Archive for June, 2013
The phrase “world hunger” is widely recognized throughout the United States. Yet, what does the phrase really imply? More importantly, what can we, as members of a developed, net food exporting nation do to help? Monday, May 21, 2013 marked the second annual World Affairs Council of Atlanta’s Global Health & Hunger Summit. The summit focused on issues related to world hunger by presenting the thoughts and opinions of some of the best and brightest individuals in the realm of public health, public policy, and industry leaders whose line of work revolves around providing food to our planet.
United States, Georgia state Senator Johnny Isakson, led the opening discussion. Mr. Isakson explained that providing food to developing countries is much more than demonstrating The United States’ generosity and dedication towards helping people in need. Providing food security is not only an act of aid, but a matter of national security. Senator Isakson highlighted that terrorist organizations target the, “Hungry, Ignorant, and Thirsty” to strengthen their forces. Thus, providing food serves not only to make a healthier world, but also a safer one. That’s a fact that is often forgotten when world hunger is discussed; however, intuitively, it makes a great deal of sense.
The Atlanta Summit on Global Health & Hunger also emphasized the importance of child nutrition. The speakers endorsed the introduction of micro-nutrients into children’s diets to prevent stunting, the implementation of plans and educational tools for pregnant women in developing nations, and using cash and vouchers to feed hungry families across the world. This differs from the previously used method of shipping supplies directly to the people in need. Possible solutions were offered that might help to reduce the problem of child malnutrition: investing in female education, providing supplements to children in developing nations, and most importantly engaging the national government of the country in need.
As a member of the audience, it became clear that something was missing. Certainly, research facilities, non-profit organizations, and publicly funded medical institutes are absolutely crucial in assuaging world hunger; yet, part of the entire picture remained unpainted. A developing nation needs economic catalysts to foster sustainable food security systems within their own communities as well as for the global economy. This can be to provide them with the equipment, means of communication, income, and infrastructure necessary for growth to occur. There was only one actor in my mind that is capable of conducting this feat: corporations. The Collaborations Across Sectors- Successes and Challenges panel discussed the connections between corporations, research foundations, public agencies, and non-profit organizations to the overall picture of solving world hunger.
Corporations such as AGCO, UPS, and the Coca-Cola Company invest in emerging markets to support, and often times facilitate the country’s growth. Eric Raby, AGCO’s VP of Global Marketing and Commercial Development shared the panel with the Coca-Cola Company’s Denise McKnight (Global Sustainable Agriculture Director), Eduardo Martinez (President, UPS Foundation), and Jeff Johnson ( President, Birdsong Peanuts Company) to discuss the successes and challenges associated with collaborating efforts across sectors in developing nations. Conducting operations in foreign lands—especially in developing nations—is never an easy task. One of the issues revolves around coordinating efforts with the local population. For an operation to work, every affected party needs to be involved. It is for this reason that AGCO purchased a farm in Lusaka, Zambia. The farm will serve as one of AGCO’s Global Learning Centers and Future Farms. It will educate, acclimate, and spread best-practice knowledge to the members of the local community. Mr. Raby concluded with, “Success will be longer when you involve the people already inhabiting a place.”
World Hunger is a serious issue. Almost a billion children and adults in the world are victims of hunger and malnutrition. The Atlanta Summit on Global Health & Hunger highlighted that it will take coordinating the efforts of everyone—the non-profit groups, members of academia, public policy legislators, members of local communities, and corporations—to truly make a difference. AGCO has demonstrated its commitment to helping ease the problem of world hunger, and plans to continue in the future.
Today marks the 41st anniversary of the United Nations Environmental Programme’s World Environment Day. Each year this day is dedicated to stimulating the public’s interest and awareness on a relevant environmental issue in the world. This year’s chosen theme is “Think, Eat, Save”. The campaign is dedicated to reminding us that we can make a difference through simple, day-to-day choices, and improving upon the efficiency of current food manufacturing and distribution processes.
There are many things people don’t consider when purchasing goods from the grocery store. For instance, people often do not recognize that each year 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted. This is equivalent to the same amount produced in the entire sub-Saharan region of Africa. Farmers and people involved in agriculture may understand the processes involved in how food ends up in the grocery store, but many fail to recognize that this involves much more than a farmer sending his goods directly to the local grocery store. In reality, food production entails much more than this.
Agricultural products must be grown, harvested, shipped to storage facilities, processed in manufacturing plants, and then transported across countries, states, and communities to distribution centers. In each phase of the value chain food is wasted, but how it is wasted differs. In developing nations inadequate harvesting technologies, poor post-harvest management, lack of suitable infrastructure, and other inefficient methods can lead to food waste. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that in developing countries 40% of losses occur at post-harvest and processing levels.
AGCO is committed to supporting farmers and agribusiness to reduce these losses and help ensure the efforts of our farmers are not wasted. AGCO offers technologies that work to reduce the amount of waste created in the harvesting process. AGCO offers combine harvesters with new levels of cutting edge threshing, separating, and easy grain sampling and tank coverings which all contribute to optimum harvesting results in even the most challenging conditions. For post-harvest needs GSI grain storage systems have been designed to minimize the amount of crop spoilage between when the crops are harvested to when they are needed in the next phase of the supply chain. Our solutions greatly help the reduce waste generated in the agricultural process.
According to a recent report produced by FAO in joint collaboration with the World Bank “Missing Food: The Case of Post- Harvest Grain Losses in Sub Saharan Africa”, investing in post-harvest technologies may reduce food losses and increase the food supply in sub-Saharan Africa where food losses are estimated to be USD 4 billion per year. This would allow 48 million people to have the food necessary for living.
The United Nations Environmental Programme’s World Environment Day: Think, Eat, Save wishes to inform the global population of the potential impact each person can have on food conservation. Next time you enter the grocery store, think about where the food you are purchasing comes from, how it got there, and all the effort that made it possible.
For more information, visit UNEP’s World Environment Day home page to learn more about World Environment Day, and how people around the world are making a difference!