Tackling Food Insecurity through Technological Innovation
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the adoption of the 17 Sustainable Developments Goals has set in motion the race for the achievement of a fairer, more peaceful world in which no one is left behind (United Nations, 2016). The second of these goals: ‘Zero Hunger’ advocates that agricultural production will have to increase by an estimated 50% by 2050 to meet the needs of a growing world population (FAO, 2015). Consequently, with the World Bank (2018) estimating that global population has grown by one billion about every 12 years since 1975, food security and the need to establish a sustainable system that ensures improved agricultural production, profitability and nutrition especially for rural farming families is an urgent reality.
To achieve food security, an integrated approach is required that addresses the productivity and incomes of small-scale farmers, the resilience of food systems, proper nutrition, and the sustainable use of biodiversity and other genetic resources (UN,2016). The empowerment of smallholder farmers through science and technology in this integrated approach is widely accepted by many to hold the key to strengthening food security on a global scale.
Figure 1: Critical triangle to be served by science & technology (Source, FAO 2015)
Babban Gona’s footprint in tackling food insecurity through innovative solutions driven by scientific research can be summarily described under four (4) approaches:
- Providing top quality inputs to our farmer members is one of our top-priorities. In line with one of our values as an organisation to continuously innovate, we collaborate with internationally recognised agricultural research organisations to deliver improved agricultural inputs to our members, ensuring that they have access to new and improved technologies which are guaranteed to significantly improve their yields.
- Our innovative storage solutions have addressed the problem of food loss and wastage as a result of poor storage after harvest. This innovative intervention has enabled us to attain a post-harvest loss rate of less than 0.1% and helped our small-scale rural member farmers to reduce wastage and damage to their grains due to moisture, pest and fungi-further improving the energy content and reducing the levels of aflatoxin in them.
- Providing industry-standard agronomy training and all-season-long support to our member farmers. These trainings, typically the outcome of scientific research have had significant impact on our member farmers’ yields, replacing their outdated methods and ensuring that their yields are around double that of the average Nigerian farmer. One of our members, Talatu Ishaya, had this to say: “The most important thing I have learnt is Babban Gona Maize agronomy which is better compared to our traditonal farming methods.” For Talatu, access to the training was the key that unlocked the potential to produce maximally on her 1ha farm.
- Our in-house ‘Enterprise Development Team’ has developed a suite of mobile-based applications which make our operational activities more efficient as we scale. We are leveraging on technology to expand our reach and deliver seamless end-to-end services to the doorsteps of rural farming families.
This week, find below our selection on stories and research about scientific and technological solutions to tackling food insecurity:
Leah Samberg (2018) “How new technology could help to strengthen global food security” https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/03/food-security-s-social-network
UNCTAD (2017) The role of science, technology and innovation in ensuring food security by 2030 https://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/dtlstict2017d5_en.pdf
FAO (2015) “Science and Technology to Meet The Challenges: Food-Security, Poverty-Alleviation, And Sustainability” FAO http://www.fao.org/3/ac483e/ac483e08.htm