By Eric Akasa
Unsustainable use of land, water and energy is threatening the food security of the poorest and most vulnerable around the world. According to the Global Hunger Index report (GHI) 2012 released for the seventh year by the International food policy research Institute (IFPRI), Welthungerlife and Concern Worldwide.
According to the report, the challenge of hunger :ensuring sustainable food security under Land ,water and Energy stresses hunger on a global scale remains serious with twenty countries having hunger levels that are ‘alarming’ or “extremely alarming.”
Two of the three countries with extremely alarming levels-Burundi and Eritrea are in Sub=Saharan Africa while the third is Haiti. South Asia is the other region that continues to suffer from the highest level of Hunger.
Hunger is inextricably linked to growing pressure on land, water and energy resources.
Growing scarcity and degradation of farmland, rapidly raising incomes and changing consumption patterns have all contributed to an increasing number of international land investments or deals. Many of these deals have targeted Sub-Saharan Africa where land rent is lower, regulatory systems weaker , and levels of hunger higher.
“Large-scale foreign investments in land should be closely monitored. Local organizations are needed to secure transparency and participation of smallholder farmers whose livelihoods are impacted by land deals.” Says Barbel Dieckmann, Welthungerhilfe President.
Water scarcity is exacerbated by climate change especially in the severely water stressed areas of the world, which are home to more than two billion people. Flooding drought and environmental degradation threaten agriculture in many parts of the world.
Rising global energy prices are a serious threat to food security increasing demand for agricultural land and water for crop production which in turn raises food prices. Higher energy prices also increase agricultural input costs such as the cost of fertilizer and ground water pumping and machinery putting further pressure on prices.
“Agricultural production must increase substantially to meet the demands to meet the demands of a growing and increasingly wealthy population.” Notes concern worldwide Chief executive officer.
Food security is threatened by governments short term focus on economic gains, uncoordinated land, water and energy policies and lack of political will and action to design policies that increase efficiency and reduce waste of natural resources while protecting the poor.
Long term availability of natural resources is crucial to food security and human wellbeing. “If local, national and international natural resource policies focus on sustainable, long-term gains if policies are coordinated and tradeoffs among land, water and energy policies are minimized, we can strengthen the global food system while preventing resource depletion.” Remarks Claudia Ringler IFPRI Deputy division director “Such a shifting to sustainable food security would benefit billions of people today and many more in future decades. She adds.