October 3, 2014

Integrated Strategies to Improve Food Production

Next Generation Delegation 2014 Commentary Series

By Jennie Lane, DVM, Master of Public Health from University of California, Berkeley and 2014 Next Generation Delegate  

I felt fortunate to attend The Chicago Council’s Global Food Security Symposium 2014 as a Next Generation Delegate and meet my fellow delegates, as well as sponsors and attendees. The Symposium was an excellent forum to understand the different aspects of food security and to learn about the diverse breadth of solutions to some of the toughest global challenges of our time.

It was especially exciting to listen to the remarks by US National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah regarding USAID’s 2014-2015 Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy. In my opinion, agriculture for nutrition and health, or A4NH, is one of the most important aspects of food security. Integrating the disciplines of public health, agriculture, water, sanitation and food assistance into a cohesive strategy is an obvious step in the mission to eliminate extreme poverty around the world. I firmly believe in the potential of agricultural interventions through education and environmentally appropriate techniques to contribute to food security, decrease the prevalence of malnutrition, empower populations, withstand climate change and promote sustainable development. But we need more rigorous evaluation of the diverse and context-specific agricultural interventions designed to improve health and nutrition, learn what solutions work, what don’t and why, and how to scale those that succeed.

Livestock and animal agriculture is another important aspect of agricultural production. While food systems involving animals are recognized as essential to global food security, the impact of smallholder animal agriculture as well as draught animals - cattle, oxen, horses, donkeys, and mules - at all levels of the food system is poorly understood. These animals are essential to rural and traditional forms of agriculture. Learning more about their effects on farming systems has implications for national and international policy, the provision of veterinary services and education, and sustainable agriculture worldwide. Improving animal agriculture, in part through improved veterinary care, will remain essential to feeding a growing population. In tandem, we need an even better understanding of the effects that livestock systems have on household socioeconomics, human health, the local environment and the potential to mitigate climate change.

To sustain the planet’s growing population, we need to integrate strategies to improve food production while adapting to and mitigating climate change through attention to soil improvement, increased use of perennial and forestry crops, improved grazing techniques, and advanced water retention methods. To this point, Dr. Cynthia E. Rosenzweig made excellent recommendations to the panel discussion of the climate-food nexus: she suggests we need increased collaboration and rigorous, cross-disciplinary research employing public health, agricultural, climate, agroeconomic, and social science techniques to fully understand the complexity of these systems.

 At the Symposium, numerous experts called for increased collaboration across sectors; similarly, two of the four recommendations in the Chicago Council’s report, Advancing Global Food Security in the Face of a Changing Climate, called for increased partnerships. These recommendations must be converted into action. With increased knowledge paired with human-centered design and community involvement at all levels, we can continue to develop solutions that result in food security and support sustainable societies.

About

The Global Food and Agriculture Program aims to inform the development of US policy on global agricultural development and food security by raising awareness and providing resources, information, and policy analysis to the US Administration, Congress, and interested experts and organizations.

The Global Food and Agriculture Program is housed within the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. The Council on Global Affairs convenes leading global voices and conducts independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

Support for the Global Food and Agriculture Program is generously provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Blogroll

1,000 Days Blog, 1,000 Days

Africa Can End Poverty, World Bank

Agrilinks Blog

Bread Blog, Bread for the World

Can We Feed the World Blog, Agriculture for Impact

Concern Blogs, Concern Worldwide

Institute Insights, Bread for the World Institute

End Poverty in South Asia, World Bank

Global Development Blog, Center for Global Development

The Global Food Banking Network

Harvest 2050, Global Harvest Initiative

The Hunger and Undernutrition Blog, Humanitas Global Development

International Food Policy Research Institute News, IFPRI

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center Blog, CIMMYT

ONE Blog, ONE Campaign

One Acre Fund Blog, One Acre Fund

Overseas Development Institute Blog, Overseas Development Institute

Oxfam America Blog, Oxfam America

Preventing Postharvest Loss, ADM Institute

Sense & Sustainability Blog, Sense & Sustainability

WFP USA Blog, World Food Program USA

Archive


| By Sarah Bingaman Schwartz, Maria Jones

Guest Commentary - Reducing Food Loss and Waste by Improving Smallholder Storage

Reducing postharvest losses by half would result in enough food to feed a billion people, increase smallholder income levels and minimize pressure on natural resources. The ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss works with smallholders in Bihar to improve storage and reduce loss. 








| By Mark Titterington

Guest Commentary - A European perspective on the journey to a regenerative agriculture system…

Regenerative farming practices can lead to improved soil health and farm productivity and profitability, boosting crop quality and yields, improving the resilience of farms to extreme weather events and reducing the propensity for soil degradation and run-off, but most excitingly, creates the opportunity to actually draw down and store carbon from the atmosphere in agriculture soils.


| By Peter Carberry

Field Notes - Brokering Research Crucial for Climate-Proofing Drylands

9 out of 12 interventions identified for agriculture by the Global Commission on Adaptation involve research and development. For smallholder farmers in drylands, some of the most vulnerable to climate change, the role of innovation brokers may prove just as important as doing the science itself. 




| By Julius A. Nukpezah, Joseph T. Steensma, Nhuong Tran, Kelvin M. Shikuku

Field Notes - Reducing Post-Harvest Losses in Nigeria's Aquaculture Sector Contributes to Sustainable Development

While increasing fish production and productivity in the long term are practical strategies for addressing malnutrition in Nigeria, reducing post-harvest losses of fish is an economic and a rational strategy of increasing value of aquaculture businesses that lead to sustainable economic development.