Nigeria is the 7th most populous country in the world. With over 200 million people to feed, the nation is facing heavy food scarcity as a result of climate change, ethno-religious conflicts, storage difficulties, and pests and diseases. One of the ways to fight against this is to ensure food security.
According to FAO, food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food, which meets their dietary needs and preferences for an active and healthy life.
Some of the factors that threaten food security are agricultural diseases, climate change, food waste, and many others.
According to UNICEF, 1 out of every 9 people are malnourished. This means that about 805 million people still don’t have enough to eat.
We may not be able to solve some of these issues. Nevertheless, we can still work together towards achieving food security by playing our own little part. Some of the ways we can do that are:
1. Buy that Imperfect Fruit:
When it comes to fruits and vegetables, some people make selection decisions based on its physical appearance. Some people cast away a perfectly nutritious food item just because of its physical appearance. This contributes to the issue of food wastage.
Currently, about 1/3 of the food produced for consumption yearly, either gets lost and wasted. When that “ugly” fruit or vegetable is wasted, all the resources such as water, manure, and labor, which was used to make it, are equally wasted.
In America, about 6 billion pounds of produce go unsold annually largely due to aesthetic reasons. Some startups are working towards putting an end to this. For instance, ImperfectProduce, sells and delivers food produce that are not considered aesthetically pleasing. The startup was founded in 2015 with the goal of eliminating food waste in America.
Similarly, FullHarvest serves a marketplace for imperfect and surplus produce. The company aims to change the food system for better and help farms sell oddly-shaped produce that would have otherwise been wasted.
We can also work towards encouraging people to buy imperfect food produce. We can make videos and showcase how to make smoothies, recipes, salads, jams, juices, and other food produce from imperfect agricultural products.
2. Share Knowledge with Farmers:
The world is evolving technologically and the agricultural sector is catching up. Some of the farmers in the sector are not well versed in technological advances, better marketing strategies, and more improved ways of food production.
We need to train farmers to make the best use of the technology around them. This will help bridge the gap between technological advancement and the farmer’s capacity to apply this technology.
This knowledge will help farmers work towards achieving food security. For instance, training farmers on more effective ways to manage pests and diseases will lead to less food loss, thus increasing income potential and enhancing food security.
3. Empower Female Farmers:
Women contribute a lot to agricultural production. In Africa, women grow 70% of the food consumed. According to a study by FAO, if you had a fruit or vegetable today, there’s a 43% chance it was produced by a woman.
However, some problems such as access to education, inequality in labor conditions, less opportunities to develop skills, and less access to technological tools stand in the way of developing their full potentials.
One of the ways we can work towards achieving food security is by addressing the issues women farmers face. You can do your part by creating awareness on these issues to the right authorities.
At Farmcrowdy, our mission is to enable everyone participate in the achievement of global food security. In 2017, we engaged over 50 female farmers in Akwa Ibom State to cultivate cassava farms. While there, we worked with Meadow Foods, an organization aimed at providing food security in Akwa-Ibom state.
Know any other ways we can work towards achieving food security? Let us know in the comments section below