choices favoured energy density (high fat, sugar and protein), coupled with many external influences, Caribbean people have become conditioned to a diet not considered to be healthy. We are now faced with the double burden of under-nutrition (pockets of PEM and iron deficiency anaemia persist) and over-nutrition (cancers, diabetes, hypertension) which threatens to erode all efforts at achieving food and nutrition security. To achieve food and nutrition security requires more insight into the causes of the problem through further research, and more collaborative multi-sectoral efforts. Only by working together will the various sectors (agriculture, health and nutrition, trade, education, science and innovation) achieve the collective objective of improved agricultural and nutrition outcomes.
A SciDev editorial by Aisling Irwin: 'Science can do more for sustainable development'. Highly recommended read. http://www.scidev.net/en/science-and-innovation-policy/science-at-rio-20/editorials/science-can-do-more-for-sustainable-development.html
(Keynote paper, finals of the ‘Women in Science’ competition)Horticultural biodiversity which was once an integral part of African diets should have been part of the celebrations of the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity. However, with the introduction of exotic temperate crops, indigenous green vegetables lost popularity in Africa and are regarded mostly as ‘weeds’ or ‘poor man’s food’. With over 50% of the African population living below the poverty line, resulting in malnutrition and poor health, there is need for a paradigm shift in food production patterns to harness the nutrition and economic potential of indigenous vegetables and fruits. Agrobiodiversity has a crucial part to play in revolutionalising the horticultural sector for food security, nutrition, income and sustainable development in Africa. This article outlines strategies and recommendations that could be used to raise the status of agrobiodiversity in the continent.Article taken from the 2011 CTA/FARA publication ‘Agricultural Innovations for Sustainable Development’ Volume 3, Issue 2.
By A. Fermont and T. Benson; International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); 2011. With specific reference to yield estimation for food crops under smallholder farming conditions in Uganda, this paper evaluates the various methods that are available to estimate crop production and cropped area in such farming systems. A description and summary tables from a database of estimated crop yields in Uganda, collated from a large set of field studies over past decades, are also provided.
Improving agricultural productivity is vital for poor rural households in Uganda to meet their food security needs and to promote sustained increases in income. Inorganic fertilizer can be a powerful productivity enhancing input. While Uganda has one of the highest soil nutrient depletion rates in the world, it has one of the lowest rates of annual inorganic fertilizer application – only 1.8 kg per hectare. The World Bank calculated that the value of replacing these depleted soil nutrients could be 20 percent of average rural Ugandan household income. Promoting fertilizer use is therefore crucial to sustainably increase agricultural productivity in Uganda. This brief explores the economics of fertilizer use by smallholder farmers in Uganda, the determinants of fertilizer use, and options for government action.Author: Namaazi, J. IFPRI brief, 2009
ByE. Kyomugisha, IFPRI brief, 2009In Uganda most increases in aggregate crop production have been achieved from the expansion of cultivated land rather than increased investment in production technologies to raise crop yields per unit area of land. As access to land is increasingly constrained by high population growth, further expansion of cultivated land will be unsustainable. Research has shown that secure land tenure is an important institutional factor affecting agricultural technology utilization by smallholder farmers by providing incentives for greater investment to enhance the productivity of the land. This brief seeks to determine the relevance of security of land tenure to agricultural development in Uganda.