Technology and the Battle Against World Hunger

by Olalekan Abdulsalami on 14 Mar 2019 • 0 comments
5 min read

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal(#2) seeks sustainable solutions to achieve food security, improved nutrition, promote sustainable agriculture and most importantly end hunger in all its forms by 2030. The aim is to make sure that everyone, everywhere in the world has enough quality food to lead a healthy life and achieving this goal will need better access to food and the widespread promotion of agricultural processes. 

Currently, more than a billion people suffer from hunger globally. One billion people! This is a testament that 1 in every 6 people on Earth do not get enough food to live a healthy life. This year alone,  36 million of these people will die of hunger which equates to at least a death every second.

A Brief Insight

Dating back to the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s, good progress was made in reducing chronic hunger, but for the past decade, hunger has been slowly but steadily on the rise (according to FAO). The number of hungry people increased between 1995-1997 and 2004-2006 in all regions except Latin America and the Caribbean. But even in this region, gains in hunger reduction have been reversed as a result of high food prices and the current global economic downturn.

We hear daily, loud and clear that hunger is one of the world’s biggest health problem. Presently, the number of undernourished people - those facing chronic food deprivations - has increased to nearly 821 million in 2017 amounting to about 10.9% of the world’s population, from around 804 million in 2016.

Those who seek sustainable solutions to achieve food security do so because they know exactly how devastating hunger is and why it’s important to fight against hunger every second of the day. The majority of people who promote sustainable agriculture and battle against hunger are employing the use of technology because it’s the best and fastest way to fight hunger.

But what is the principal cause of hunger?

Briefly, the principal cause of hunger in most part of the world today is Poverty.  According to the most recent estimates in 2015, 10% of the world population lives on less than $1.90 a day per person. Lack of resources, infrastructure, unequal income distribution, among others, are the main causes of poverty.  

An equally significant cause of hunger is extreme climate and natural disaster. Flood, hurricanes, earthquakes and long period drought has doubled since the early 1990s and has inflicted untold consequences on the regions affected by them. This affects agricultural productivity, thereby contributing to shortfalls in food availability with knock-on effects causing food price hikes and income losses which reduces people’s access to food.

The Battle Against World Hunger

Majority of the food we consume comes from rural communities, and it is not a hidden fact that these rural communities lack proper communication means and proper information on food security and preservation. If rural based farmers are equipped with advanced technological devices that can give them meteorological updates, latest in food markets and evolving food preservation processes among others, food loss will no longer be a problem and food supply will be enhanced in adequate proportions to the world’s population.

Technology will also be a good tool in the aspect of food logistics, whereby food will be transported to various destinations irrespective of the food type and the distance to where it is transported. A smooth technological process where food items will be delivered to targeted areas at the expected time will see hunger fade away because, scenarios, where food items get stuck, while been transported, wouldn’t come into play anymore. More so, foods with lower shelf life can get to areas where they are needed without losing their nutritional benefits and/or aesthetic properties.

One-third of the foods produced for consumption in the world is wasted, either because the link between the farmers and agro-processors is impeded or the inability to preserve these foods. A quick look into Crop2Cash technological  PaddyBase innovation which solves the problem of supply base by optimizing the supply chain processes of agro-processors which in turn increases their demand of farmers harvests in northern Nigeria. So the problem of farmers suffering from food wastage can be curtailed. The inability to keep these foods is also a key cause of this wastage

Technological means are to be devised and incorporated into food preservation, especially for foods with short shelf life. For example, in the exportation of perishable foods like tomato, and beverages from temperate regions to tropical regions, the chance that a good number of these items would keep its value under the “transportation condition” is low. Nevertheless, if preservation processes are not possible, we suggest that intense research centered on technology be carried out on all food items to aid in boosting their resistance to harsh environmental conditions. With this, there will be almost “zero hunger” in the world population because food will get where they are needed in a wholesome state.

Wisdom of the Crowds

The solution to providing enough food for the world population does not lie in increasing food production; as a matter of fact, there is enough food on the planet to feed everyone. Increasing food production will be adding to the 1.3 billion tons estimate of food that gets wasted every year (according to FAO, 2018). We believe the game changer is Technology. The use of technology to battle world hunger will not only bring the rate of wasted food to a minimal level but will possibly consume the very existence of hunger itself.

Technology, they say, is the route to which global advancements will see a new dawn. Technology has been able to reduce the ‘amount’ in time, the ‘length’ in space and resources generally. Breakthroughs in many fields and areas of life have been achieved by Technology. Therefore, with proper incorporation of technology into the problem of world hunger, the challenge will definitely nosedive.



References

THE STATE OF FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION IN THE WORLD (2018). Retrieved from: www.fao.org/state-of-food-security-nutrition/en/  [Accessed 14 March 2019]

How technology could strengthen global food security (2015). Retrieved from: www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/03/food-security-s-social-network [Accessed 14 March 2019]

Understanding Poverty. Retrieved from:

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