“The picture depicts the hope, energy and vibrancy that IFAD wants to see in all rural communities across the globe,” said IFAD president, Kanayo F Nwanze, who highlighted how the report provides evidence of how agricultural development has lifted millions of people out of extreme poverty over the past decade, and demonstrates how rural development can provide for greater food and economic security in the future.
Not only does the report provide four steps for eliminating poverty and hunger globally, it also provides insights into the means by which food production can be increased in the future.
Along with many of the other speakers at the international Food Security event this week, Dr Nwanze detailed how the influences of food price volatility, environmental stress and climate change threatened food security and poverty reduction. As was reiterated time and again during the two-day event, the world’s population is set to reach nine billion by 2050, and global agricultural production will therefore need to rise by 70% in that time in order to meet our demand for food.
However, there are solutions (some more embryonic than others), but there are signals globally that initiatives are taking place that will seriously tackle this industry challenge.
For one, Dr Nwanze pointed out: “There is strong potential to get higher yields from existing land in Sub-Saharan Africa, where only 6% of the land is irrigated, only 10kg per hectare of fertiliser is used on farm land, and farmers’ average yields are only 20% of the potential.
“But, whether in Africa, Latin America or Asia, we will need to increase yields in an environmentally sustainable way that doesn’t pollute, diminish the land over time or contribute to greenhouse gas emission. In other words, we must have sustainable intensification. This means complementing conventional approaches to increasing productivity with a much stronger focus on soil and water management and overall farm production systems. There is no blueprint for sustainable intensification. The best practices will be determined by the local context.”
Many of the top food and beverage manufacturers are already in discussion with IFAD and other agencies, not only as part of their corporate social responsibility programmes, but because they’re ‘serious and committed to sourcing from small-scale farmers in a sustainable way’.
Leading beverage manufacturers are looking at how sustainable links can be forged with small holders to develop fruit juice supplies and innovation, while Unilever has already picked up awards for its Allanblackia project, which involves working with rural producers and local biodiversity in Africa in the development of a new vegetable oil.
Grown naturally in the wet tropical forest of Africa, allanblackia seeds are rich in oil, which is unique in its composition and melting behaviour. Spreads containing allanblackia oil (such as Unilever’s Flora and Becel brands – now sold in Europe formulated with allanblackia) remain stable at room temperature and melt quickly on eating. Unilever buys the oil at a guaranteed price, helping to create jobs for farmers and support local businesses.
You can read further news from the conference, with information on some of the solutions offered for the world’s ‘food security crisis’, during the next few days.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019