torsdag 11 april 2013

Lunch seminar: Toward zero hunger

Lunch Seminar: Toward zero hunger and sustainable food production? Global food security and nutrition in the post-2015 agenda

On Monday members of our group took part in a lunch seminar in Stockholm about global food security co-organized by the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, FAO Nordic and UNDP.  

So what is food security?
According to Gordon Conway over 200 definitions exist.  Here is one common definition by UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO): “Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”.

The three speakers at the seminar were:
Richard China (Director of the FAO Liaison Office with the European Union and Belgium)

Maria Elena Rebagay (Senior Policy Advocacy Officer with the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), a regional federation of farmer’s organizations composed of around 11 million small-scale farmers across Asia).

Lennart Båge  (the President of the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development between 2001 and 2009, now a member of the boards of, i.a., Sida, KSLA and SLU.)
We all thought it was an interesting seminar and a great opportunity to see and hear some people who have worked on food issues for longer than we have. 

Some interesting facts that were raised by the speakers:

  • There is already enough food for everyone; the problem is one of distribution and access. In some parts of the world there is also enough food in quantity but not in quality (the food is not nutritious enough) in other parts of the world we have too much food and obesity problems. Hunger has therefore more to do with economic and social systems than with agriculture
  • FAO has predicted that 60% more food is needed by 2050, not so much because of growing population but because of the growing middle class that will most likely want to eat meat and vegetables more often
  • Challenges for small scale farmers (especially in Asia) include; extreme climate variability, lack of access to resources and technology, lack of young people who wants to be farmers, lack of time to participate and understanding from farmers in political arena
  • 12% of food that is produced today crosses borders (only 6% some years ago). In Sweden, the percentage of imported foods recently crossed the threshold of 50%

Why is this important?
Not only because of moral reasons but because of political stability: “A hungry man is an angry man”.'

What is needed for this to be achieved?

Different things were mentioned, among them: 

  • Political commitment
  • Small scale farmers are important, today they are already producing 70% of the world’s food in a more sustainable way than big scale agriculture, they need access to land
  • Women’s role is also critical, in many developing countries women are the once who take care of the household, the gardening, feeding the animals as well as preserving food, saving food for possible crises and saving seeds. Unfortunately, women are often left without rights to own their own land, getting credits to buy land etc.
  • Public and private investment in sustainable agriculture
  • Meaningful participation for small farmers in political area
  • A lively discussion on sustainable development: what does a rapidly changing world mean for food and sustainability?
  • And of course: Reduced waste & loss!!!

Interesting initiatives:

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