World Food Day 2016: A Changing Climate and Food Security

October 15, 2016
Photo Credit: Johannes Odé

On October 16, join The Hunger Project in celebrating World Food Day—a day to heighten public awareness about the interconnection of agriculture, food security and world hunger. This year’s theme is “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too.”

Climate change is directly related to food security. The world’s poorest – many of whom are farmers and fishers – are being hit hardest by increasing temperatures and weather-related disasters. We’ve seen this globally, and in the countries where we work in Malawi, Mozambique and Ethiopia. In these countries climate change and severe effects of El Nino have destroyed crops and caused an increase in food insecurity and hunger.

Concurrently, the global population is growing steadily–expecting to reach 9.6 billion by 2050. And, The Food and Agriculture Administration estimates that agricultural production must rise by about 60% by 2050 in order to feed a larger population. In order to meet the demand for everyone everywhere–agriculture and food systems must change and become more resilient, productive and sustainable to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.

To meet such a heavy demand, agriculture and food systems will need to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and become more resilient, productive and sustainable.

It’s also increasingly to strengthen the resilience of smallholder farmers and rural populations. That’s why The Hunger Project’s program prioritize increasing resilience of rural populations to adapt to climate change while also promoting green initiatives, including:

  • Raising awareness of and building the capacity to adapt to climate change. The Hunger Project holds workshops to build our partners’ capacity to exercise leadership, take steps to increase their resilience and formulate strategies to mitigate climate change risks. At the regional and international levels, we also advocate for the conservation of natural resources, the mitigation of the harmful effects of extractive industries, and the recovery and promotion of traditional knowledge and technology that is highly adaptable to changing climate conditions. The Hunger Project-Mexico’s regional coordinator Margarita Ruiz Lopez, and our Peruvian partner Tarcila Rivera Zea, founder of Chirapaq, joined world leaders in discussing climate change in Paris at the COP21 Summit.
  • Increasing the use of renewable energy. The Hunger Project-Senegal’s Coki Epicenter’s Rural Bank, for example, partnered with the National Agency of Eco-Villages (ANEV) and the Japanese International Cooperation on a program that promotes the use of biodigesters that convert waste into renewable energy. Biodigesters help reduce methane emissions and prevent it from being released into the atmosphere. In addition, in Mexico, a rainwater harvesting system—built and managed by our partners—collects water and does not require energy to operate.
  • Promoting sustainable farming practices. At our epicenters in Africa, The Hunger Project’s partners create community farms, where villagers learn composting, intercropping and other methods, like drip irrigation, to improve crop yields, restore soil fertility and make the best use of scarce resources. In Uganda, Kiboga Epicenter has implemented Farmer Field Schools where partners can learn about agriculture in a way that enables them adapt to the harsh realities of climate change.
  • Increasing access to sustainable agriculture technology. The Hunger Project provides training and credit, mobilizing people to adopt sustainable agricultural technology and practices, and encourages communities to demand agricultural extension services from their government.
  • Promoting the use of clean air through “green stoves.” The Hunger Project launched a “clean stoves” or “green stoves” project in four communities in the Mazateca region of Mexico following an earlier pilot project with non-profit partner Water for Humans. Traditional stoves in the villages where we work in Mexico fill houses with smoke that the whole family breathes in, creating poor health conditions from poor air quality. They also consume a lot of wood. These clean stoves are designed to remove smoke from the house, and use less wood. The communities were involved in the process of fundraising, planning and construction.  Water for Humans trained local volunteer “promoters” on how to build and fix the clean stoves, keeping expertise and knowledge in the region.
  • Facilitating reforestation and tree planting campaigns. Throughout our program countries, trained Hunger Project partners establish tree nurseries, which reforest their communities, control soil erosion, and create entrepreneurial village businesses, supplying families with fruit trees that not only capture carbon, but also provide nutrition and income. In Bangladesh for example, trained leaders, called “animators,” and volunteer students lead community reforestation efforts by mobilizing mass-action tree-planting campaigns.

By strengthening the resilience of smallholder farmers, we can guarantee food security for the planet’s increasingly hungry global population also reduce emissions.

What you can do:

Invest now in The Hunger Project to build resilient, environmentally friendly communities
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Learn more about our work:

Using renewable energy in Senegal
Increasing resilience in the face of climate change in Uganda
Promoting the use of clean air through “green stoves” in Mexico
Facilitating reforestation and implementing tree planting campaigns in Bangladesh
Preserving biodiversity by constructing “BioFarms” inin Ethiopia