FAO 2019 report on food security

With growing population, increase in stress to live in rural areas, population in urban areas has grown steadily. Although technology has grown exponentially during the last decade, this has not impacted on food production, food security, poverty eradication. The technology remained in the urban areas with elite section enjoying the fruits leaving the poor in the rural areas to become poorer. This imbalance has caused major shift the way food is grown, distributed and consumed worldwide. Food security and poverty eradication are still catch phrases for the economically affluent countries. No one, concerned governments or the world financial institution,  is tackling these issues at grassroots level. 2 billion people in the world experience moderate or severe food insecurity. The lack of regular access to nutritious and sufficient food that these people experience puts them at greater risk of malnutrition and poor health.  It is unbelievable when this report says “moderate or severe food insecurity also affects 8 percent of the population in Northern America and Europe. If this is so, how about countries like Djibouti, Eritrea and Ethiopia!! No one think about these countries even though these countries have enormous energy sources in the form of geothermal energy!! ( read 1) Chandrasekharam., et al. 2019.  Geothermal energy for desalination to secure food security: case study in Djibouti. Energy, Sustainab. Society, 9, 24-30. doi.org/10.1186/s13705-019-0206-3  and  2) Chandrasekharam, et al., 2018 Energy and Food security through desalination using geothermal energy: Eritrea. Arabian Journal of Geosciences 11:523 doi. 10.1007/s12517-018-3892-9.)

“”     Climate change and increasing climate variability and extremes are affecting agricultural productivity, food production and natural resources, with impacts on food systems and rural livelihoods, including a decline in the number of farmers. All of this has led to major shifts in the way in which food is produced, distributed and consumed worldwide – and to new food security, nutrition and health challenges“”  says a report recently published (2019) by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019.Safeguarding against economic slowdowns and downturns.  )..

Setting targets to tackle such issues have no meaning when sincere attempts are not made to reach sustainable development goals (SDG).

“Our actions to tackle these troubling trends will have to be bolder, not only in scale but also in terms of multi-sectoral collaboration, involving the agriculture, food, health, water and sanitation, education, and other relevant sectors; and in different policy domains, including social protection, development planning and economic policy “ says the report. It absolutely true to the word. But are these financial institutions doing this when addressing these issues in economically downtrodden countries like Djibouti and Eritrea! One cannot blame the world economy in solving trivial issues like developing a natural resource that can provide succour to the millions in these countries.

“This will require accelerated and aligned actions from all stakeholders and countries, including tireless and more integrated support from the United Nations and the international community to countries in support of their development priorities, through multilateral agreements and means of implementation, so that countries can embark on a pro-poor and inclusive path to transformation in a people-centred way to free the world from poverty, inequalities, hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms” says the report. This is the absolute truth!!

According to FAO water, energy and food security nexus are necessary for the benefit of human well-being, poverty reduction and sustainable development. No one denies it.  

“Water management for agriculture is a multidisciplinary study that cuts across science, technology and administration. This cross-discipline knowledge provides methods and technologies suitable to provide food security to countries like Djibouti that are living under the cloud of poverty for decades. Such countries are at the mercy of natural precipitation to support agriculture or heavily depend on virtual water trade for sustenance. With the increasing in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and consequent climate change, such countries are worst affected due to vagaries of monsoon. In spite of such hardships, Djibouti can mitigate adversities of monsoon and droughts using geothermal energy resources that is available in plenty. Rural population can improve their lifestyle, live above the poverty line and improve their socio-economic status. The local governments also should play an important role in advising the funding institutions to develop geothermal power projects to support agricultural activity and create employment to the rural population.” Says a report recently published (Geothermal energy for desalination to secure food security: case study in Djibouti. Energy, Sustainability and Society, 9, 24-30. doi.org/10.1186/s13705-019-0206-3). Energy from geothermal sources is sustainable, and the desalination and power plants will operate for a long time (assuming a minimum life of 20–30 years for geothermal power plants). The primary target for financial institutions should be to develop these geothermal sites, and energy from these sites will put the country back on its development track”.