What is food security? • “Food security exits when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active healthy lifestyle” - World Food Summit
At the local/ community level…. • Food security essentially refers to people having access to enough food for a healthy and balanced diet. At the global and national levels… • Food supply can be affected by: • climate • disasters • food prices • population growth • war • civil unrest • lack of effective agricultural practices
Globally…. • Over 800million people go hungry • In March the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) has called for rich countries to contribute an extra $500m to help address the global food crisis • The global food crisis: • World Bank – reports that prices of staple foods have risen 80% in the last 3 years in some countries • WFP reports 33 countries face political instability as the urban poor struggle to feed their families • Some countries have already been experiencing food riots
United Nations (UN) • The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has said,“This crisis will result in a cascade of others. It is a multi-dimensional problem affecting economic growth, social progress and even political security around the world”
Causes of food crisis.. • Relate to factors affecting supply and demand of food throughout the world • Food prices have increased because: • Less food is being produced (partly because of competition from biofuels) • There are inadequate food reserves • An increase in energy prices • Severe weather/ effects of climate change • Increase in population growth • Changing patterns of food consumption (relating to urbanisation and changing incomes)
Biofuels • Biofuels are crops grown for energy production • In the context of Climate Change biofuels have been embraced as a potential long term substitute for fossil fuels • Biofuels are being grown on arable fertile land that previously grew food • Farmers in countries like the US are being heavily subsidised to grow biofuels, leading to less food being grown • Production of biofuels has led to a global grain shortages and an increase in global food prices • It has now been realised that growing biofuels threatens an increase in world malnutrition
Biofuels… • Large areas of crops in the US, Eastern Europe, Brazil, Argentina and Canada are diverting soya beans, maize, wheat, palm oil and sugar cane crops to biofuels. • Since 2006, over 20,000 farmers have switched from food to fuel production, to reduce US dependence on foreign oil. • In the US over 8 million hectares of land that once produced food have been taken out of food production • It is estimated that land turned to biofuels in US in last 2 years would have fed 250 million people • This is 60 million tonnes of food that has been diverted to fuel
Biofuels…. • This has put a strain on the worlds grain supply as consumption of world grains has exceeded supply in the last 7 years • As food prices have soared the cultivation of biofuels has been heavily criticised • UN Secretary General has called for a comprehensive review on the policy on biofuels
Rice • Rice is one of the worlds most important staple foods. • Rice is the staple food for > 50% of the worlds population. • 2008 will be the 2nd year that production has not kept pace with population growth and demand • Rice crops in countries such as China and Australia have experienced droughts. • Global rice shortage has seen an increase of the price of rice by > 50% since April this year. • Rice producing countries are banning export because rice stocks are at their lowest in 30yrs. • Many countries have switched from traditional crops to rice diets as urbanisation has increased. These countries are facing serious shortages. • The impact is being felt by the worlds poorest populations who have become increasingly dependent on rice as other grains have become more costly
Sustainable farming • To guard against food crises, countries like those in Africa and the Pacific will have to rely on their own farming potential and traditional food crops. • The UN, World Bank and 60 countries have called for radical changes in world farming to avert: • Increasing regional food shortages • Escalating food prices • Growing environmental problems • Science and technology should be targeted towards raising yields but also protecting soils, water and forests • Need for more sustainable ways for producing food • Many argue that small-scale farmers and ecological methods will provide the way forward
Regional and country differences…. • Developing countries can experience different food security challenges. • Africa: • Countries throughout Africa can experience high levels of drought, civil unrest and war, high levels of poverty and may have vast expanses land that is not arable • Asia: • Countries in Asia can experience high levels poverty and high levels of population growth • The Pacific: • Countries in the Pacific can experience high levels of poverty, and high levels of child malnutrition even though there can be high levels of arable land.
Solomon Islands context: • Over 80 % of population live in rural areas in semi-subsistence • People live on islands and are largely isolated from development • Most people: • have no electricity (even at night) • prepare all their food cooking on a fire in a kitchen hut outside their house • have limited employment opportunities or income generating activities • have limited access to shops • have very limited communication options (most places do not have phones) • experience challenges of distance and isolation - transport by sea is too expensive for normal people to make regular trips between places • But most people/ families have access to arable land.
Interesting situation… • some isolated areas of Solomon Islands experience so much rain during parts of the year that crops get damaged. • sometimes people have access to/ or the ability to produce enough food for a balanced diet, but choose to have an unbalanced diet.The reasons for this might be because: • People lack awareness about what is needed for a balanced diet, because of lack of access to information • People choose to sell their vegetables at the market to earn money as it is their only source of income (and do not keep vegetables to feed their own children) • Some times peoples gardens are too far away for people to go their everyday to collect food. • Some people choose to eat shop bought food such as rice and tinned tuna rather than growing and eating root crops and vegetables
KASTOM GADEN ASSOCIATION - promoting food futures and nutritional health forSolomon Island communities... • Kastom Gaden is a non profit Non-Government Organisation (NGO) in Solomon Islands • Kastom Gaden works with Solomon Island communities to improve their food futures through: • community food security assessment • training in small scale village agriculture • supporting family nutrition • in association with the Solomon Islands Planting Material farmers Network, the provision of training and assistance in setting up and managing community-based seed and planting material production/ distribution networks.
Kastom Gaden programs … • Aim to build the skills of people in rural areas in sustainable farming practices and food processing • Raise awareness about what is in a balanced diet, and the importance of eating a balanced diet (particularly for children) • Encourage people to grow a diverse range of foods in their gardensand to save their own seed from their crops to use again • Encourage people to grow gardens with fruit and vegetables close to their houses so they have access to food for a balanced diet every day • Encourage people to grow their own food (root crops and vegetables) and not eat mainly shop bought food like rice and tinned tuna • Encourage people to not sell all of their best vegetables at the market for income (but to keep some for their household diet)